The arrival of the Millennials has caused a dramatic shift in the way that space is purposed in work and living environments. Today’s Millennials have different priorities than older generations, which is becoming increasingly reflected in architecture and design at home and in the office.
Hendy has seen a significant move away from “functional-based” office space to more engaging, “activity-based” environments. Individual space is becoming smaller and community space is becoming larger. Where in the past, the ratio was 70% personal space and 30% common space; today, those ratios are being flipped, and the social nature of the Millennials has been the catalyst. Today’s businesses are seeking a knowledge transfer between the 72 million soon-to-retire boomers and 70 million Millennials entering the workforce. In the last two to three years, office common space has increased with the need for greater collaboration between the command-and-control Boomers and the Millennials, who are used to an open environment and learn best through social interaction.
The walls have literally come down between these cohort groups as organizations are mandating two-way mentoring between the Boomers’ experience and the Millennials’ keen awareness of technology. Office space based on dynamic activity promotes collaboration and transfer of ideas, expertise and organizational values.
This theme of collaboration and mentoring was reinforced in a whitepaper on Workforce Transformation by Hitachi Consulting Corporation. The paper concluded: “By developing communities of practice and linking experts to Millennial newcomers, it accelerates learning and knowledge transfer in an organization. Millennials have the ability to build social networks and will naturally create and participate in communities. Ultimately, this makes the organization more effective, productive, and profitable.”
One example can be seen with Hendy’s design project for Monster Energy, which has the branded office vibe of an organization well-suited to the new Millennial generation. There are no straight lines in the comfortable, casual work space, which is designed to promote an out-of-the-box attitude. The entire space has a sense of spontaneity with a range of collaborative spaces from lounges, espresso bars and multi-purpose rooms that encourage conversation, employee engagement and idea sharing.
Millennials have had a similar effect on the design of personal living environments. Hendy recently completed work on ICIS, a luxury apartment community that focuses on diverse and functional common space amenities over large unit square footage. Millennials are happy to sacrifice personal space in a 600-square-foot studio apartment to live in a community that includes three rooftop decks, a fireside dining terrace, poolside cabanas, an outdoor multimedia amphitheater and a game room.
Each generation leaves its mark on the world. The Millennial Generation promises to leave behind less “my space” and more “our space” in a world more conducive to its social experience.