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Strategies for Designing a Multi-Generational Work Environment

If you have a business, you most likely have a multi-generational work environment among your employees. It could comprise four generations who need to work together and co-exist peacefully. These generations are:

  • Team unity photoThe Baby Boomers: These workers were born between 1946-65. This generation has stability, responsibility, and a formality about them. They also have a sense of loyalty and value quality. Because of the economic downturn, many are putting off retirement and trying to replenish savings, or waiting until retirement funds have recovered.
  • The Generation X: These workers were born between 1966-77 and are the smallest group. In this generation, usually, both parents were working which gave this generation a strong sense of self-reliance and independence. They love results and being compensated for their time.
  • Millennials, or Gen Y: These workers were born between 1978-95. They grew up in a smaller family, are close and connected to their parents. They want leadership and are open to being mentored by senior coworkers. They’re especially good at multi-tasking and are good with technology
  • Generation Z or Generation 2020: These workers were born after 1995 and saw technology as an extension of themselves. Their interpersonal skills have gaps, but they have a strong work ethic. They desire order, predictability, and structure.

As you can see, a one size fits all will not work when setting up a work environment here when these groups are co-mingled. To get these groups to work together can take some doing. Because of the differences in ages in the groups, diversity can cause discomfort, conflict, stress, and frustration. But if a work environment is provided that’s comfortable for everyone, then they can co-exist on terms that everyone likes.

What about desks and workspace?

Denmark Adjustable Height Desk with CredenzaThe Baby Boomers have been used to sitting at a conventional desk and doing their jobs. However, with the standing desk becoming popular, more of them are requesting these. Some Baby Boomers now prefer to stand rather than sit at a traditional desk because of back pain too. Also because there is more information about what harm sedentary living can cause, getting up and moving around is popular with all the generations involved in the workplace.

So standing desks are more and more opted for because employees of all ages are requesting alternative office furniture and design space to work healthier. They’re asking for adjustable height desks, aerodynamic chairs and other things to help them work better and more comfortably.

What about office design?

Traditional office design has the dark wood furniture and the executive desk on pedestals. This type of office is distinguished looking and old school. Many Baby Boomers still like this kind of office design. However, there is a new type of furniture which is designed which is sleek with bright colors. With times changing, elegant designs are replacing the traditional type of office furniture.

Everyday 36x72 Bow Front Desk Laminate Top Upgrade Only, GrayContemporary design comes in many different colors and styles also. The furniture here can embrace comfort not just in being plush, but in the sense of being designed so that productivity can be better gained. This furniture is designed to consider how the body is at rest and when moving. Since the office furniture comes in various types of materials too, it gives an employee a chance to express personal style as well as giving them better support for their bodies.

For example, conference seats are no longer the hard wooden chairs with thin cushions to sit on. The contemporary style of seating for conference tables is for furniture that is richly luxurious and comfortable.

Another thought additionally here should be given to the open office layout as a design. Boomers may not like the open space office after using cubicles for most of their careers in the beginning, but there is a way to keep everyone happy when creating an office design, however. Here, the open offices need to have places where privacy and quiet can be found. Boomers are more prone to wanting more peaceful spaces to thinkin. Boomers who still like the traditional touch can have traditional furniture mixed with contemporary pieces too to have a more updated look in the office that everyone will enjoy working in.

Keeping all the employees happy and even the owner of the company can be a delicate business.