Millennials are the generation of today. They make up the main, and perhaps, the most important part of our society. After all, these are the young people who will change the world and whose time is only beginning. It’s no wonder, then, that millennials make up most of the working class. Like every generation, they have their own beliefs and ideas about what a working day should look like and what an office should consist of.
Known as the most hard-working and dedicated generation, we can conclude that not just any office will be up to the Millennial code. Enough evidence for this statement is the research that shows that most millennials would take a job in a comfortable and relaxed office rather than work for higher pay in an environment that promotes stress. Startups are quickly catching up and redesigning their offices so as to attract and retain more millennials.
If you want to stay in the game, your time to make changes is now. No business who doesn’t keep up with the times will last long. In that spirit, let’s see exactly what the perfect millennial startup office should look like.
1. Go for brighter colours
The kind of colours you choose is also important for your design. Most offices we see are coated in pastel tones, making them look kind of drab. White, grey, and pastel blue seem to be overdone. They create an atmosphere of gloom and don’t really inspire positive emotions.
You should, therefore, go for brighter colours. Of course, don’t make it neon or too bright. Simply go for a softer version of the colour you choose. This way, you’ll get the radiance without the headache. Also, choose your colour based on the effect you want to achieve.
Yellow, for example, is known for inspiring feelings of joy and happiness. Green, on the other hand, is associated with growth. You can also choose to combine your colours and inspire multiple emotions at once. It’s very common for colours to affect how we work and what we feel, so don’t be afraid to use that.
Don’t be afraid to add splashes of colour to your furniture, either. Instead of the classic and boring office chair, choose one with coloured details, for example. Quirky desk details can also do the trick. Whatever you decide, make sure the colours go well with each other and don’t just look piled on.
2. Involve nature
Adding natural elements can be especially beneficial for your design. We strive away from nature too much, and this concrete jungle usually eats us up instead of setting us free. So as to decrease stress levels in the office, consider adding more natural elements to strengthen your employees’ bond with nature.
You can start with pot plants around the office. A plant here and there can really make a difference in your design and make it look more welcoming. As well as that, you can consider starting an office garden everyone can take care of. This way, you’re providing even more natural elements and involving your workers directly.
Plants bring more clean oxygen with them. Oxygen is essential for focus and productivity. When the brain gets a lot of oxygen, it reaches its optimal function. So with a simple addition such as plants, you can help your employees reach their full potential.
Involving nature also supports the idea of eco-friendliness. In a world such as today, being eco-friendly is one of the first things that draw Millennials into the office. They feel a responsibility to keep their planet clean, and so should you. Startups which support green ideas have proven to be a Millennial favourite. It all starts with adding some lush green plants to the common office space.
3. Include natural light
Natural light is a must. Artificial lights are known for their negative effects, and if you want to attract more Millennials, you’ll find ways to get around the traditional bulb. After all, artificial light can cause a lot of headaches and hinder focus. What’s more, it can leave people dazed and drained. This is why you should definitely redesign your office so it lets in more light.
You can do this with big windows. Some startups find office spaces where the outside walls are all actually made of glass to solve the issue of more natural light. Others redesign their existing places to include bigger windows.
Both of these options will have the desired effect. Because people will be exposed to sunlight more, they’ll be happier and healthier. After all, being in the office won’t stop them from getting their daily amount of vitamin D in. This can also lead to an increase in energy and productivity.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you can get rid of artificial light entirely. You’re going to need the extra light to help your employees work. Instead of choosing traditional light bulbs, though, you should switch to LED.
These bulbs may be more expensive, but they last much longer, making them worth it. What’s more, they waste less energy, too. They’re also very beneficial for your employees’ health as they don’t emit yellow dazing light. Instead, the light is soft and white, thus not upsetting employee mental or physical health.
4. Let them move
Office fitness culture seems to be becoming more and more popular these days. Why is that? It’s because Millennials know the value of exercise. No longer are workers satisfied with just sitting in front of their screens for six to eight hours. Instead, they want to stretch their stiff joints and blow off some steam.
Use that. Employees work much better when they’re not holding in tension and frustration. Stress is the number one cause of negative emotions, and exercise is the number one solution. It helps the body process stress better, makes you feel more energized, and prompts the production of happy chemicals.
This is why startups are looking into the option of exercise in the office. If you can’t quite afford or fit a gym into your current office situation, don’t worry, there are other options. Most of them involve innovative office equipment.
So, you’ll come across treadmills and treadmill desks. You can either add a few treadmills to the office and leave them up to free use, or combine exercise with work with treadmill desks. Another option is to involve adjustable desks, where your employees can choose whether they want to stand or sit.
As far as the office chair is concerned, why not choose a more modern option? Or why not replace it completely? There are office chairs which accommodate the person using them perfectly. On the other hand, there are fitness balls. Both of these options make working much more comfortable and much easier.
5. Focus on the kitchen
The main part of the office isn’t the most important one anymore. The kitchen is quickly becoming Millennial favourite for one simple reason: it makes them feel like they’re part of the community. This is why kitchens are a must for any new startup. It doesn’t have to be anything special, just make sure it’s open to everyone.
As well as that, you should add some utilities. A microwave or a mini oven would be a nice touch so that your employees don’t have to give up their nutritional habits for the sake of work. For the same reason, it’s advisable to have an office fridge.
Most importantly, don’t forget the coffee machine. In this day and age, almost everyone drinks coffee. Use this to your advantage. You can compare coffee machines online to figure out which model would suit your employees’ needs the most. Then, watch the magic happen.
People will gather for their morning cup of Joe, or enjoy an afternoon latte. As well as getting a momentary burst of energy, they’ll talk to each other. You’ll give them something in common, inspiring them to get to know each other better. Thus, a sense of community is formed.
Teamwork is best built when people aren’t even aware they’re bonding, i.e. on coffee breaks. So with one simple adjustment and shift of focus, you can really get the most out of your design.
6. Encouraging collaboration
Now that your team is well familiar with each other and how each of them thinks and works, it’s time for the next aspect of your design to take action. Cubicles are a thing of the past. No longer do employees want to sit in individual, closed off, spaces. Instead, your design should encourage collaboration.
This means that you should strive for an open space concept. Not only will this save you money on office space, but it will also push your employees together. In other words, it will make them work together. No one can ignore their neighbour or feel shy to ask for help if the desks are all close or next to each other. Not being walled off from others reminds you that they’re human as much as you are.
Some would also argue that this is the reason employees start seeing each other as friends instead of competition. When people feel equal, they collaborate. This means that they come up with new and better ideas than they would on their own. It also means they’re more productive and efficient.
It’s simple, working in heterogeneous groups is the perfect working environment. You’ve got somewhat different people whose brains aren’t wired the same, meaning you’ve got grounds for innovation and pushing boundaries. Working together should come almost spontaneously though, as being forced to collaborate may have the opposite effect on creativity.
This is where your open space concept starts to shine. It’s a subtle way of encouragement that goes a long way.
Innovation is part of growing. This growth may not go in the way you had hoped or anticipated, but it doesn’t mean it will be bad. The focus today is on making the workers feel good. We’ve come to realize that a happy worker is a motivated and productive one who likes putting in the hours. Millennials have pushed the corporate world to reevaluate the way business is run more than any previous generation. The new design is only the beginning.
Author: Emily Wilson
Emily is a business psychologist with a passion for marketing. Searching, exploring and writing are her favourite things to do. Besides that, she loves animals and travelling.