Office design trends are largely dictated by the desires of those who work in the offices. Depending on the age of employees, these desires may not be uniform; what’s important to Generation X is not necessarily important to Millennials, and vice versa. As generations enter and exit the workforce, ideal design elements shift. Taking into consideration your employees’ tastes is crucial to creating an engaging workspace. Here are three working generations and their typical workplace design preferences.

 Design for Gen Xers

Generation X came into the workforce as cubicles and private offices were becoming less popular. Gen Xers are motivated, quick-to-learn, and adaptable, valuing a space that allows for flexibility and personal flourishes, but also privacy when it’s needed.

Gen Xers tend to fall in the middle on preferences for comfort and function or style. A minimalistic, low-sitting breakroom couch may lean too much into style, while a more traditional, supportive sofa may lack the flair to impress. Combine style and substance by focusing on a refined rustic look — classic shapes with informal rustic flourishes.

Design for Millennials

Millennials are making up an increasing percentage of the workforce, and have already prompted a number of shifts in the office design landscape. Unconventional workspaces with collaborative potential tend to appeal to this generation.

Many offices are beginning to eschew the open-office layout made popular by tech giants, as growing evidence indicates that this design template is harmful for productivity. That said, you can still appeal to the Millennials’ taste for unique office design by offering a variety of spaces for breaks or impromptu meetings.

This generation tends to prefer a modern, minimalist approach utilizing open, streamlined furniture that blends comfort and style. Add tasteful flourishes of natural stone, reclaimed woods, and pastel colors to provide a personal touch. Matte finishes and bold colors may be used sparingly to contrast modern, industrial furnishings. 

Design for Generation Z

Generation Z is just beginning to enter the workforce. As a demographic born into a world of technology, this generation expects their workspace to feature the same interactive, tech-enabled spaces now found in many colleges and universities. This means charging stations for devices in offices, breakrooms, and anywhere else employees might spend time.

With technology so deeply embedded in the values of Generation Z, it also follows that this age group is keenly aware of health and wellness in the workspace. All of the cutting-edge health trends apply here. From programmable lighting systems to standing desks to modern breakroom design, Generation Z prioritizes wellness while in the office.

To that extent, the uniform cubicle approach is unlikely to appeal to these employees. This age group aligns with the Millennials in preferring a unique, multi-faceted workspace. However, when it comes to aesthetics, Generation Z actually favors the same refined rustic approach of the baby boomers, so long as it includes an informal flourish or two.

Office design can have a great impact on the efficiency and culture of your workspace. As different generations have different preferences, it’s important to know how to cater your design choices to your employees. At Environments, we are up-to-date with all the newest trends that will help attract and satisfy employees; we offer a variety of furniture to suit every generation. Contact us today to learn how we can optimize your office design.