Case Studies

Are our buildings cool enough? 4 ways to win over Gen Y

Equiem Marketing
January 11, 2018

At some point in the journey of every business, there comes a time to accept the inevitable: the youth is joining the workforce. Baby boomers are retiring and Gen Y (born 1980 - 1995) is now the largest population group in many countries. In fact, by 2025, around 75% of the global workforce will be comprised of millennials.

So, whether you’re looking to fill vacant office spaces or recruit new employees, you’re going to have to start marketing your work environment to the future of the commercial world: today’s youth.

The current population of millennials is often touted as passionate, innovative, ethics-driven and revolutionary - and to win this younger war for talent requires innovative workplaces and policies in line with their demands.

1. The race for space: Build better environments

In a key study on commercial real estate design trends, JLL notes that “one of the biggest factors in attracting young competitive talent and retaining happy and productive employees is having an appealing space that works.”

In fact, 88% of millennials prefer collaborative work environments over competitive ones. This speaks to a range of considerations, including:

  • exclusive building amenities (better parking availability, end-of-trip facilities and parcel lockers);
  • office layout design (hot desks and standing desks in open plan spaces continue to rule the roost);
  • community areas and innovative additions (chill zones and green spaces);
  • and co-working spaces are undoubtedly a drawcard – or at least spaces that nurture a sense of community and collaboration within teams, companies and even  the building as a whole.

2. We live in a world of instant gratification: Getting tech-smart is key

There are currently more mobile phones than humans in the world. So, while digitising and becoming mobile-first may be old news, it’s intrinsically vital to attracting young tenants. We’re living in an on-demand world where we get what we want when we want it - be it through Uber, AirBnB, Spotify, UberEATS or more.

Thanks to the ever-increasing speed of the internet, the availability of information at our fingertips and the demand for instant reward, millennials are also driving a larger tech revolution in commercial real estate: one of immediacy. The Gen Y cohort love on-demand services that provide convenience, easy access and smooth operations. Conversations need to happen now, news must be readily available, good work needs immediate recognition, and feedback must be promptly heard.

Smart tech plays a massive role in meeting these needs. For example:

  • we can automate hot desk schedules and real-time office bookings with platforms like Nexudus;
  • or streamline the tenant experience of searching for commercial real estate with platforms like Jagonal;
  • and Equiem allows tenants, employees and landlords to interact, feedback and network at the click of a button – integrated with a team of onsite staff who help the building community quickly tackle their queries and tasks on the ground.  

3. Sustainability for a sustainable future

JLL also notes that “sustainability is not a trend, it’s here for good for the betterment and enjoyment of all of us.” The younger generation is perhaps more vocal about environmental causes – after all, they’re the ones who will be raising their children in our planet’s future – but sustainability should be a key consideration when attracting any sort of tenant talent.

This includes nurturing employee demands for sustainable commuting mediums – for example, better bike storage facilities, or changing rooms and lockers for use after walking to work. It also includes the potential for green building standards, renewable energy sources, carbon offsets, smart monitoring technologies and progressive waste management policies.

4. The new WWW: Wellness, Work-life balance and Walking meetings

Pushing the status quo is a pretty standard approach to millennial problem-solving techniques and creating a working environment that constantly inspires and engages, even in little ways, is key.

Professional development is a major part of this. In fact, millennials make up one of the most highly educated population groups in some countries, and won’t stop learning once they’re in a job. In fact, they’re more likely to change careers or leave a job if they’re not being challenged and developed. Money has surprisingly as much to do with employee satisfaction as workplace culture and positive change does.

Studies show that 64% of millennials see making the world a better place as a major priority. Some other outcomes of this drive for change are:

  • better policies (paternity and maternity leave protocols, remote work policies and stress-reduction solutions);
  • a constant attempt to keep things exciting and human (for example, better use of the communal outdoor spaces with sporting events, experiential brand activations and pop up food and beverage options.);
  • better focus on health and wellness, with wellbeing programs, mental health awareness and room for integrating exercise into their office hours;
  • flexibility, including the opportunity to work remotely or leave the office to go to an appointment – a whopping 74% of millennials agree;
  • inclusivity and equality at all levels - including better harassment protocols, equal pay, equal opportunities for minority groups.

Goodbye, good old days

Soon, Gen Y will be making the decisions – not just dictating the underlying demands – and we need to make sure we’re on the right side of the industry when that happens.

Integrating smart technologies that enable immediacy, focusing on tenant wellbeing, heroing sustainability and revolutionising our workspaces are fine ways to learn how to attract tenants who aren’t going to retire tomorrow.

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