Successful Modern Workplaces – Designing For A Multi-Generation Workforce

Silvia Pichler, 
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Today’s workforce is made up of four generations, all of which have different core values and levels of technological affinity. Reconciling these to provide everyone with the highest comfort at the workplace poses a challenge to modern office management. How does the perfect multi-generation office look like and how can it be achieved?

 

First, let’s take a closer look at the generational composition, represented at today’s workspaces:

 

  • Baby Boomers: born 1946 – 1964
  • Generation X: born 1965 – 1976
  • Millennials/Generation Y: born 1977 – 1995
  • iGen/Generation Z: born 1996 and after

 

Disparate Workplace Expectations

While Baby Boomers are retiring, Generation X is taking on leading positions and more and more members of Gen Z are entering the job market.

 

They are digital natives and like Gen Y members known to be technology experts. Companies seeking to attract young talent, should be aware that, to them, having access to state-of-the-art technology at the workplace can make or break the deal.

 

Both of these generations strive for greater flexibility, the opportunitiy to rotate on the job and open spaces that encourage and facilitate face-to-face communication.

 

Gen X employees on the other hand were born and raised in a non-digital environment and are generally not as tech-savvy as the younger generations. They are often used to having their own secluded workspace where they can better focus on their work.

  

How can these contrasting values be reconciled in one and the same office?

 

The Modern Multi-Generation Office

As older generatons are retiring and Gen Y are already making up most of the current workforce in numbers, corporate campuses are starting to change.

 

That is not to say to pass over Gen X, rather than creating a modern office that caters to a broader array of needs and allows for a smooth togetherness of multiple generations.

 

Effective Room Booking

While most offices nowadays are organized in open spaces, some space can also be dedicated to quiet zones. These rooms could be booked if someone needs time to themselves to get creative or join a conference call.

 

To allow for an efficient utilization of these rooms, it makes sense to combine it with a complementary management system.

 

Using a location-based solution, the system provides an easy overview over room availability. With Indoor Positioning, all employees can see their office map, inlcuding all rooms and their vacancy status, at one glance on their mobile screen. Available rooms can be booked with just one tap.

 

The system’s intuitive design also allows non-tech-savvy and Gen X employees to use it with ease.

Successful modern workplace - managing the booking of meeting rooms easily via mobile app

Easy and efficient meeting room booking via mobile app using an Indoor Positioning solution

Efficient Hot Desking

Hot Desking and mobile workplaces are among the top trends for modern office practices and environments. Many companies try to lure top talents and millenials with increased flexibility, an asset that ranks highly among the younger generations.

 

Home office days along with a culture of mobile desking also help the company save costs by reducing the amount of fixed work stations.

 

Despite cost savings and increased flexibility, mobile desking can also have drawbacks, if not managed correctly. Finding an available work station within the open work space, especially in bigger office complexes, can lead to inefficiencies and frustration among employees.

 

Equipping the office with a real-time tracking system helps avoid this by leading employees directly to empty work stations upon entering the office.

 

Location Sharing and Ad-Hoc Meetings

Although open spaces are usually known to have a positive impact on teamwork, the fact that your work station may change on a daily basis, may make meeting specific colleagues and discussing matters face-to-face tricky.

 

An efficient and really easy way to find your colleagues is by sharing your real time location via the mobile office app. Employees can share their location with colleagues they listed as “friends” at all times and for the time of a meeting with others.

 

In doing so, their location will be displayed on the office map in the app and the routing functionality helps them find each other.  

 

Job Rotation and Indoor Navigation

Many aspiring talents starting on a new job express their interest in trying out differnet fields of work. This has led to the practice of internal job shadowing, allowing employees to diversify their field of experience and get insights into different areas of the company.

 

Just like for new employees, it is important to provide those who are rotating and working in a completely new environment within the office complex for the first time with some orientational support to facilitate the switch.

 

Indoor Navigation allows employees to navigate around the whole office complex or corporate campus in real time via mobile app. Any point of interest they search for, they can navigate to easily, without asking colleagues for directions. Looking for an unknown meetingroom? No problem! Can’t locate your new colleague? Consult the app!  

 

Uniting a multiple generation workforce under the same roof and trying to cater to their specific needs is a challenge many businesses are confronted with. Indoor Positioning and Navigation can help bridge the generational gap and optimize resource utilization and communication among employees.

 

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