The rapid expansion of the Millennial workforce globally, particularly in the United States, has produced a series of changes in business philosophy that could not have been envisioned two decades ago and was, even more recently, not totally acknowledged.
Today, it is evident that these younger, more demanding employees who now constitute the largest single age group across all industries, are the catalyst for change that will have a lasting effect on the economy, the workforce and even the design of buildings and factories. It's based in technology, but it's not only the online presence that is noticeable.
What Millennials Actually Want
Much has been written about the new generational need for "life-work balance." Baby boomers had more distinct roles, based in part on gender; business success frequently took priority over personal needs and family concerns. Not so today, especially among those who were born in the early 1980s and came of age just after the turn of the century. Those Millennials are now moving into management, and their view of life and work is not only different but non-negotiable. They see it as a continuum, more integration than balance. They are as willing to work from home, or when on the move, as they are apt to have regular office hours; and they want home-style amenities as well as workspace options in the corporate office environment.
Because they grew up with technology, they welcome new options, and Millennials are the drivers of the change that is happening in business, from reliance on social media to job-sharing, from flexible hours to corporate campuses that feature nap pads, workout rooms, shopping facilities, and game rooms. But it's not all about personal satisfaction either, as important as that may be.
Newer technology is seen as a way to promote health as well as efficiency, to change the world as well as to boost the bottom line. This is a generation highly attuned to social justice, to workplace equality and justice, to health and wellness not only of individuals but of the planet, and to globalization. Once criticized for being "lazy, uncommitted and demanding," Millennials are now more apt to be described as passionate, and valued for the very qualities that made them impatient and inflexible when they first entered the work force.
The Influence of Company Culture
Because physical space has, in one sense, diminished in importance, it is the culture that has gained new stature. However, future workspaces will no doubt be designed to enhance individual performance as well as to encourage collaboration, networking, and sharing of ideas.
Architecture and building will also focus more on sustainability, health, energy savings and green technology. Zero energy and zero carbon initiatives will be the focus of a planned International Green Building Conference to be held in Singapore in September 2018. This is not only a cause that those Millennials endorse and support, but a direct expression of the generational mindset: global consciousness, commitment and passion.
Mobile and portable technology, will continue to alter the face of modern business, while developing technology will also play a part in the design and construction of new buildings, warehouses, manufacturing plants and retail spaces. While some of it may be disruptive in the short term, it may over the long term represent nothing less than a revolution as impactful as any in history.
At the very least, the future will be interesting, and the unique qualities and perceptions of the Millennial generation in Sherborne County and elsewhere will have played a major role.