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Simon O'Brian
Simon O'Brian
  • 1 Minute Read
  • 22nd August 2012

A new generation of workspace

According to recent demographic surveys, the Baby Boomer generation is on its way out of the work office to be replaced by Generation Y – those born between 1979 and 1997.

Apart from a refreshing influx of bright young faces, the change in generation will - it seems - alter the nature of the office working environment. At least this is the conclusion according to a report issued by the office furniture company Knoll Inc.

Among other differences, Generation Y rates the importance of an “engaging workspace” very highly, but the quality of meeting rooms much lower. For Baby Boomers the exact opposite is apparently true. This is because “Baby Boomers” enjoy structured face to face meetings, while Generation Y prefers “quick” more “casual” meetings, so the actual meeting environment matters less.

Generation Y people also like to feel that their office has a domestic and “homey” feel. They prefer a “collaborative” environment. Baby Boomers however make a clean distinction between office and home life.

As a consequence of their preferences Generation Y people do not apparently like “walls” and prefer open meeting spaces and lounge furniture. To this generation status is defined in terms of possessions Ipads etc., to the Baby Boomers the style of one’s office was a key status marker.

Of course all this is not to neglect Generation X (born between 1965 and 1978). Having grown up with financial and work insecurity this is the “show me the money” generation. They want what works and comes reasonably priced.

With the office-obsessed Baby Boomers and the hard-nosed Generation X ending their reign as the dominant forces in the office environment it seems that Generation Y will be setting the trends for the near future. So get ready for more office lounges and "collaborative" environments.