Workspaces: What do Millennials really want?

by |

© Jakob Ammentorp Lund /

By 2020, so-called Millennials will make up more than a third of the workforce. Numerous surveys have already studied and characterized this digital generation. But what do these workers expect from their workspaces? And what does that mean for the organizations that employ them?

The Millennial difference…

This much is already clear: The Millennials are different to previous generations in many ways. They are digital natives, and that has a big impact on the way the work and communicate. It also dictates the demands they have on their employers’ IT departments. And they also know that they will have to work harder and longer than their parents. That’s the conclusion of a Manpower Group survey of 19,000 Millennials across 25 countries. Generation Y is highly competitive. They are willing to overcome challenges and progress their careers. But in contrast to older employees, they prefer to ride a career wave rather than a climb a career ladder. That means they will reach different career stages at different speeds and take regular time-outs. And they know that they must develop their skills continuously to keep pace with the rapidly changing world of work.


What does the Millennials’ workplace of the future look like?

So, these young employees are incredibly motivated. At the same time, they have clear ideas about how their optimal workplace should look. Because they are extremely value-oriented, deeper corporate objectives play a significant role in their choice of job. They expect a modern employer, open-minded and not solely focused on maximizing profits. And they want clear structures, as well as to be equipped with the latest devices and the newest software. In cooperation with Fresenius College, we recently asked 380 19-28 year olds about aspects of the “workspace of the future”. The objective of the cooperation? To discover the most important criteria for the future of work. Within the content of megatrends such as increasing individualization and urbanization.

These young people, that will be managing companies within the foreseeable future, showed themselves to be confident and independent. They prefer to communicate electronically and in real time. Using their own devices at work (BYOD) is also highly relevant for them. They want to develop themselves, take leadership responsibility. Furthermore they want to work flexibly, and complete tasks that have a real purpose. Their personal values are very important to them. They expect to be able to balance their work and family lives. Work/life-balance is therefore important. At the same time, work/life-blending is not so attractive for them. They value a comfortable working environment and want support from their superiors in stressful situations. But overly frequent feedback from managers and micro-management are not necessarily seen as positives. They also want to be able to maintain and even express their individuality in their job.

Exciting workspace opportunities await!

I understand the preferences and requirements of this generation. I also think it’s important to listen to them, enable them and give them their own space. Generation Y is, in my opinion, different from previous generations in a very important way. That’s because there is a very good chance organizations will meet their requirements, and implement their ideas.

The reason? In the context of low birth rates and the skills shortage, employers have to make themselves more attractive to employees. Winning the war for talent depends on it. Businesses are beginning to understand that its not just candidates that must apply for a job. On the contrary, companies must also sell themselves to job hunters. And that means changes in technology and other areas that will ultimately benefit all employees. I’m excited about the further development. And about meeting the challenges and opportunities that arise. I see it as exciting. And I’m looking forward to the dynamism of the young employees coming through.

Forecasting the workspace of the future…

Matrix42 will continue to support students at Fresenius College. As part of our cooperation, the survey results outlined above will be basis of an in-depth discussion in an all day workshop. The objective is to work with students to create a more detailed ‘Future Forecast’ of how workspaces will change. The students will receive support by a specialist from the Future Insitute, one of the most influential think tanks in Europe. Look out for a report on the results of this workshop in a future post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.