What Gen Z Wants in an Office


Generation Z — born between the mid-1990s and the early 2000s — is the generation born after the Millennials; many of the 72.8 million of them have started looking for jobs as of 2015, with increasing numbers every year. They’re the most diverse, best-educated generation in American history — even more so than the Millennials — and they’re always “on.” The iPhone was introduced in 2007, so most members of Gen Z never knew life without one. Add in the everyday use of social media, strong Wifi, and on-demand entertainment and communication and you’ll begin to understand the new workforce and what they expect from an office.

Because they were born and raised in and around the Great Recession, Gen Z  has been exposed to financial stress. Unlike Millennials, who tend to be more idealistic, Gen Z will value security and earning money. The idea, overall, is a secure life, but both in and out of the office. Your concern with their job security could go a long way in building a loyal, dedicated staff.

Here are some other considerations regarding the office environment when considering Gen Z:

Coworking space may no longer be considered cool.

Millennials may like shared workspaces and collaboration, but Gen Z may be a bit more concerned with being competitive and working on their own. The Great Recession showed what could happen if the economic stability unravels; as a result, Gen Z may be more focused on learning new skills that keep them recession proof.

Another note about shared workspaces: Gen Z may not be as enthused about this office setup as Millennials. Gen Z may be more concerned about personal achievement and advancement, as opposed to groupthink and teamwork. They may also desire their own work areas instead coworking spaces. Your shared-space design, now so popular with Millennials, may not be as big a hit with the next generation.

Technology in the office won’t be a distraction.

Gen Z was raised on screens, apps and videogames, so their ability to multitask and toggling will practically be inborn. Short attention spans and constant moving from screen to screen will come naturally to Gen Z. They’re not slacking or goofing off; that’s how they roll. Multitasking can be good for business.

Gen Z’s ease with technology won’t mean that they don’t prefer face-to-face communication.

Gen Z’s ease with technology won’t mean that they don’t prefer face-to-face communication. The idea of social media is no longer novel, and the next generation wants to move beyond texting, emails and snapchats to something more “real.” Just when you thought that interpersonal communication in real time was a thing of the past, it’s believed to be making a big comeback.

Seamless connection is everything.

Your office building should be technically reliable at all times; otherwise it may be considered technically irrelevant. Be sure to have strong wireless and Internet connections.

Read our recent blog posts about the 5G network and wired certification.

It’s already happening, thanks to the coworking revolution. Homey, cozy, pleasant, fun work environments keep your staff in-house longer because it feels like home.

Work is home.

It’s already happening, thanks to the coworking revolution. Homey, cozy, pleasant, fun work environments keep your staff in-house longer because it feels like home. This trend will continue with Gen Z, who will see little contrast between work and home.

At the same time, telecommuting will also be a factor in how Gen Z likes to work. They may only prefer to be in the office part of the time, and technology has made it easier for them to meet deadlines and get work done no matter where they are.

Gen Z employees may not stay long.

This generation will be intensely entrepreneurial, which means that they may come work for you to learn and gain experience, but they may be soon on their way to leaving you for their own business. You may want to keep a bunch of additional resumes on file. However, employees with an entrepreneurial bent can actually make great workers, as they take their time and effort very seriously.

Amenities may not be enough.

Millennials are attracted to ping-pong tables, wide-screen TV screens, comfy couches and healthy snacks, but Gen Z may have a more serious view of what they want from your office. Instead of those homey perks, Gen Z may respond better to career and professional development programs, entrepreneurial workshops, and various other opportunities to climb the ladder. This is in addition to good health insurance, and retirement/investment plans. In a word: stability.

What will still be important to the Gen Z workforce: strategically located office property in an urban-like environment, with easy access to public transportation, retail and restaurants.

Read more about how to offer an experiential workplace.

 

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Clint Copulos is a senior vice president and asset manager for KBS, overseeing 2.2 million square feet of office space in the western region of the United States.