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As Generation Z enters the workforce, employers are quickly trying to learn about how they work and how to retain them. As is with any generational shifts, Gen Z thinks differently than millennials and the generations before them. They were born in the digital age and have never known a time without modern technology. They’re more competitive and ambitious – they only prefer collaborative work as long as it is not holding them back. They value work-life balance and wellness in the workplace. As we garner these insights about how Gen Z we also have to ask how we can design the workspace around the way they work in order to retain them and encourage engagement.
In order to remain in line with Gen Z’s inclination for technology, we would recommend integrating technology into their work in a way that is natural and easy-to-use. Video conferencing, room scheduling, wayfinding, tablets, are all examples of technology that can be easily integrated into a workflow. Even though Gen Z is the digital generation, they still value human connection – 90% of Gen Z wants some form of human connection incorporated into their work. That means ensuring that there are face-to-face collaborative opportunities, as well as using technology to ensure an elevated level of connection – for example, using video conferencing over a phone call. Gen Z is projected to multitask more efficiently than the generations before them. This means they may prefer multiple computer monitors and tablets that allow them to feel supported to work at their highest level of productivity.
Gen Z is also similar to younger millennials in that they desire work-life balance and employee wellness programs. 38% of Gen Z view work-life balance as a top priority. Be sure to allow them the opportunity to work remotely and offer flex days – utilizing the technology already embedded in their workflow. You can make sure that their space is able to adjust in order to support physical and mental wellness – height-adjustable desks, sound-masking, spaces for meditation/yoga, and work cafes.
Gen Z has also shown to be more competitive than their Millennial predecessors. They want to start their own businesses or move up in their careers quickly. Gen Z is not as inclined to group work and collaboration – particularly if they feel like working with others is holding them back. Gen Z may want a variety of private places to work over many collaboration spaces, and they will want their collaboration spaces to be easily adjustable to their needs. An agile and flexible workspace is a good option for Gen Z because they can easily transform a space to fit their needs.
Employers have been scrambling trying to figure out how to make 5 different generations in the workplace coexist, and understanding how they work differently is the first step. Doing some research, as well as asking your employees how you can better support them, can help create a space that supports every employee based on how they like to work. Get ahead of the game by thinking about how the differences in Generation Z will show up in their work, and what their expectations will be when looking for a workspace that supports them.