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The Millennial generation have grown up very differently from the rest of us. They have been nurtured with a unique “equality for all” culture and shaped by the hyper-connectivity of social media and the internet.
Indeed, they are the internet generation and they expect it to play a part in every aspect of their lives.
This generation embraces the mobility of technology to keep them in touch with others, deliver services and access information wherever and whenever they want to.
Millennials are constantly in touch with everyone they know via text messaging, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – to name just a few popular social media platforms.
This is a highly talented, mobile generation who take parallel processing and multitasking to great extremes. They work best through intense collaboration and tend to reject strictly disciplined hierarchies and regimes – so don’t boss them around.
When learning, they prefer graphics and short bursts of information as opposed to thick texts. At work, Millennials demand instant collaboration with colleagues, suppliers and customers.
Unlike the older generations, Millennials blend work and life with ease.
They are flexible and neither want nor need to be anchored to a desk or stuck in an office. More importantly, they expect to be able to harness technology so that they can work from anywhere and at anytime. Laptops, ultrabooks, tablets, smartphones – these devices are always part of the work equation.
As employees, Millennials demand a flexible work environment and schedule. Only 23 percent of Millennials want to work all day in a fully partitioned and personal office. Instead, they want the latest omnipresent flexible and mobile technology, innovatively and intelligently applied, with a forward-thinking and highly innovative workspace culture.
There is in fact a major shift in power between generations taking place, and a lot of influence is now coming from the youngest entrants to the workplace.
So it is more important than ever to attract and retain a skilled workforce of all ages, and skilfully to manage the changes ahead.
Change is inevitable, and with it comes generational transformations in the workplace.
Both the world and the workplace have radically changed since the last generation arrived.
The vast majority of graduates and school-leavers today will find work in an office environment alongside the widest ever spectrum of age, experience and ability.
For companies to succeed in the short to medium term, they must spark a chain reaction that redesigns their workplaces to best accommodate, attract and inspire the new diverse workforce.
Employers must recruit talented young people – keeping in mind that this new generation has unique demands. Businesses that are slow to understand and react to them will lose out in the race to attract and retain new talent.
With a little knowledge and understanding, you can apply certain principles to the physical design of a workplace to attract new staff and retain existing staff.
For example, mobile work surfaces allow colleagues to work in partnership and to collaborate.
Lounge spaces support casual interaction, private coaching and relaxed inspiration, while private spaces enhance concentration.
More conventional spaces enable ideas to be developed and materials to be collected with efficiency.
Millennials will definitely welcome an open, collaborative working environment, but make sure you also cater for the needs of older workers.
Accommodating the needs and preferences of all generations in your workforce does pose many challenges, but it also creates great opportunities.
Never before have younger generations been so primed to learn from their older colleagues – so take advantage of this exchange of knowledge to get ahead of your competitors.
lLinda Trim is marketing and sales director at Giant Leap Workspace Specialists. Contact them at 011 880 1490. Visit www.giant leap.co.za