Generation Y are unlikely ever to retire. They probably won’t be able to afford to, but also they probably won’t want to. As a generation they will enjoy work because they will work at things they enjoy. It is unlikely that they will stay in the same workplace for more than a maximum of five consecutive years, which is not to say they will not return to that workplace at some point in their careers. They probably will not stay in the same career or industry throughout their formal working life, but again, it is not to say that they will not return to it. It is highly likely that they will try something entrepreneurial at some point, which will require collaboration with colleagues, flexibility, and real commitment to their ’cause’. For them, work and play will kind of blur as they will demand work/ life balance from their employer because things outside of work carry huge significance and importance for them. In fact, coming to work is just another thing that they have to fit into their enormously busy lives.
So, what would attract a Gen Y to your workspace? This highly technical, busy, demanding and savvy generation want a workspace that is urban, funky, innovative, collaborative, unconventional and fun like them. Because they are not a generation that want to arrive at work at 8 and leave by 5, they want to work in a place that represents them, that is almost an extension of them. They also want a workspace that is practical- one that supports their lifestyle. They want a place with a canteen that provides choice for their varied and sophisticated palate; one with a creche so that they can juggle parenting along with their work; one with a gym so that they can stay fit; one which is switched on so they can stay connected; and one which is environmentally friendly. Very importantly, don’t forget how social this generation is. Their ideal workspace would also have places where they could relax together whilst playing pool or foosball. They take the Baby Boomer notion of ‘business on the golf course’ (i.e. where great business ideas and relationships happen in unconventional spaces) to whole new heights.
Interestingly, despite their technological lifestyles and their desire for flexibility at work, they are a generation that wants to go to a particular place to work. They just want that place to look like a better version of their home. They are also not that keen on the idea of sharing their workspace, preferring to make their work station personalised, individualised and attractive. Having said that, however, they do enjoy communal space where they can work collaboratively, brain storm ideas and have meetings. They also enjoy having recreational space at work, where they can convene and have fun together or eat together. Generation Y also loves the idea of celebrating birthdays, recognising significant days in the social or political calendar and performing rituals. Such things are a fabulous way to bond with people at work, to recognise that you have people working for you and not machines; and to entice people to want to do their best.
It is time to get creative. There are so many inexpensive things one can do to truly modernize your workspace. Get your Millennials involved in helping you update your office so everyone can feel at home. After all, you do probably spend more time at the office than you do at home!