Giant Leap | Millennials in the workspace
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Millennials in the workspace

13 Dec 2016, Posted by Leah Barnard in Latest News

What is a millennial? Commonly defined as a person who was born during 1980-2000, the term ‘millennial’ is essentially a generational marker. There is another side to it though, one where the phrase broadly encompasses a mark of behavior. At least it has become common place to identify certain behavioral traits when referring to ‘millennials’.

Unfortunately, not all characteristics associated with this generation are perceived in a positive light. Described aptly by Chelsea Krost, 24, co-founder of MPulse a Millennial-focused marketing agency from Forbes article “Is Millennial a dirty word?” written by Samantha Sharf (24 August 2015) – the word millennial has previously perceived connotations:

“To set the record straight the word Millennial is NOT a dirty word. Unfortunately, the millennial generation has been labelled with stereotypes like lazy, entitles, and narcissistic, which has created confusion and frustration amongst many millennials and generations prior. This generation of often misunderstood and the “Millennial Hustlers” of today don’t always get the recognition or credibility they deserve because we tend to fixate more on the negative than the positive about this demographic of people. Millennials are a generation unlike any before and we are pioneering new methods in the workplace, technology and ways of communicating that will have a great impact on our near future. It is crazy to me to think that we can define 80 million people with three negative stereotypes. Instead, I believe many millennials are entrepreneurial, innovative, liberal and charitable.”

However, there is a common thread that is definitely associated with this generation and that they are redefining the workspace. Millennials are no longer happy with the typical 9-5 work days. To many it is regarded as an outdated notion, and that the best delivery of services no longer come from working on your typical office space environment. Instead, flexibility, the room to grow and engage with others in the workspace and the use of technology slowly become the prime factors when deciding where to work and who to work for.

Responding to a US survey by Steelcase, when asked to select two words to describe their ideal workplace, millennials chose ‘Active’ (62%) and ‘Flexible’ (54%), while Gen-Xers chose ‘Fun (56%) and ‘Creative’, and baby boomers selected ‘Spacious/Inspiring (57%) and ‘Active’ (53%). Peter Townshend, MD of workspace researchers Know More, says that the situation is very much the same in South Africa. “The call for flexible, active workspaces is high,” he explains. “Yes, this call comes mostly from millennials, though we are seeing all age sectors desiring, especially, more flexible workspaces that provide them with specific areas to do specific tasks. Millennials are tech-savvy, innovative and motivated and their way of working is person-centered, not place specific and because of this, we need to rethink how we see workspaces that enhance productivity. Giving a millennial a desk is the worst thing you can do – they want to sit with their entire team in highly collaborative areas, and be able to come and go as they please…especially to enhance their work styles, one word come to mind: choice. Give them choices and watch then grow.”

Keeping this all in mind, Gian Leap knows that sometimes you aren’t only building a  workspace that represents that brand, but also a space for the people who work there. Gian leap knows that whne it comes to the office, not everyone prefers your typical desk and chair. Rather open workspaces which allow for collaboration and rooms where one can retreat to think and produce ideas are now becoming more popular.

Giant Leap understands that integrating technology into the workspace is important. With the millennial generation being constantly online, and using technology both as a medium to increase productivity and enhance ones skill set. It’s no longer a surprise that the working environment should be technological friendly. This means creating integrated technological workspaces. Rooms where one can comfortably have a skype call. Office spaces that make sure connectivity is possible and that you don’t necessarily have to be at one specific station or desk to achieve this connectivity.

Giant Leap takes all of this into consideration when planning and creating a workspace. It’s no longer just about the architecture, the colour schemes, the beautifully crafted furniture to the eco-friendly materials but it’s also about the people. The roles they take on, the preferred environment, the way they engage with the space and ultimately how all of this can be used to enhance productivity.

Keeping true to their word Giant Leap builds superior interiors which inspire efficient and innovative work.