Are We Alike or Are We Different?

Are We Alike or Are We Different?

By: Lindsay Ferro

One of the most popular topics in regards to workplace environment right now is generational differences in the office. It feels like there are a million studies out there! But they all tend to result in one similar conclusion…

Baby Boomers are typically more reserved, prefer a sense of normalcy, and are more traditional. While, Millennials typically favor flexibility, collaboration and technology in the workplace. (Feel free to read more from Forbes here). As a result of these studies, we are seeing major design shifts in the office environment.

I recently encountered a project that became my very own little study of generational similarities and differences in the office! To give you a little background: Two clients of differing generations moved up their professional ladders and into new private administrative offices. Both individuals requested office modifications and furniture changes. After meeting with each client, the differences between the two immediately stood out to me. One preferred a more modern and laid-back aesthetic, with lounge furniture, pops of bright colors, and minimal storage. The other preferred a more traditional office, with a wood conference table, guest chairs, a bookcase and more storage. The only similarity? They both requested a height adjustable desk and technology that allowed them to share information easily. (Two benefits that are more up to date with today’s standard design trends for office design.)

These aesthetic differences in the work environment got me thinking… Each individual may prefer to work in their own way, but we all should be working towards similar professional goals—right? After a little more research, I came across another article by NBC titled “7 Ways Millennials Are Changing the Workplace for the Better.” As it turns out, there are studies indicating that what Millennials want out of a workplace are ultimately, what older generations want out of it too! At the end of the day, the goal of every professional person is to advance in his or her career and to increase the success of his or her company. So it makes sense that things like stability, flexibility, benefits, and communication are important to all employees regardless of age.

With these things in mind, I am excited to see where workplace design trends steer in the future while keeping in mind the office preferences of employees of all ages!