How Millennial-Friendly Is Your Workplace?

Millennials watched their parents work long hours without receiving much in return, apart from food on the family table, a roof over their heads, and an occasional vacation — and decided they wanted more for themselves upon entering the workforce. The direct result is a budding generation of employees who have crafted a view of the workplace quite unlike that of any generation that came before them.

Employers are now courting the talent pool of millennials, and if they’re to get and keep it, they have to recognise what these new workers want. This may require adjustments in the office space or the attitudes of management, and more accommodation for work-life balance than ever before, but those are the workplace elements this generation values. If you’re looking to attract and retain millennial workers, here are some changes your company can make.

Accommodate Those Who Bike to Work

Millennials are known to be sensitive about their carbon footprint, and some choose the option to bike to work. It eliminates their need to own a car or rely on public transit to get where they’re going. The only problem is, biking can be a sweaty proposition, even in cooler weather.

Providing access to a changing room and showers gives your bike-riding workforce the best of both worlds: the chance to bike AND get clean before sitting down at the office. It may be easier to find space for a changing room than for a shower, but there is the option to make arrangements with nearby gyms to let employees use their showers. And if bike storage is available in the building, see if you can designate it for employees’ bikes — or talk to building management about making a storage room out of any unused space.

Offer Exercise and Yoga Time During the Workday

Exercise might sound like it doesn’t belong in an office environment, but it does play a role in attracting interest from the talent you want working for your company. Physical activities — especially mindfulness practices like yoga — reduce stress and work-related injuries, making the workday easier for employees. Employers often seek more than 40 hours of work a week from their employees, offering these and other benefits to balance out the extra hours.

Millennials, who prize a work-life balance, may view exercise perks as valuable trade-offs, knowing they wouldn’t be able to fit an off-site exercise or yoga class into a ten-hour workday. Workers among this generation also are often much more health-conscious than previous ones, which means exercise is important. Providing opportunities for a daily exercise or yoga break meets their needs and makes up for the loss of personal time.

Modernise Your Office Space

Do you have an office space that looks like it came right out of the movie with the same name? If everyone in your office is boxed in by cubicles and closed doors under fluorescent lights, it’s time to redesign that workspace to make it a more comfortable and collaborative environment. Many millennials are already used to working on mobile devices in a variety of settings, so design a space that allows flexibility and enables employees to move “beyond the desk.” Couches, shared work tables, or a café-type setting can provide spaces that let people work together without the formality of a meeting space — and quiet nooks can serve workers who need privacy to focus or make phone calls.

Before you embark on the project, get feedback from current employees about what they want, and discuss your thoughts about creating open spaces. While you won’t be able to incorporate every idea (and the result might just be fewer cubicles and more meeting spaces), but you’ll undoubtedly get input that helps your redesign serve the millennial style of work.

Offer Professional/Personal Development Opportunities

Studies show that millennials are interested in enhancing their abilities, both as workers and as citizens in general. It just makes sense from any perspective to offer training that helps workers (from any generation) excel in their jobs, company, and industry. And although millennials grew up with tech skills practically from the cradle, many still need help gaining “soft skills,” which include important intangibles like communication, critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership, among many others. A workplace that offers this kind of training can not only attract more millennial workers but also take a hand in molding them into effective leaders, which also strengthens the company’s future.

Millennials also know the value volunteering and helping others, so they appreciate learning skills that allow them to become more connected or prepared to offer assistance. A company that offers, for example, first aid and CPR training, foreign language classes, or coaching and mentoring options would likely be seen favourably by millennials. They view organisations that offer classes like this as being concerned about their employees and the world outside.

These are just four possible workplace changes that can help attract millennial workers to your company. The concept of work has changed greatly with the rise of this generational cohort; they want to feel like a company cares about their well-being and development as well as their productivity. A workplace that accommodates and integrates millennial views is likely to attract millennial talent.

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