- With U.S. Millennial population estimated at more than 71 million — and peaking at 75 million within 10 years — Millennials hold the cards in this post-pandemic economy.
- Bringing employees of all ages and experience levels back to the office is proving to be a challenge for many companies.
- Here are four ways to get Millennials back — and to keep them engaged.
This article was originally written by Cushman & Wakefield’s Bryan Berthold for Work Design Magazine.
The future of work, insofar as the return-to-office movement goes, depends on one question: What do Millennials want?
With a U.S. Millennial population estimated at more than 71 million — and peaking at 75 million within 10 years — Millennials hold the cards in this post-pandemic economy. Currently, between the ages of 27 and 42, they are the largest working generation with 35% of the total US workforce and have decades of tremendous productivity ahead.
As the first to be born into a digital world, Millennials are digital natives, and technology has always been part of their lives. They are adaptable and quick to acclimate to new technologies, and among all generations, Millennials are the most highly educated. For them, that’s both good and bad news.
Bringing employees of all ages and experience levels back to the office is proving to be a challenge for many companies. Here are four ways to get Millennials back — and to keep them engaged:
The ability to choose your place of work and schedule is second only to compensation in job satisfaction among young people, according to our recent research by Cushman & Wakefield’s Total Workplace Group.
Eight-in-10 employees say they want flexibility in where they work, and 94% want flexibility in when they work. More revealing: 73% of respondents said they would be open to taking a new job if unsatisfied with the flexibility at their current job. Additionally:
- 70% with flexibility felt connected to company culture, while only 36% felt connected with strict mandates in place.
- 75% of workers not under RTO mandates but choosing to be in the office reported positive well-being, while only 33% of remote workers did so.
- Workers with full schedule flexibility report 29% higher productivity and 53% greater ability to focus than those without.
2. 15-Minute Offices
You’ve probably read about 15-minute cities, which are built so that most daily necessities and services are within a 15-minute walk or bike ride. This strategy should be employed in office buildings.
There might be a convenience store or a dry cleaner, in your building — but what other amenities are in the neighborhood?
The sky’s the limit on possibilities — electric car repair, bottle shop, gluten-free mochi donut store, gym, or pet groomer — and all help position your space in the market and will attract tenants looking for the convenience of a 15-minute office. The ROI could be sizable.
3. Communication and Collaboration
Because Millennials are curious, when you ask them to return to the office, they’ll want to know why. As one government employee in Denver said, “Flexibility and perks would be nice, but if I don’t understand why it’s important for the company and the work, it would be hard to accept, regardless.”
They also appreciate learning opportunities, connections, and engaging work environments, according to XSF research. The top driver of the employee experience is being inspired within your work environment. And the key reasons for being in the office are focused on community and connection.
Recent XSF research shows that half of Millennials want to RTO at least one day a week. A majority (59%) cite socialization as the primary reason, followed by easier collaboration (36%), easier separating work from personal life (34%), and better access to tools and physical resources (26%).
I’m in favor of building “we spaces,” a stacking of experiences in the office where not just work, but socialization, learning and collaboration happen. No longer a place just for the desk and personal space, the future office will offer an array of experiences from innovation centers, learning spaces, quiet library space, collaborative zones, events and community spaces along with places to engage customers.
4. In-Office Perks
Company amenities also increase employee efficiency, decrease turnover and improve overall company culture. Here are a few suggestions.
- Productivity amenities continuously top the list including dual monitors, sit-stand desks, ergonomic furniture, easy-to-use technology, and robust Wi-Fi connectivity
- A well-stocked drink bar with coffee, tea, juices, seltzers, flavored waters, smoothies, and other healthy options
- Personal chef who prepares free, nutritious lunches for all employees and weekly take-home dinner-prep
- Access to financial counseling (according to Business Insider, only 24% of Millennials have basic financial knowledge)
- Game room with board, video and active games and healthy snacks
- Laundry services
- Fitness room with sessions for personal trainers, yoga, massages, and meditation
- Transportation and childcare vouchers or stipends
In these challenging times, employers of all sizes are striving for improved productivity, employee engagement and workplace experiences. As we work together on effective ways to bring staff back into the office, the smartest companies will learn all they can about what Millennials want — and know that the carrot is superior to the stick.