The Generational Mix: Age Is Just A Number

Posted by Hayley Blacker on 28/06/2018

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We're done with pigeonholing...

It’s no surprise that today’s workforce is made up of multiple generations. The mix of age groups and life experiences brings a multitude of wants, needs and expectations to the office. However, when it comes to workplace design, it’s all too easy to make assumptions about the different generations.

Stereotypically, the youngest generations to enter the workforce are looking for a relaxed working atmosphere. In parallel, there are more mature staff members who perhaps seek a more formal setting. Yet these generalisations cannot always be applied – what about the 21-year-old who wants a more traditional desk set-up, or the 50-something that favours informal meetings?

Modern Workplace Design | 5 Generations In The Workplace

With Gen Z reaching working age, this is the first time that we could see five generations working side by side in the workplace.

Pictured: Hydrock, Bristol

The key to successful workplace design lies in creating bespoke spaces, tailored to the culture of a business and its way of working, rather than designing for each generation.  By understanding this, it is easier to create a workplace that will enhance productivity, collaboration and wellbeing.

The word that should remain at the heart of workplace design is choice – by providing options of workplace setting, team members will feel empowered and valued by their employers, and find that they can work to the best of their abilities. Equally, if we bear in mind how far technological infrastructure has developed, choice becomes even more significant given that members of staff really can now work anywhere.

It is also important to consider that knowledge sharing is vitally important in today’s workplace. A layout needs to consider how different generations can share their knowledge for the development of skills and ultimately for the benefit of the business.  In turn, this will again enhance productivity, and support attracting and retaining talent – factors that continue to play a significant part in future-proofing a business and creating great places to work.

Modern Workplace Design | 5 Generations In The Workplace

Workplaces should cater for the wants and needs of each individual, rather than making assumptions about what each generation wants.

Pictured: Wild & Wolf, Bath

Our passion for creating functional and inspirational workplaces, and those that are tailored to the needs of individuals, is reflected in our own office; it caters for team members spanning a range of generations, from Baby Boomers through to Generation Z (those born after 1995). Rather than being based on assumptions about what each separate generation wants, each member of staff can choose to work how and where they think best, dependent on their daily tasks – this could include hot-desking, grouping together for team work, or concentrating in a quiet space.

By creating a workplace design that is just as unique as the staff members that work there, and one where all ages can successfully work together, a business is far more likely to thrive.

After all, age really is just a number. 

Get inspired with some our latest projects - including RedRock and SunLife - which cater for all styles of working.