Sydney, 20 July 2014 - With an age spectrum of nearly 50 years between the oldest and youngest employees in some organisations, there is a broad range of expectations, desires, values and working styles in the modern workplace.
The challenge is finding a balance that provides for the pending influx of Gen Y and Gen Z and considers the requirements of the other half of the workforce: Boomers and Gen X.
Gen Y’s are set to account for 50% of the workforce within the next five to seven years. Businesses must ready for this by making work spaces more intuitive, fluid, agile and technology ready for these tech savvy whiz kids were practically born with a mobile phone strapped to their ear.
At the same time, smart phones and tablets are rapidly filling the working landscape and will fundamentally alter the way we work and the physical spaces we create to work in.
The clunky old desk phone is set be replaced by an app like NetTalk or Talkatone on your mobile device, or software such as Microsoft’s Lync, Facetime or Skype on your tablet or laptop, that connects wirelessly and securely to the network without you being at your desk.
Consider this . . . how many Gen Y’s do you know that have a home telephone? My guess is that unless it’s in Mum and Dad’s house because the Y’s are still living at home, it’s got to be close to zero, so why do they need a desk phone at work?
As for the humble desk, maybe the new definition of this is a ‘work surface’ that could be anything from a café style bench to standing height countertops.
Through all of this, however, we need to recognise the needs of the Boomers, many of whom are expected to continue working well into their sixties and who require more structured, defined and ‘owned’ spaces.
And we can’t forget Gen Xers, who sit on the Gen Y side of halfway in the workplace argument. They are career orientated but relish freedom and are technology savvy.
It’s also vital to bear in mind that all these workplace wants and needs must align with good business sense. Businesses are focusing more and more on bottom line numbers, driving costs down, increasing productivity and growing revenues. We must make more from less, and the office space is no exception.
Which means finding a balance that provides hip fab and groovy spaces for Gen Y; organised, planned and personalised spaces for Boomers and somewhere to the left of in between for Gen Xers - all the while keeping a watchful eye on sound fiscal management.