Updated: Oct 9, 2022
Are you a business that is scratching their head trying to come up with innovative and creative ways to encourage the YOUTH in your workforce to actually WANT to come back to the workplace?
Perhaps you’ve been trying to think what kind of ‘workplace experience’ is it that they actually want that you can realistically give them?
Or wondering, what kind of experience is it that is even WORTHY of their commute?
Or perhaps are you just trying to re-connect with the younger population in the workplace and re-build or develop your community.
Well if this is the case, this blog article - I wrote for you.
What don't the YOUTH want?
You may think it odd that for someone writing a post about ‘how to encourage the younger generation to come back to the workspace’ that I start by telling you that many don’t want too.
(Although I’m sure for many of you this isn’t new news)
These are however, a couple of caveats that I’d like to add to this statement.
(Hear me out...)
Firstly, from my experience of creating workspaces for the younger generation and engaging in many focus group sessions, analysing the data and behaviour and asking lots of questions to this particular audience, It's pretty obvious that they don’t want to come back, FULL TIME.
They also don't want to come back to their existing workspaces.
So, what DO they want?
They DO however, want to come back on a flexible basis PROVIDNG we, as employers are able to provide workplace experiences that are WORTHY of their commute.
By ‘workplace experience’ I’m talking quite literally about the spaces in which they work in, where they carry out their daily activities.
Those spaces. Do the ones you currently offer provide an experience worth coming into?
I’m currently working on the delivery of a future fit workplace programme where as workplace consultants are tasked with creating workplaces that are just this. 'Providing an exceptional workplace experience that the younger generation are excited about coming to'
Well, when you break it down, it’s actually very simple…
I’ve been hosting various focus groups and integrated feedback sessions with our tech graduates as part of the delivery of their new workspaces and what they want is in fact very simple.
They want to come back to their workplace to connect, collaborate and communicate with the right tools made easily accessible to effectively and efficiently carry out their daily activities to the best of their abilities.
By enabling our employees to do this we're providing the opportunity for growth and empowerment.
What we're still getting wrong...
I’ve been to soooo many seminars telling us how younger people aren’t coming back and there’s nothing we can do about it and to just move on.
Personally, I don’t feel this is conducive to our younger generations mental and physical health or the future of our businesses.
We all need to connect and communicate. Yes, Zoom and Teams provide a great platform for us to host meetings, connect over wifi and to simply do our jobs - there is certainly a place for this.
But 5 days a week? Is this REALLY communicating? I'm sure some will disagree, but I'm afraid I’m not so sure.
Is this really the life we want for our younger future generations?
You only need to read ANY mental health report and it’ll show you that mental health is on the decline and depression is on the rise.
That is partly because we’ve been sat at home with our pets and kids for company (great at the start) but as humans we NEED to connect.
I mean properly #connect. Human to human connection is in our DNA it’s as strong as our need for food, water and warmth.
But of course we cant (yep, we all saw ‘that’ Elon Musk email…) and we don’t want to force them to come back, so, instead why don’t we simply provide our younger employees with what it is they’re asking for and not only will they flourish, so will your business.
(Anywaaaaay, back to the topic at hand.. sorry, rant over…)
There are only really a few key components that I would recommend making a priority and the rest will follow.
So, first things first.
Sounds like a lot right?
ALL the graduates I met with asked for the SAME things…
🤷🏻♀️"What do you want to see more and less of in your new tech training academies?
-Diversity and a choice of spaces and environments
-Flexibility and choice within these spaces
-Space to #collaborate, brainstorm and communicate so they can thrive and grow as a community
-The right tech and tools to carry out their activities and efficiently and effectively as possible. (Surely, this is a good sign, right?)
So it sounds to me that they want the same things you do, am I right?
Many businesses often overcomplicate or second guess what they THINK their employees want in their workspaces.
So, if you’re creating spaces that promote choice and diversity that have the right gadgets, tools and tech you are more than half way there.
I have developed a really easy and cost effective way to provide smaller flexible spaces which I’ve named ‘#hackspaces’ (see my other blog article for more info on these) and why I recommend EVERY business should have them.
I’ve also written a blog article sharing some insight on what an inclusive workspace actually looks like, so check that out too. This article will elaborate on how to physically create inclusive spaces.
In the meantime, my parting advice is this…
👉By simply asking and listening, we have the answers we need. The answers are right in front of us.
Try not to over complicate it.
👉Ensure you evaluate and study the behaviours within the spaces you provide so that you learn and adapt your workspaces to provide more of what your employees do want and less of what simply is no longer fit for purpose.
👉As part of our inclusive design process we carry out pre and post occupant analysis on all of our spaces so that you can see the improvement to productivity, attendance, performance and connectivity.
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