The most recent generation to enter the workforce is Generation Z. Born between 1997 and 2012, Generation Z currently makes up 30 percent of the world’s population and is expected to make up 27% of the workforce by 2025. What Gen Z desires from an employer:
In the era of hybrid and remote work modalities, Gen Z desires flexibility when it comes to working. They entered the workforce at a pivotal moment in history where full-time remote work was not only an option but necessary. The pandemic revealed the potential for people to have greater flexibility in terms of alternative work models and styles. Because Gen Z entered the workforce during or after the pandemic, they never had the opportunity to establish a steady routine of working 40 hours per week in an office, let alone having to commute to an office. As a result, Gen Z desires greater flexibility on when and where they work. As the first digitally native generation, Generation Z is incredibly technologically savvy and can quickly adapt to a remote or hybrid working method. Unlike earlier generations that struggled to adapt on how to collaborate online through virtual calls or present effectively, Generation Z can efficiently work from anywhere.
On the contrary, finishing a degree or starting a job isolated in your bedroom also affects how often you want human interaction. Research has shown that Gen Z wants to come into the office, even if it is just once or twice a month. Personal development and enrichment are crucial for most people starting their professions. And, without the benefit of spending time in a face-to-face workplace amongst peers, many Gen-Zs are concerned about falling behind. As a result, Gen Z is looking for employers who prioritize work-life balance, remote working, and flexible hours.
How to incorporate flexibility into office design
Having offices that are bookable or shared is a wonderful way to supply employees with choices on how they work. Having bookable or shared workspaces creates spaces for individuals who may want to come to the office and prioritize focus time with the ability to step out and collaborate with colleagues. Furthermore, traditional hierarchies in space planning are reduced because not everyone will have a designated desk and the best office real estate spaces can be used and booked by everyone. Moreover, Flexibility can refer to more than just being able to work from home. Offices can provide employees with flexibility in having different seating arrangements not only for downtime. We are all aware of the different seating arrangements to shake things up but what gets missed is how are these seating arrangements being used? Is there a need for a mobile whiteboard? Power requirements either in the furniture itself or nearby? There is a range of factors to consider when setting up a flexible workplace, but Gen Z will appreciate the ability to work remotely and in a variety of office environments.
Attention to Mental Wellbeing and Wellness
Generation Z is particularly concerned about mental health. Over 50% of 18-24-year-olds have reported at least one mental health issue, such as anxiety or depression, as per the research carried out by the Center for Disease Control. But unlike their predecessors, they are taking a stand and bringing awareness to their mental health. Burnout and stress associated with a lack of mental health care are not things that Generation Z has been taught to tolerate. Generation Z wants a healthy work-life balance and prioritizes their mental health and wellness. They are opposed to working excessive hours and overworking themselves to bolster a company’s financial performance. Therefore, companies must not only take part in raising awareness about wellness and mental health issues but also invest in initiatives and services that address the issue. There is no one-size-fits-all answer; instead, it requires a long-term commitment that focuses on uplifting employees and how they feel about their work.
How to improve mental health in the workplace
Companies and management should want to show their Gen Z employees that they are embracing mental health efforts. Implementing an inclusive “wellness room” is a wonderful way to start. A wellness room is a designated, secluded area in your office where employees can take time out to tend to their own personal health needs. It can take many forms and must be inclusive of all your employees’ needs. Some examples that companies have implemented in a wellness room include a prayer room, yoga room, nap pods, or simply a space to wind down and read a book. Think of it as a space that supports what you would like when you need a break.
Incorporating extra support and gathering areas in the office design is another technique to supply mental health support by encouraging socializing. Employees’ mental health can benefit from game rooms, cafeteria-style lunchrooms, or other locations where they can break their routines. Employers can boost productivity, reduce burnout, and foster a better work-life balance for employees by allowing them to take time away from work to focus on their wellness and mental health.
A Technologically Savvy Space
Generation Z grew up in the age of connecting digitally. As a mobile-first generation, Generation Z is tech-savvy in all aspects of their lives and sees technology as an extension of themselves. As a result, they will blend better with forward-thinking companies interested in implementing innovative technologies. Gen Z is not interested in working for a company that does not show the willingness to adopt change and is still trapped in the prehistoric era of solely using paper and pencils.
Technology in the office
Companies should improve their digital employee experience to satisfy Generation Z’s digital literacy and needs. Choosing a technology-friendly office design that incorporates communal tablets, interactive screens, and other tech advancements that make work smoother is a fantastic way to show that your company is trying to optimize the workplace. Furthermore, companies can utilize tools to help keep the office functioning better such as desk booking applications.
Combination of both private and collaborative workspaces
The pandemic has significantly affected how Generation Z wants to work. Working remotely in the comfort of their own home in solitude allowed them to appreciate private spaces where they can engage in periods of focused work. They have perfected the art of remote work, and they, like their Millennial counterparts, also value collaborative work. Growing up in a hyper-connected world eased through social media, Gen Z is sociable and finds pleasure in collaborating with others and coming together to solve problems.
Designing an office with a balance of private and collaborative workspaces
Striking the correct social-private balance in the workplace and other aspects of your office’s physical architecture is critical. For an appealing workplace design for Gen Z, companies can blend practical workspaces that support individuals’ ability to concentrate alone and open spaces that increase collaboration. Employees can come up with innovative ideas that they can subsequently present to the rest of the workforce by spending time alone and gathering their thoughts during that concentrated period. Combining privacy pods, quiet private desk spaces, and open floor plans can help employees find a happy medium. Employees will be more motivated to come into the office if they know they can work individually while also communicating readily with team members in an informal setting.
Portions of this article originally appeared on the All Work website.
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