November 28, 2016
Once upon a time, the typical workplace consisted mostly of corner offices, workstations and cubicles. But according to Elaine Howard with Andrews Myers, millennials will become 50% of the workforce within a few years, and even now, are requiring 24/7 connectivity and companies with purpose.
Howard moderated “Attraction and Retention in the Work Place,” which took place during the recent Connect Houston conference. And the panelists indicated that, because of technology and millennials, companies are rethinking office space beyond desks and cubicles.
Taucha Hogue, with Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, pointed out that today’s workplace needs to accommodate five generations of worker, something that “hasn’t happened before in history.” PDR’s Heather Van Ravenswaay pointed out that space should be designed to evolve and change; employees entering the workforce want to keep learning. Furthermore, “space should work around the corporate culture,” said Christen Hatfield with Corporate Built Solutions LLC. “It’s different for every company, and it should be based on the company’s goal, and what it’s planning to do.
The panelists noted that, while the current open office trend is a positive move for some companies, there should also be spaces for quiet time. “I work in an open space. It’s great, and I love it,” Hogue said. “But I also like to go into a huddle room, private space, to make a phone call.” Hatfield went on to say that the open space concept doesn’t work for all companies. Engineering and technology firms work well with the open concept, she said, adding that “with law firms, the open space/benching concept doesn’t work as well.”
Hogue noted that companies will likely become more proactive in determining how space fits into work styles. Hatfield agreed, pointing out that a mix of open and individual office space will continue, and become more prevalent. More people will work from home, though benching, or hoteling, will mean that employees can come to the office when they need to.
And when those workers do come to the office, they’ll expect an environment that draws them in, and infuses them with energy to complete goals and objectives. “Companies have to determine what pulls an employee to the office; whether it’s technology or other things,” Van Ravenswaay commented.
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