Building for Millennials
The right office space will help attract and retain them
Denver’s strong economy, solid job growth and enviable quality of life have made the area attractive to Millennials. The number of college graduates aged 25 to 34 living in the Mile High City has risen 47 percent since the year 2000, according to data from the think tank City Observatory. RealtyTrac also ranked Denver among the top five destinations in the nation for Millennials last year.
The influx of these young professionals has spurred a construction boom, particularly in the multifamily market. The most sought-after new apartment developments offer amenities which active, environmentally-oriented Millennials crave – from bike storage rooms to vehicle charging stations to rooftop pools and fitness centers, preferably located near public transportation options.
Millennials are also having an impact on commercial construction, leading many employers to either seek new office space or to renovate their existing space to accommodate the way this new generation of professionals work.
As the builder of many of these spaces, Swinerton Builders has first-hand knowledge of current trends in the office workplace. Employers are increasingly trading offices filled with rows of tall cubicles for a more open-concept layout with low-height cubicles, access to natural light and central gathering areas to satisfy the Millennials desire for collaboration.
Here are some other trends in office construction and design:
• Productivity is a priority. Instead of arranging offices by department or rank, companies are now focused on structuring their offices to maximize efficiency. In its research of Millennials, the University of North Carolina found that these young workers like “team-based work projects and an unstructured flow of information at all levels.” The new office layout reflects that emphasis on communication with 50 percent of the space dedicated to cubicles; 35 percent to private offices and 15 percent to common areas such as lounges, cafes, huddle rooms and training facilities. The focus on collaboration is also apparent in the design of the private offices, which are often constructed with glass doors and walls to ensure transparency.
• Increased health and fitness options. Many Millennials move to Colorado for its active lifestyle and want to incorporate their choices into work with the ability to eat healthy and exercise at work. Many of our projects now include on-site fitness centers, Cross Fit training areas, bicycle storage, showers and locker rooms. Adjustable height work stations and slow-walking treadmill desks connected to the company’s network allow employees to stand and move while working. On-site cafeteria and stocked micro kitchens respond to the want for healthy food offerings.
• Technology is king. The Millennials’ affinity for technology is having a big impact on modern office design. Conference and training rooms are now equipped with smart white boards and video conferencing to foster communication between employees in remote locations. Desk size is shrinking as employees move from desktop computers to tablets and laptops. The trend towards smaller equipment and a paperless office is eliminating the need for file storage and flat desktop space.
• Working beyond the cubicle. We build a variety of spaces for our clients. Employers request workspace that ranges from private spaces for “heads down” quiet thinking-type tasks and phone rooms for private conversations, to lounge areas and outdoor meeting spaces – with the goal of increasing engagement, satisfaction and output.
With Millennials poised to make up as much as 75 percent of the workforce in the next decade, many of these trends could become standard office features