THE INC. LIFE

How to Design Workspaces That Engage Generation Z

Design your workspace with these four elements in order to effectively attract, retain, and engage Generation Z.

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BY Ryan Jenkins - 10 Oct 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

The envelope of today's workspaces is being pushed further and further.

Facebook recently moved into a forty-three-thousand-square-foot "garden-roofed fantasyland" office. Apple has built a new Cupertino campus that resembles a giant alien spacecraft. And plans for a new Mountain View headquarters at Google have proposed miles of super transparent glass and an interior workspace that can be reshaped by cranes and robots according to the company's needs.

If Steve Jobs taught us anything, it's that design matters. The better the design, the better the experience and the higher the engagement. The same applies to today's workspaces.

When deciding if they wanted to work at a company, 91 percent of Generation Z said technological sophistication would impact their interest in working at a company.

It's no wonder so many of today's tech giants are investing heavily into new, high-tech, and innovative workspaces. Besides creating a functional workspace, the office's design is being used as a recruiting and employee-engagement tool.

What does the design of your workspace communicate to potential new hires and existing employees?

Providing workspaces that entice collaboration and offer unique experiences are a must.

It's become more and more challenging to engage the next generation of employees at work. Work-life integration has replaced work-life balance. Nowadays, we take home more work, and we want more life at work. More employees (especially Generation Z) are looking for companies that offer rich and immersive experiences at work. And that starts with the physical workspace.

Here are four workspace elements that will engage the Generation Z worker.

1. Collaboration
Sixty-five percent of Generation Z say the people whom they work with would enable their best work. The quickest way to boost collaboration is to observe where your team naturally gravitates.

Once you pinpoint the high-traffic areas, encourage collaboration by offering food or drinks nearby, placing stools or high tables there, or streaming Wi-Fi to the area.

2. Flexibility
Generation Z will be more productive and ultimately have a better impression of their employers when they have workplace flexibility. In fact, 90 percent of managers believe that workers are more productive when given the flexibility to choose when and how they work.

Cater your workspace to meet a wide range of needs and interest by offering solo workstations, mobile workstations (e.g., desks with wheels), small team rooms, large conference rooms, lounge areas, and relaxed community areas.

3. Value infusion
Company values that are visible on a daily basis will help to engage Generation Z, especially since 75 percent of Generation Z want their work to have meaning (vs 70 percent of Millennials).

Bring your company values to life by naming meeting rooms after each value, writing them on the walls, printing them on business cards, looping them on digital displays, or creating images or badges that employees can share on social media.

4. Well-being

Forty-one percent of Generation Z said they would be willing to pay a premium for "healthier" products (vs 32 percent of Millennials). Generation Z value a healthy lifestyle and are interested in blending that lifestyle with work.

Natural light enhances energy and results in more productivity; find ways to leverage natural light in your workspace. The right colors can brighten moods. Color psychologists have found that green promotes calm, blue is stimulating, and yellow spurs creativity. Other perks that can promote a healthy workspace: ergonomic chairs, meditation spaces, nap rooms, dogs at work, and standing desks.