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How to design a space for multiple generations?

Today’s office demographics pose an interesting challenge for managers wanting to create an inclusive and productive environment. Depending on the industry, up to four generations can be found working under one roof and that means a variety of needs and working styles have to be catered for. Through truly understanding the makeup of your office, insightful office design strikes the balance between technology-driven millennials and the more corporate-familiar baby boomers.

What do different generations want out of a workspace?
The eldest generation that can be found in the workplace are the baby boomers. Born just after World War II, they have work tendencies towards formality, hierarchy and are used to a corporate atmosphere.

At the other extreme we have the latest generation, ‘generation Z’, who have just gone through higher education where they experienced open-plan, flexible and technology driven workspaces; and now expect the same from office design. With generation X and millennials between our two extremes, business owners and managers are facing a whole new set of challenges when it comes to office design.

How to accommodate these different needs?
Flexibility is key when it comes to smart and inclusive office design. The space has to suit everyone’s needs, with options to work at a private desk or to have an informal collaboration. This is where designs such as booth seating and breakout rooms can be extremely important.

When discussing office design, it’s crucial to take into account the demographics of your workforce to understand how to maximise productivity and wellness. By designing flexible, responsive and technology integrative workspaces, an office can accommodate the needs of all its users and maximise on the benefits of a diverse team.

One of the key generational differences is personalisation. Younger employees expect to be able to put their own spin on their own workspace and express their individual identity in the office far more than their older counterparts. Flexibility in design allows this to happen. Movable workstations and open spaces mean individuals can make use of plants and personal images to add style.

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