How about a drink after work … in the office?
A bar at the office, open spaces and sofas galore. These are just some of the ideas for adapting the office to the needs of generation Y.
According to Grant Kanik, co-founder of WheelerKanik, an office design consultancy firm, these new ways of working are key to company productivity and holding on to your staff.
“Millennials are not going to be interested by corridors of offices and rows of desks,” says Grant. Open spaces are much more productive acting like “town squares, with eddies of people and knowledge”.
The entire office can now be the water cooler, where ideas are shared and everyone can see what everyone else is working on, bringing together departments that used to be separated.
In fact it’s not just employees in one office that can now connect more easily with each other. ‘Wormholes’ connect remote offices with main hub offices acting like a “window”. Through what is essentially live video conferencing, employees in an office in Gibraltar can now see what colleagues in London are working on and even call them over for a chat.
Space flexibility is also key. Grant believes offices should provide several different work spaces to suit different people. “Elements of the home should be brought into the office – we all have our favourite place to work at home and the office should provide all these types of spaces too,” says Grant
But for all this to work, the office hierarchy needs to be broken down. CEOs and directors need to get out of their private offices and work in open spaces away from desks to show employees that they won’t be punished for “being away from the desk”.
And the boss should join in with after work drinks on a Friday too. Having a bar that is tucked away in the week but brought out on a Friday afternoon helps to “rectify arguments that otherwise wouldn’t be resolved and build relationships that otherwise wouldn’t be forged,” according to Grant.
With millennials accounting for over 75 per cent of the work force by 2025, the office is going to evolve drastically. A pint at the office bar is just the first in many changes to come.
Wheelerkanik gave seminars on the people-focused workplace today at the Clerkenwell Design Week.