What Do Millennials Want in Office Space?

A millennial is anyone born between 1982 and 2000. When people read those dates, they are always shocked. There’s usually someone who says “I didn’t realize I was a millennial.”

Millennials account for 25% of the American population. They are the largest generation in the workforce, bigger than the Baby Boomers by almost 10 million. Even though millennials are one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse generations, they’ll be pushing some broad trends into their work environments.

It’s no surprise that companies go out of their way to seduce talented people. If you’re smart, you’ll find out what your ideal employee wants and build an office environment that suits them.

That’s a critical strategy for hiring millennial employees, who change jobs every one to four years. According to State Street Global Advisors, 44% of millennials plan to leave their current position in the next two years, which means keeping them around is harder than previous generations.

You don’t need orange slides that wind between floors or treehouse offices to attract and retain millennials, but you should make these concessions.

Before you hire millennials, make sure you understand these common myths.

The end of the 9 to 5


A Bentley University study found that most millennials prefer a flexible work schedule. 77% say that open-ended work hours would make them more productive. They prioritize work/life balance over work itself, and want to be available for life experiences.

The same study found that 80% of millennials are willing to check work messages and contribute to company goals well after work hours. Interestingly, they integrate their job functions into their life, so that responding to a work email at a restaurant or taking a quick phone call on Sunday doesn’t feel like an interruption, so long as personal interruptions are permitted during work hours.

How does this preference affect your office space? To court millennials, you should provide an accessible office. Give them access during nontraditional work hours, even if it means giving everyone a key. Let them use their own tools (laptops and phones) so work is always available. Most importantly, stop thinking of an empty chair as poor work ethic. Instead, measure results.

Your tech should be cutting edge

Millennials were born into technology. The oldest millennials have been using cell phones since they were in high school. The youngest had smart phones in elementary school. They work, socialize, and live their lives through technology.

Art Papas, CEO of Bullhorn, Inc., says it perfectly: “Millennials don’t look at technology as an extra. They expect to be able to use it in all aspects of their lives, including at home, in the community, and on the job.”

Millennials look for ways to make their jobs easier and faster. They want the flexibility that can only be achieved with modern technology. Don’t burden them with ancient computers. Be prepared to pay for that premium software tool. That said, many millennials are comfortable with “bring your own device” policies because it gives them freedom to work wherever and whenever they please (which could save you money).

Furthermore, give your younger, computer literate team members the freedom to implement and design their own tools. If you give them the tools you need, they will reward you with productivity.

Open office layouts aren’t what they seem

Image source: K2 Space / Flickr
Image source: K2 Space / Flickr

For years now, there has been a push for giant, open floor plans where everyone works in the same room. The idea is that millennials value communication and collaboration, so companies have literally attempted to break down barriers between employees. In fact, research shows that newer offices have been deliberately designed to represent the open spaces of college work/study environments. Fewer walls mean more talking, right?

Sure, but that’s not always a good thing. Open spaces create a pressure to look busy. When a CEO walks into the room, everyone wants to be at their desk, seemingly at work, even if collaboration (which is good work in the context of an open space) is better performed at the water cooler.

Furthermore, open offices are distracting. An employee’s productivity and creativity are squashed when everyone nearby can hear their conversations. This is especially important for salesmen or customer service representatives who spend a majority of their day on the phone.

Laura Munoz, saleswomen at Groupon, told Monster, “I loved feeling part of that community but as an inside sales rep I hated having people listen to all of my conversations. It was to an extent nice to pick up sales tips from listening to others, but it really made me act differently—either carefree or totally nervous. And of course, there was the occasional private conversation that you wish you didn’t hear.”

Nevertheless, open offices do create a sense of community that translates into job satisfaction. So how do you foster that community without damaging productivity? For small companies, the solution is to find out what your employees want and provide that layout.

Larger companies see success by offering a concept called “hoteling.” The idea is to provide different types of work environments to staff and let them work wherever they please. This means having an open workspace for collaboration and impromptu meetings, as well as quiet, reserved space for concentration. Technology being what it is means people can easily relocate workspace depending on their needs.

Sprinkle in some amenities


Happy employees are productive employees. (There’s really no need to back that up with science, but here it is anyway.) If you smooth out their frustrations, ease their fears, and solve their problems, you’ll create a workforce that gets more done and stays with your company for the long haul.

Some of the biggest companies have made tremendous investments into employee incentives, like personal concierge services, free catered food at all hours, free childcare, on-site gyms, and free laundry service. But those are likely out of your budget.

Still, you can easily improve your employee’s happiness and job satisfaction without giving them raises. Figure out what would make their lives easier that can be solved within your budget.

Does your team of five drink coffee throughout the day? Free coffee for a small team would only cost a few hundred dollars per year, but it would make your team grateful and productive. No late arrivals because the coffee line was long. No mid-day jaunts to the convenience store.

Does your staff like to educate themselves continually? You could reimburse a portion of their tuition or send them to industry conferences. Do they take fitness seriously? Pay for nearby gym memberships (you could probably get a group rate!).

Most importantly, a little perk for your employees makes your company known. You can be the business that lets employees bring their dogs to work, or the office with bagels every morning. Word will spread that will help you attract larger pools of job applicants.

Download our guide: Myths You Need to Stop Believing About Millennial Employees

A final word

I’ve done a lot of generalizing in this article about a large group of people, but at the end of the day, you should create an office environment (and a business, for that matter) that makes your company the most successful.

Maybe your millennials need beer kegs, a ping pong table, and Spotify subscriptions. Maybe they want traditional cubicles and taupe-colored walls. The only way to find out what makes them productive is to ask. Use that data to create a work environment that maximizes your chance for success.

Ready to find a new office? Find your next office environment today.

The Briefcase Replacement: A Low Down

These days fashion is synonymous with office culture. Does your getup match your furnished office?

Maybe you need to take a harder look. Sick of throwing on that backpack every morning? Perhaps you wish you had something more sophisticated to tote on the subway on the way to work. With the evolution of technology comes the evolution of fashion. At Turnkey Office Space we’ve synthesized a list of the best designed bags that look great in any environment but especially thrive in the office. Check ‘em out!

Tubo Rayado Duffle by Mafia (Starts at $99) Mafia is Paz and Marcos Mafia, a brother and sister team from Argentina. Marcos is a kitesurfer and Paz was a banker, the two merged their passions for sustainable product design and watersports to create Mafia, a company that produces a variety of bags made from recycled sails. Mafia works with Argentina and San Francisco-based NGOs to sew and produce the bags. They’re in the midst of their Kickstarter campaign to raise money to expand their San Francisco production shop. Our favorite is the Tubo Rayado Duffle, not only does it have a special, secure space for your laptop but its size allows it to double as a weekend and travel bag.

Waxed-Canvas Weekender by L.L.Bean. ($179) This is the perfect bag for both flying and regular ground commuting. It’s timeless beige and tan color palette with leather trim gives the owner a glow of sophistication and business credibility. There’s an option to add monogramming, but we don’t recommend that because its look is so unique that it’s difficult for anybody to forget that it belongs to you.

WWII Bags by Temple ($250-650) Does your office need a history lesson? Maybe your executive suite needs more of a ‘general officer’ feel? These duffel bags from Temple will give your workspace that regal presence its been lacking. Each bag is uniquely made from authentic World War II field wool blankets, bags and camp packs. Although the price is a little steep, knowing that your bag has survived an epic 6 year battle is pretty much worth it.

Ultra Light Cargo Duffel by Brics ($200). Teddy Minford, an editor at Fodors tested this light and breathable duffel and said, “The size was great for packing the necessities and still being able to navigate crowded subways and trains, and I actually felt quite fashionable with it.” This bag will brighten up your desk or workstation, and it also fits great in overhead bins on airplanes.

The Best Jobs for Fresh College Graduates

Youth. Workforce. Unemployment: three words that don’t sound that great together.

But in this current economic climate, new college graduates have to face the facts, that landing your dream job is a challenging feat for this generation. The overall unemployment rate in the US is 6.3%. In NYC it’s 7.4%, San Francisco 4.4%, Los Angeles 7.6%, and Chicago a whopping 8.4%. So, what’s an ambitious, young go-getter supposed to do? Fear not, budding careerist, we at Turnkey Office Space have some guiding points:

Software Developer (Applications or Systems Software). Technology comprises every miniscule detail of daily life, and thus, its developers are in constant high demand. From computers to automobiles, consumer electronics to Smartphones – behind every device or screen is a developer wiz kid. Software is an easy field to break into, especially if your major was math, engineering or computer science, and many pro coders are self-taught. The salary isn’t too shabby either and can start as high as $100,000.

Analyst (Marketing and Data). According to UC Davis’ Career Report, “market research analyst positions have exploded throughout every sector of the economy with the rise of widespread data-gathering through transactional databases, consumer preference and loyalty programs, the Internet and social media, and customer relationship management systems.” As technology grows, so does the research behind it. With so much competition between software and apps, the analyst’s role is critical to forecasting and trends and pricing between competitors. Luckily the field attracts psychology, sociology, and communications majors as well as math, statistics and computer science graduates. The mean salary for an analyst is around $67,000.

Elementary School Teacher. There are more employed schoolteachers than any other profession. Although many states require a master’s or credential, there are also some that only require a bachelor’s. It’s tough yet rewarding work to command a group of 20-30 young people five days a week, but luckily there are school vacation weeks and a couple of months in summer that provide ample relaxation time. The mean annual salary for a teacher in the US is around $56,000.

Public Relations Specialist. If you’re a people person and care about corporate, media or non-profit consumerism, consider a job in PR. They essentially hold the reigns to a company’s reputation. The job is not nearly as glamorous as Kim Cattrall’s character portrays it as in Sex in the City. As an entry-level employee, you’ll be writing press releases, producing publicity materials and website content.

Freshly graduated AND employed? Looks like all you’re missing is a grade-a office space! Take a look around at our unique selection of office space for rent and we’ll take care of the rest!

July Horoscopes for the Office Worker

What does your office horiscope say about you?

Aries: It’s prime sales season and you’re overwhelmed and stressed. Breath, stretch and close your eyes and picture a rushing waterfall in your office. Let it drown out the noise of meetings, typing and chatter.

Taurus: The heat is exhausting, and its up to you, Taurus to decide if you want to give up or sweat it out. When things in the office get too hot to handle, take a walk or go out to lunch and then get back to the grind.

Gemini: You’re feeling stuck and cramp in your current work environment. This month is about change, Gemini. GiveTurnkey Office Space a call and help them find your business an office with ample space and spectacular views.

Cancer: Sitting and slouching haven’t been your friends lately, Cancer. It’s time for that transformation you’ve been dreaming about. You might want to invest in that sleek new ergonomic chair or that hip, new treadmill desk. A healthy work practice is a happy one.

Leo: There’s been a lot of restructuring going on at the office lately. Teams are being shuffled around and there’s been a surge of new assignments. Work relationships are important, Sagittarius. Take some time to get to know your colleagues; schedule a happy hour or a dinner, you’ll be grateful.

Virgo: Concentration is your ultimate motivator this month, Aries. Stop clenching your teeth and tell your cubicle mate who plays CandyCrush with the volume turned all the way up that your ability to focus is in jeopardy.

Libra: You just got promoted or heard good news about your position. Take this opportunity to celebrate yourself and career. Buy your cubicle, suite or desk a new plant or treat yourself to new business attire. Onwards and upwards, Libra.

Scorpio: Executive suites, hybrid work spaces, co-working spaces, working from home, you’re bogged down with office space options for your growing business. This month is about asking for guidance, Leo. Give TurnKey Office Space a call and have them show you the way.

Sagittarius: Something’s not right or something’s missing, Scorpio. This isn’t the career path you envisioned for yourself or you’ve had a change of heart. July is the month for exploring new options. Change can be scary, but finding happiness in your work life is what’s most important.

Capricorn: Challenges are going to be abundant in the workplace this month, Capricorn, and perseverance is your one and only weapon. Stay strong and be confident. What you have to bring to the table is integral to your business’ mission.

Aquarius: You’re feeling bored and disinterested in your job lately. Maybe business has been slow or you’re just not being challenged. July is your time to brainstorm. What ideas or projects could you instigate at your company to make your career more valuable to you, Aquarius?

Pisces: Sometimes it’s hard to see the big picture, Pisces. You’re so dedicated but sometimes you need to step back and take a look at your true career aspirations. July is your month to reflect and figure out what kind of worker you really are.