Developing The 5G Workspace is an idea whose time has come. The evolution of workplace design has witnessed plenty of incarnations in its quest to accommodate an ever-changing workforce. It sometimes appears to be a contest of extremes, but workspace design has risen to the challenge of providing the perfect environment for every level of expertise…simultaneously.
At the onset of the workday, it must speak to a 5G workforce that is constantly reinventing itself. It’s a moving target. It will not be the same 3 months from now, let alone a year. The workplace of the future has been forecast to encompass 5 generations working collaboratively together. This demographic will consist of the skillsets and expertise of:
- The traditionalist Generation I
- The diligent Baby Boomer
- The reliable Gen X
- The socially conscious Gen Y (Millenial)
- The digital nomad Gen Z
For employers to navigate this vast and varied workforce they will need to find common ground within their office design by developing a different perspective. Working with space planners and designers to develop a broader User Experience for their work environment is what the 5G Workspace is all about. Becoming more age agnostic by creating inspiring offices designed to encapsulate the unique skills, distinctive work ideals, expectations, and needs of each generation.
Finding common ground for each of these generations hinges upon these 5 cornerstones:
- Focus on similarities, rather than differences about each generation. Avoid the tendency to accept as fact the stereotypes attached to each generation in terms of work habits and skills. One thing every one of these generations craves is stability. How can you incorporate a sense of stability and personal growth simultaneously within your office design?
- Foster collaborative relationships by understanding and appreciating the uniqueness of the person, not just the skillset. How can you create opportunities for employees of different generations to interact in both work- and non-work-related settings to help build relationships and minimize misunderstandings?
- Observe your employees. Understand the demographics of your workplace as well as employee communication preferences. Would an annual survey help you identify both differences and similarities between various generations and departments to keep your productivity on track?
- Provide opportunities for cross-generational mentoring. This can work both ways—don’t automatically assume that younger generations will be mentored by older generations. All age groups have opportunities to learn from each other. How can your office design incorporate Makerspaces to encourage at will mentoring and personal development?
- Allow for the flexibility of when/where people work. Understand employee work/life balance, in terms of responsibilities and interests they may have outside the workplace. Don’t make assumptions. It’s important to remember that employees, regardless of generation, have a life outside of the confines of an office. Gen Z, by nature, are digital nomads working from anywhere there is a wifi connection. What programs can you implement to define and encourage work/life balance?
What the 5G Workspace looks like visually has yet to be revealed in its entirety, but it will become a fusion of work hives and socialization areas. The hives will accommodate more collaborative tasks, better climate control, and fewer distractions. The socialization areas will likely be retooled to accommodate spaces where the generations can mingle and mentor, learning and growing skills among themselves in relaxed collaborative zones.
Finding Your Comfort Zone
Replanning your office design is always an opportunity to lease some innovative products and see what works best for an age agnostic team. The startup culture driven by the Gen Zs has given us some much-needed food for thought on how brand influence, technology, and trends play into the development of workspaces that are agile, tech-savvy and flexible. They are projected to be the largest segment of top influencers.
Traditional aspects are already finding a voice within office design with a fusion of den-like conversation areas that feature modern technology. And this is just the beginning of that workstyle story.
Shifting your thinking to multi-generational collaborative culture building is what will make the 5G Workspace a true force to be reckoned with. Providing your team with every opportunity for professional growth is one of the unsung heroes of talent acquisition and retention. Ask us about these trends as you prepare your plans to stay ahead of the curve with your workspace design.
MEET JANICE COONS: Janice assists clients seeking furniture for offices, healthcare, and higher education. Connecting your team with a vibrant, updated workspace environment where everyone can collaborate and learn is what Janice is all about! Connect with her via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 888-910-3769 x113. For more inspiration visit us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter!