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Make Way for Millennials: Office Design and its Effect on the Newest Generation of Employees

Ready or not, millennial office employees are here to stay. Gone are the days of satisfying workers with compensation alone. The youngest generation of coworkers set their sights much higher, expecting not only decent pay but benefits that will improve their overall quality of life inside and outside of work. Among these, they expect a beautiful office to call home. Here are a few design trends to consider adding to your office to keep millennials interested in your business and working at their full potential.

Workstations of Every Type

According to a 2017 study from IPSOS, 76% of millennials between the ages of 18 and 34 feel office design and aesthetics somewhat or strongly influence their impression of a company. Although the first impression an individual will likely get in your office will be your front lobby or waiting room, workstations provide the backdrop employees will see for most of the day. How you design your office's workstations is hugely important, but be careful not to jump on the open concept bandwagon simply because you think it's what millennials want. Spoiler alert: It's not.

Although some employees thrive in a wallless, collaborative desk space, no 2 workers are created equal. Introverts exist, and they need a little peace and quiet to get the job done. 


To accommodate employees of all personality types and job functions, incorporate a variety of workspaces into your office. Maybe the marketing team needs to collaborate regularly, but the sales team needs privacy for taking customer calls. In this situation, try adding benching to the marketing area and call center desking or cubicles in sales. Even employees who work in an open-concept situation need privacy from time to time, so you may also want to designate spaces around the office for quiet work.

Ergonomic Furniture That Promotes an Active Workstyle

In addition to needing a space where they can work effectively, millennials want furniture that fosters a healthy lifestyle during business hours. The best step toward this goal is to equip every workstation with an adjustable-height desk. Can't afford to swap out your old desks with new ones? No problem. Adjustable-height desk risers like the Ascent can be placed on top of any work surface and used in the same way.

Once your employees have the option to sit or stand while they work, take it a step further by allowing them to stay active while they sit as well. If you're wondering how in the world you can both be sitting and staying active, we have the answer—active stools and chairs. Ball chairs and perch stools are designed to allow employees to fidget and move while they sit, ensuring they aren't facing the negative health effects that come with sitting all day. It's a perk millennials expect and one that employees of all generations will surely appreciate.


Collaborative Meeting Areas

Whether or not a collaborative workstation is appropriate for your employees will depend on the individual and their job function. Still, every office should include at least one collaborative "touchdown" area to foster teamwork between coworkers. These meeting spaces are located in otherwise open, unused areas of the office and act as casual conference spaces that don’t need to be booked ahead. This way, employees can still meet to share ideas even when all formal conference rooms are booked.

The same IPSOS study revealed that 70% of respondents who work in an office wish their workplace would consider a design upgrade, indicating a strong desire for an attractive, inspiring space to work. Adding a touchdown meeting area to your office is a simple way to achieve a modern, updated look and feel. These meeting areas require no moving, no building of new walls, and no extravagant budget. An open area and some comfortable furniture will do the trick. 

Breakrooms That Inspire

The breakroom is your employees' designated place for relaxation and peace, so make it count. From comfortable tables and chairs to inspiring décor, an inviting lunchroom is the key to making your employees feel at home, allowing them to recharge before the rest of their work day. Silicon Valley offices have given millennials high expectations when it comes to what the breakroom should look like, so you'll want to create a space that's as beautiful as it is comfortable.

Office Design and Its Effect on the Face of Your Business

Having trouble attracting new talent to your business? Looking for ways to improve how candidates, employees, and guests perceive your company? Whether you're starting a new business or want to improve an already established company, the physical appearance of your office may have a greater effect on the face of your business than you realize.


office interior design infographic

Traditional Branding Is a Thing of the Past

If you spend a ton of time and money updating your branded materials, you may want to consider allocating those dollars elsewhere. A study from IPSOS revealed that only 37% of millennials say a company logo impacts their view of a brand, while 72% of office employees ages 55 and older feel the same. In comparison, 82% of millennials say that a company's website somewhat or strongly influences their opinion versus 53% of employees ages 55 and older. If it's you’re after fresh new talent, your logo and branding may not matter as much as it does to baby boomers.

Attractive Interior Design Matters

If logos and other branded materials are losing importance, what can you do to attract those much-needed millennials? The answer is beautiful interior design that reflects your company culture and the image you want your business to exude. The same IPSOS study showed that 76% of millennials ages 18–34 feel that office design and aesthetics somewhat influence or very strongly influence their impression of a company. Women between the ages of 18 and 34 and adults living on the west coast of the United States appear most likely to be positively influenced by good commercial interior design. The research clearly shows that the younger the individual is, the more likely they are to judge your business based on the physical appearance of your office.

Office Employees of All Ages Wish for Change

Attracting millennials to your business is hugely important. After all, they're the face of the future in American business. But with a large portion of the workforce still comprised of Generation X and baby boomers, can you do anything to appeal to everyone? Although older generations don't find good office design "important," interior design implemented correctly will positively impact candidates, employees, and visitors of all ages.

While Gen X employees don't place as much importance on interior design as millennials, design influences their opinion of a business more than it does baby boomers, indicating a gradual trend wherein the younger the employee, the more the physical appearance of your office will come into play when it comes to their overall impression of your business. In fact, 70% of study respondents who work in an office state that they wish their current workplace would consider a design upgrade, suggesting that although a beautiful office may not make or break their decision to work for a certain company, a well-designed space would be appreciated by most.

Whether your business is targeting new millennial employees or you want to give your guests a positive impression of the business, good commercial interior design is a step in the right direction. Consider an office makeover, and check out these 10 office design trends to you started.