The Millennial Mind Shift: Changing Demographics and the Evolution of Today’s Office Space

Bill Halter, Principal, Cooper Carry

Today’s office building is being heavily influenced by changing demographics. Today, approximately 36% of US employees are Millennials and that number will grow to nearly 46% by 2020. This segment of the market, more than any other, prefers to live, work and play in their neighborhood. Walkability is a term they not only embrace but widely extol. They are no longer tied inextricably to the automobile. They are relying more on transit to be mobile and they work much like they mingle. This burgeoning market expects the workplace to respond to its culture; which means that real estate adjacent to, or near, mass transportation will become even more popular. In many cases this will require smaller floor plates due to site constraints.

Regardless of the location of an office building, it will adapt to the expectations of this new employee base. Office building lobbies must be viewed as multi-purpose spaces, encouraging people to sit, collaborate, work and interact with others. More and more lobbies will have coffee shops and other food services within a space that is more relaxed with soft casual seating, wi-fi, and furniture that can easily be moved around to accommodate a group setting. This is not really a new concept as hotels have been doing it for some time now.

In the office space itself, companies are more interested in loft-like space with high ceilings, exposed mechanical and structural systems and lots of windows for natural light. The open office concept can be easily reconfigured as work demands change in a world that is ever-evolving.

Successful owners of commercial office buildings have begun to take note of this new culture and are eagerly designing or adapting to meet the expectations of a market that will continue to grow for years to come.

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Balfour Beatty on trend. As we renovate and build office spaces in Georgia and throughout the nation, we too have noted similar trends. In fact, having recently renovated our Georgia Division office space, we focused on creating an office setting that reflects our brand, promotes our culture and enables all that we do. The new space emphasizes glass instead of walls to support an open culture, and features a wide array of amenities to promote an environment where employees can collaborate easily. To learn more about how workspace design and construction engages people and creates cultures of innovation, check out our “Change Your Space” lookbook.