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The workplace is experiencing a rising diversity trend as baby boomers are working longer alongside a new generation of employees joining the workforce, making the modern office a place where multiple generations coexist. Each generation has experienced different social and technological developments that have shaped their perception of the world and their work habits, expectations, and needs. With these generational gaps becoming increasingly prevalent in offices, employers recognize the need for a multigenerational workplace design that accommodates these differences and makes all employees feel comfortable and productive. This emerging discipline is a form of neuroaesthetic design that explores how a space’s aesthetic and environmental features impact well-being.

Four Generations in the Workplace

To successfully implement a multigenerational office design, it’s crucial to comprehend the distinctions among the four workplace generations. Baby boomers, known for delaying retirement, value traditional work practices and face-to-face interactions. Gen Xers, who experienced corporate layoffs, prioritize work-life balance, prefer working independently, and appreciate convenient workplace amenities. Millennials, comprising 75% of the global workforce, thrive on teamwork, multiculturalism, and productivity. Gen Zers, tech-savvy and independent thinkers, prefer virtual communication and prioritize their employers’ social and environmental impact.

Elements of a Multigenerational Office Design

With all the nuances of this multigenerational workforce, how do you create an office that suits everyone’s needs? Here are some elements to incorporate.

Flexible Workspaces

Baby boomers and Gen Xers are accustomed to traditional work environments, whereas Millennials and Gen Zers view the office as a social center where they can socialize or participate in communal activities after hours. Flexible workspaces utilize modular furniture to create various working and breakout areas, empowering employees to choose their preferred work settings. This could include collaborative spaces for Millennials to brainstorm or secluded areas for Gen Xers and Gen Zers to concentrate. Flexible spaces are particularly valuable to younger employees who frequently work remotely and are familiar with shared work environments.

Ergonomic Seating

Wellness matters to all generations of workers. As workers age, they may require different ergonomic support from those who are much younger. Humanscale offers a diverse line of ergonomic office chairs that utilize the sitter’s body weight to encourage movement and promote comfort. Options range from chairs with headrests to contoured saddle stools. Teknion’s Nuovo Contessa Task Chair delivers uncompromised comfort and performance for diverse body types. The chair features a sleek design, advanced adjustment mechanisms, and improved strength and durability. The updated back and seat frame are designed to be light and thin, adding a touch of sophistication and elegance to any work environment.

Versatile Tech Accessories

Technology is an integral part of today’s workplace, and while some generations are more comfortable with it than others, all workers can benefit from workplace features that make technology easy and seamless to use. Teknion offers a range of ergonomic tech accessories that accomplish just that. Its Cosi laptop table can be adjusted into angled positions that support everything from intensive tasks to improved visibility during Zoom calls. Its spring-assisted Swerv Monitor Arm allows users to move their monitors quickly and easily throughout the day. Its Cerebro technology integrates a height-adjustable table with a task light and display monitor arm so workers can maintain comfortable lighting levels and monitor eye heights when moving from sitting to standing.

Soundproof Booths

Some employees of different generations prefer privacy, while others desire open meeting options and an open work style. However, everyone can appreciate having control and choice over their environment. Enter privacy pods! These sleek, standalone, soundproof spaces effectively minimize office distractions and provide employees with dedicated environments for focused individual tasks as well as collaborative team activities. The adaptable and customizable design allows for versatile usage, while strategically placing the pods in high-traffic areas affords convenience and accessibility to the staff.