Millennials have a bad rap: as this generation entered the workforce, millennials were dismissed as lazy, over-entitled and reluctant to take on “real world” responsibilities. The categorization might be misplaced, as research has found that in the wake of the Great Recession, millennials earn less than their parents did at their age despite being better educated. Regardless of differing opinions, the fact is that millennials will represent 50% of the global workforce by 2020 and the CRE industry has already felt the impact of this generational shift in the workforce with the rise of co-working, remote employment, and millennials’ swift adoption of new technologies.
Here are 5 millenial-driven trends shaping the future of work.
1. The Rise of The Cloud
Cloud-based services like Google’s popular G Suite and DropBox allow employees to remain connected even when out of the office. Today, 85% of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy, a clear indicator that the benefits of adopting cloud computing are being recognized within the world of business.
When working in the cloud, teams can edit a client presentation on the way to a meeting, run reports when they are on vacation, or update a project plan from a smartphone. The ability to stay engaged and productive when away from your desk isn’t just a convenience, it's an expectation in today’s working world. Beyond staying connected when they are out of the office, our reliance on the cloud makes it essential to have seamless and reliable internet connection throughout the entire office space.
2. Productivity Apps
We’ve heard the phrase “time is money” and clearly millennials don’t have much to spare. Productivity apps like Trello and Asana have streamlined project management for internal and external collaboration. Popular chat app Slack has 5M daily users and there’s no sign that this trend is slowing down.
Millennials are the first ‘digital natives’ and using technology to drive efficiencies is second-nature for this growing sector of the workforce. Just as businesses are adopting and standardizing the use of productivity apps to improve employee happiness, they are also seeking out tech-friendly and well connected offices spaces to attract and retain top millennial talent.
3. Health & Wellness
With the increase of millennials in the workplace there has been an increased emphasis on healthier offices, wellness policies and perks from nap pods and yoga rooms to company-wide FitBit challenges. Companies are using wellness initiatives to woo potential employees and more than two-thirds of U.S. employers now offer a wellness program as part of their benefits package. In reaction to this trend, WELL Certification for office buildings has been introduced to the CRE market to help building owners benchmark and improve their properties from a wellness perspective.
4. Collaboration in the workplace
Millennials are driving an international trend toward nontraditional office spaces and contributed to the rise of WeWork and other coworking disruptors. Originally focused on providing shared workspaces for entrepreneurs, freelancers and small start-ups, WeWork now attracts coveted, Fortune 500 tenants like IBM and currently holds a valuation of $18 billion.
By the end of 2017 more than 1.2 million people will work in coworking spaces. The Millennial workweek extends well beyond the Monday through Friday, 9-to-5 routine and values collaborative environments that facilitate casual collisions and impromptu meetings, with flexible floorplans, huddle rooms and smart building technology.
All offices can borrow from the coworking trend to foster a more collaborative workplace experience. The key to a successfully flexible workspace is the ability to access the internet and take advantage of communication tools from anywhere in the office, not just at your desk.
5. Remote Workforces
The first four trends on our list have all contributed to the rise of the remote workforce. From advancements in collaboration tools, to the ability to hot desk or host a meeting at a WeWork when you are telecommuting, technology has revolutionized, and expanded the traditional definition of the office.
Remote working allows employees to better manage their work life balance. A study conducted by Polycom, Inc found 98% of those surveyed say “anywhere working” has a positive impact on productivity. Employers should look at remote working as a way to provide flexibility and autonomy in exchange for higher productivity from the most valuable asset in most companies… their employees.
However, effective communication is a major challenge when managing remote workers. A reliable internet connection and adequate bandwidth is necessary to effectively utilize video conferencing tools and keep telecommuters engaged with their companies.