3 office design trends driven by millennials

By November 8, 2017Blog

As every other generation has done, millennials take pride in marching to a different kind of beat and wearing different kinds of clothes. Also, it turns out millennials have had an outsized influence on interior design — particularly in the workplace.

We all know the very idea of work is undergoing some fundamental changes right now, changes that seem to include a greater awareness of how an environment’s physical design, including its décor, influences the state of mind of the people who live and work there.

Thanks to an array of studies and surveys, we know design really does have a profound effect on our state of mind. When professionals on LinkedIn responded to a CanvasPop survey, an impressive 77% claimed art makes them feel happier, 74% said it inspired them and 27% indicated pleasing décor improved their productivity.

So let’s get more specific. What kinds of design trends are millennials bringing to the table?

  1. Millennials Favour Non-conventional Workspaces

Interestingly, some of the harshest generalisations about millennials — they’re self-absorbed, selfish, aloof, etc. — don’t seem to hold up in practice. How’s that? Whereas Baby Boomers had a strong need for privacy and offices in the workplace, millennials favour less-conventional workspaces with flexible furniture, fewer cubicles and more collaboration.

It’s been described as “work casual” made manifest in the physical design of our offices. Trendy companies, particularly in the tech sphere, have jumped on this trend by building highly original office environments with lots of places for casual, impromptu meetings and lots more glass, so folks feel a touch less claustrophobic compared to ordinary cubicles.

Another thing we’re doing is choosing furnishings and even colours based on how positively they influence our moods and productivity. We match the vision we have for a room with that colour. Thanks to millennials, we’re throwing everything about convention out the window.

  1. Millennials Embrace Deliberately Designed Furniture

It all goes back to the ways work is changing. Since we can do work from anyplace, it makes sense the places we choose should reflect our personalities in some way, be pleasant to look at, and be conducive to concentration and focus.

Modern industrial design is answering these challenges by building a market that entwines form and function the way it did for smartphones when they began changing our lives. Just as an example, you might not be sold on standing desks just yet, but they’re probably the most visible example of this push toward ergonomically sensible and aesthetically attractive office design.

  1. Millennials Know High Technology Is Here to Stay

Technology isn’t about interior decorating per se, but there’s no question advancements on the technological front are related to the other trends we’re talking about here. Under millennial leadership, the modern office is now a home to some of the slickest technology you’ll see anywhere.

If you happen to come across a company staffed largely with millennials —you’re likely to see:

  • Wireless keyboards
  • Mice and headsets
  • Personal laptops
  • Netbooks
  • Tablets and smartphones
  • Dual monitor setups
  • Smartboards
  • Game consoles

Technology is here to stay. And it’s not just helping us get our work done, either — it’s also helping us play. In addition to being a kind of design trend on its own, it’s also influencing the footprint and construction of the areas in which we perform our work duties. As technology has shrunk and grown more mobile, it’s also shrunk our workplaces. The modern office is less likely to have large personal areas, for the reasons mentioned earlier and also because computer towers and sprawling phone systems are increasingly uncommon.

Technology also means the workplace is becoming far less centralised — we’re having meetings all over the place now, and we often take our technology with us when we go.

So why’s this all important? To make it simple, it’s important because for the modern worker, there’s an increasingly long list of things more important at work than the paycheck. This is another area where millennials lead the way into uncharted territory by demanding more flexible work hours, paid parental leave and, yes, a comfy and well-appointed workplace.

Via Forbes, 2017