Designing for Gen Z in the Workplace

As Gen Z are moving into the workplace, companies are rethinking their office design. Born between the 1990s and early 2010s, these tech – savvy individuals seek purpose, well – being and flexibility at work. 

Businesses looking to appeal to Gen Z are reshaping their office environments to suit their needs. Companies need to think about what young people truly value – from advanced tech to sustainable materials, office design is more demanding than ever. 

Sustainability 

Gen Z are highly conscious of their impact on the environment and require sustainability to be a core value of the company they work for. To appeal to Gen Z talent, it is crucial to embrace a sustainable office design. The Deloitte 2024 Gen Z and Millennial Survey reveals that 2 in 10 Gen Zs and millennials have changed jobs to better align their work with their environmental values, with others planning to do so in future.  

Small adaptations to office design can be impactful, start with opting for renewable or recycled materials when choosing furniture pieces. Another approach is to implement recycling systems with clear signage, encouraging employees to make the right bin choices. Infuse biophilia by adding green spaces and maximising natural light, which promote a healthier office environment. Investing in a sustainable office design will undoubtedly encourage Gen Z to your office, forming a youthful, motivated workforce. 

Technology

Growing up in a world of evolving technology, Gen Z expect a workplace equipped with all the latest tools. From high-speed internet to AI, investing in advanced tech will attract young people to your business. The 2024 Deloitte Gen Z and Millennial Survey states that despite some concern, Gen Zs believe using AI can improve their work life balance. To elevate employee experience, it is vital to embrace AI tech in the workplace, such as chatbots. These tools can enhance the speed at which your staff work, gain valuable insights and eliminate human error.  Additionally, incorporating interactive digital tools and collaborative software practices can support remote working and online communication. Other features such as wireless phone charging stations, fast working IT systems and reliable cybersecurity are also valued by Gen Z. Put simply, the workplace is becoming more digitally focused, so staying ahead of future tech trends is crucial to a Gen Z friendly office design. 

Hybrid Working

Gen Z require flexibility in their work environment, from premium amenities to hybrid work routines, this generation seek choice within the modern workplace. An insightful article by Forbes  reveals that 44% of Gen Zs have previously rejected employers, identifying a lack of support for employee work/life balance as one of the main reasons for this decision.  

Hybrid working is an established practice in the workplace environment, and choice is a must for Gen Zs. Young people expect an office design which fosters employee wellbeing and seek companies which offer flexible hours. To support this, offices should be designed with flexible areas that cater to different work styles. Consider breakout zones, informal seating areas and hot desks that can accommodate both private work and active collaboration.  

Incorporating phone booths, video conferencing systems and collaborative software into the design can support staff working remotely, encouraging seamless connection throughout the workforce. Wellness spaces and modern amenities in office design support both physical and mental wellbeing for employees. This can take shape in gyms, outdoor spaces and retreat rooms. Areas dedicated for breaks, relaxation and hobbies outside of work can attract young talent to your office. A less rigid work structure combined with a multi-use, functional office which promotes personal needs is key to attracting Gen Zs. 

Collaborative Spaces

Young employees value social connection and a sense of community within the workplace. This generation have a desire to socialize, work with others and create connections. Therefore, to attract and retain Gen Z staff blending collaborative spaces into office design is crucial. 

To promote collaboration, infuse open plan spaces, reconfigurable furniture and hot desking seating arrangements. Another approach involves adding interactive whiteboards and glass panels to the space, writing on these can enhance creative brainstorm sessions among employees. A communal tea point with is another simple, yet effective method to ensuring staff connect at work. These design features effectively encourage movement throughout the workplace, fostering teamwork and facilitating natural interactions. 

With the introduction of hybrid working, seamless communication throughout the workforce both remote and in person is valued by Gen Zs. Adding the choice for virtual collaboration by incorporating high quality screens, digital conferencing tools and interactive collaboration platforms is vital. These features nurture Gen Zs need for work/life balance and active collaboration.  

Branding & Personalisation

Gen Z value an inspiring office environment which mirrors the company’s identity, ethos and values. Blending your company’s branding into the office design is a great way to attract young talent into your workforce.  

86% of Gen Zs say having a sense of purpose is important to their overall job satisfaction. Infusing subtle quotes or slogans which reflect the brand’s ethos can act as reminders that you are not just profit – focused.  

Displaying employee achievements and awards is another way to bring personality into an office space, inspiring staff in their daily work life. Individuality is important to young people, providing space for staff to personalise their space with branded accessories is a great way to encourage Gen Zs to express themselves at work. 

Integrating brand elements into the workplace creates an environment which embodies a unique personality. An office culture which fosters feelings of pride, motivation and purpose will undoubtedly attract Gen Z, who crave to be a part of something. 

In the evolving world of work, traditional systems are rapidly becoming outdated. With the emergence of Gen Z into the workplace, office design should embrace flexibility, collaboration, and cutting – edge technology.

Gen Z are no longer willing to go above and beyond for employers who don’t value them. Despite Gen Zs high demands, these individuals represent the future decision makers, leaders and executives of their generation. Therefore, Gen Z friendly office design is not just about meeting current expectations, but also about laying the foundation for future success.