The Impact of Generation Y on The Future of Office Spaces


By the end of 2016, it was expected that there would be more than 1.3 billion mobile workers worldwide, that 62% of software used in workplaces would be available through cloud services, that 50% of the workforce would be composed by generation Y and millennials.
The market is changing tremendously, and so are the layout and organisation of our offices. Actually, it is already very rare to find the traditional layout, where employees are “isolated” from each other. Moreover, the traditional layout giving managers privileged positions in order to highlight their difference in hierarchy is quite an overcome concept.
The 21st century will mark the transition to a totally different design and layout of workspace, which will aim to pursue easy interactions among workers and to make them happier, because of the high and positive impact on reputation and productivity.
The workspace concept has five main goals:

  1. Collaboration: office design has to support and help collaboration, and allow even unplanned interactions at any time;
  2. Attraction–development–engagement: workspace should attract and engage the right talents; 89% of employees underline the importance of an attractive workplace, and 42% say they do not have it yet;
  3. Building a brand and culture: workplace has to inspire and communicate the brand culture, it has to reflect the company’s values;
  4. Making the workplace a friendly and healthy place for employees: many companies are now focusing their attention on these aspects in order to gain an emotional, financial and competitive advantage, as some research showed that conversation and humour have lasting positive effects in the way people work;
  5. Optimising space within a building: office costs are typically approx. 10% of the company’s total costs, occupancy rate is 50% in average and 70% in peak moments, so flexible layout and activity-based office concept can reduce the renting costs up to 40%.

To conclude, we can affirm that office space has to be optimised in order to increase engagement and productivity, and reduce costs. From large, open workstation spaces, future office design will split this up into a variety of different optimised spaces, like collaboration rooms, third spaces (location between workstations and formal meeting rooms), pods (an enclosed, quiet space for heads-down work or important meetings, which require a distraction-free environment), and breakout areas. The desk will not be the unit of productivity anymore. The employees’ efficiency will not be measured by the amount of time spent behind their desks, but by the output they produce.

Alessandro Belli, MBA 2001
Head of Tourism Real Estate, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti