Gen Z works in – and values the office – more than any other generation and is about to reshape the workplace according to surprising new research.
Linda Trim Linda Trim, Director at Giant Leap, one of SA’s largest workplace design consultancies, said: “Gen Z will represent almost a third of the global workforce by 2025 and will play a big role in shifting attitudes and perceptions.”
Gen Z are people born between 1995-2012.
“It may defy conventional perceptions, but according to a new global research report by Steelcase, a global office furniture company, 54% of Gen Z workers believe the value of the workplace actually increased over the pandemic. This is compared to 42% of Millennials, 30% of Gen X, and 23% of Boomers.“
Steelcase is represented in South Africa by Inspiration Office, a sister company of Giant Leap.
“They are the youngest generation in the workplace now and have grown up in a hyper-connected, diverse world and are challenging traditional structures and values in the workplace.
“But despite being so tech-savvy, Gen Z now places more importance on the office than previous generations. They see making connections, learning and career development in the office as a key to success.
“Interactions with colleagues was the number one reason they gave for wanting to come into the office, outweighing the comforts of working remotely.
“No doubt younger workers felt isolated and missed out on the skills transfer from being in an office while we were all working from home. It was difficult for them to absorb the work culture and get behind a company’s purpose of working via video call,” Trim added.
The report also showed 73% of Gen Z believes space is highly or extremely important to the effectiveness of the company they work for.
When it comes to the office, Gen Z ranked the top three things they want are in order as assigned workspaces, larger individual workspaces and more privacy in individual workspaces.
“Individual spaces in the office will make the biggest impact for Gen Z,” said Trim.
“If you want to motivate Gen Z workers to come to the office even more, having an assigned desk ranks highest according to the research. Dedicated spaces could create the feeling they belong, and more pragmatically, satisfy a need for a place where they can focus best.”
The research also showed that employer values that align with their own and companies’ sustainability initiatives are important to Gen Z; and hence will be critical for talent acquisition and retention in the future.