By 2020, Millennials will comprise 40% of the workforce in the United States, and 50% of the workforce worldwide. Besides making other workers feel old, what do these statistics mean for working in the United States? Offices will be changing in location, in amenities, and in ways that often only the Millennials themselves can envision.
Baby Boomers wanted stability and they wanted to live in the suburbs and often to work there too. Then, as they aged, Baby Boomers didn’t want to quit working (although some never had a choice). Millennials are different. What makes Millennials tick? What do they look for when they look for employment? They will change jobs more often than their predecessors, they will be more interested in working (and living) in or near city centers, and they will want good access to technology and to incorporate that technology into their jobs.
One thing that those who study work and work habits of different populations have found that sets Millennials apart from previous generations is that they have grown up with and understand the digital world that we live in now. Millennials grew up with technology so that it became almost an intrinsic part of their world. Just like Baby Boomers grew up with cars and airplanes while many of their parents and certainly their grandparents did not, Millennials grew up with smart phones, broadband, laptops, and social media and most can’t remember a time when those things were not a part of their everyday life.
There are advantages creating a smart office for Millennial employees. In addition to being better connected to coworkers who may be at different locations, and better connected to customers, smart offices make recruitment easier. So far, in their relatively short working life, Millennials are statistically not as focused on salary as the driving force in choosing a job, they are looking for other perks. These perks are often things that make them feel at-home, things that allow them to feel valued.
Collaboration and connectivity are what Millennial employees desire in workplace is connectivity. In the past, employees wanted their own private space; an office or a cubical if an office wasn’t available. Millennials are more about collaboration. Many of these young people are always in contact with others, even when they aren’t with them. These younger workers have texted, emailed, Facebooked, Tweeted, and everything else for hours at a time. They have even played video games with people in other countries in real time. They want to be connected with coworkers and customers at work too.
Part of connectivity for some Millennials means they want to work from home, or somewhere other than in an office. This means they need good infrastructure and good connections to make their work, whether at home or in the office, to be as efficient as possible. When employees complain about their workplace and the technology, they report that they have better technology at home than they do at work.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things has made a big impact in the world we live in, and sometimes we don’t even realize how much the IoT surrounds us. All around us technology communicates with other technology without us thinking anything about it. We walk into a room and lights come on, we leave and the lights go out. We get emails when it has been three months since we changed our oil.
Cameras send signals to the phone or computer screen so those people can know who is approaching them. This allows Millennials to work at odd hours without feeling as vulnerable when alone. One thing that many Millennials also want is the ability to work nontraditional schedules, and with these devices, they can and remain safer than without visual evidence of who else may be in the building with them.
In the same category as motion sensor security cameras is doorbells with cameras attached to them. These cameras and doorbells are becoming more common, and remember, with the internet of things, it is less about what is necessary as far as the boss is concerned, but about what Millennials look for when considering whether to take a job.
Smart-locks are something else that Millennials look for. Using keys is so passé when a person can wave their smartphone, type into a keypad, or run their magnetic strip through a card reader. These locks tend to have advantages, such as keys that are more difficult to lose and more difficult to replicate.
It is not just about keeping younger employees happy. Having a smart office can, in many cases save money by using smart lights, and presets on thermostats. A smart office can also add safety to a workplace with alarms and cameras. One of the more important things that a smart office can offer is a lure to attract smart, technology minded employees. The smarter the office, the more attracted you are likely to look to many of these Millennial job seekers.