Currently, approximately 73% of the United States workforce — 100 million people — are knowledge workers who work primarily in open office environments. For decades, offices across the country have been relatively the same. Phones ringing, middle managers wandering about, and cubicles… rows and rows of cubicles.
Now, all that is changing and changing quickly. Businesses in 2018 are relying far less on conventional methods and are looking for much more innovative, creative, and even eccentric ways to run a company and succeed in a competitive marketplace.
Over the summer, the White House published its Pledge to America’s Workers, part of the administration’s new workforce initiative:
“We pledge to invest in both students and workers by providing opportunities for education and training that will help more Americans thrive in the modern workplace.”
According to Forbes, millennials will likely account for 75% of the global workforce by 2025.
Though there have been countless articles, reports, and interviews talking about how unmotivated and lazy millennials are, this group of young people are more educated than ever before, more comfortable with technology than ever before, and more willing to try new experiences than ever before — all of which are drastically changing the workforce.
Whether it’s a large corporation or a small business, which accounts for 99.7 of all organizations across the country, the conventional stylings of business are going away fast. Gone are the days of getting the manager coffee until a position opens up; today’s job force is much more competitive, much more technology-advanced, and much more open.
The way that businesses are actually designed is playing a huge role, as well. Though office buildings require different codes compared to a housing structure, there are still plenty of creative ways a company’s design can be tweaked, offering substantial benefits immediately afterward.
Here are some of the most popular trends that are currently sweeping modern businesses across the United States and changing the playing and working field:
- Meeting rooms designated for one specific team — Groupthink is an integral part of modern business, but having all 50 or 100 (or more) employees inside a conference room can be quite overwhelming. Not a lot can get done in these environments, especially when it comes to creative brainstorming. Small pods of workers, however, can thrive in team-specific meeting rooms.
- Remote work — Working from home, inside coffee shops, at the beach, and everywhere in between is becoming much more popular across the country. There was a time in this country where a work-from-home policy would seem alien, but not anymore. Businesses are actually encouraging their employees to get their work done on their own time from wherever they please — and it’s working.
- Casual spaces for individual work — Remote working is becoming more common, but that casual work atmosphere is actually spilling into the office space, as well. More employers are having libraries, cafes, and casual lounges built inside their offices to minimize distraction and promote productivity.
“The space comes with rules,” said David Galullo, CEO of Rapt Studio. “It’s a quiet space. You’re with other people, but they’re not on their cell phones, and they’re not talking to each other.”
- Biophilic office design — There aren’t many stereotypes that hold true for millennials, but one, in fact, does: millennials actually care about the environment. Biophilic pertains to the love of life and the living world, especially various elements that can be found in nature. Offices are tearing down conventional walls, ripping holes into the ceiling, and placing nature components all across the building. The natural lighting from the open ceiling and windows can actually help boost employee productivity and calmness, as well.
“Millennials, in particular, want to come to work and feel like they’re part of something larger than themselves,” added Galullo.
- Technologically minimalist — Though the majority of millennials care about nature, not every office utilizes the biophilic design, which is fine. Many modern businesses are fully embracing the technology that is all around us and changing virtually every aspect of the world. With technologically enabled office setups, employees can work smarter, faster, and more efficient than ever before.
As virtually every industry continues to adapt and adapt rapidly, there will be an emphasis placed on apprenticeships, skills, and on-demand employment. The dynamic of the national and international workforce is undergoing revolutionary changes — so get on board.