The Class of 2019 is young, competitive, more diverse than any generation prior and just like the Millennials who came before them — the next generation joining the workforce, Generation Z (born roughly between 1995 and 2010) will revolutionize the way every office operates. As an architecture firm that champions the idea of “designing for the future,” we think it’s important to understand what true next generation design looks like.
What kind of environment does Gen Z thrive in and how are architects designing spaces differently for them compared to their Millennial and Gen X predecessors? How should architects imagine offices that allow Gen Z to thrive without alienating the rest of us?
These are just a few of the questions we’re contemplating as we explore what it means to design for the future.
Gen Zers may be close in age to Millennials, but in an office environment they operate differently. While those falling in the Gen Y cohort may be driven to “work for a purpose,” Gen Zers are driven by achievement and security. They crave structure and security, shying away from the ever popular open office plan. For example, the space we created for iStrategyLabs brought structure to an open office, providing space for employees to meet without sacrificing room or good design.
While their Millennial counterparts are tech-savvy, Gen Zers are tech natives. Technology is integrated into everything they do – in fact, they’ve never known a world without it. For our team, this means designing office spaces with accessible technology, that everyone can use to enhance productivity and work capabilities.
Perhaps most importantly, our own Gavin Daniels shared that Gen Z will help all of us rethink what “work-life balance” should look like. “It is all work and it is all life,” he shared. “If you think of it as a balance that means the two are held equal, and that one is not more than the other.” He believes Gen Z will push the workforce forward by challenging this binary idea. Offices will need to be built to support life and work, not one vs. the other. In the space we designed for CWPS, we created intentional areas for their team to gather and create community within the office.
As Gen-Z pushes the workforce forward, we’re ready to meet them with next-generation design.