5 ways of reinventing your office culture to thrive in the 2020s
As we approach the end of the decade, businesses around the world are presented with a timely opportunity to reflect on how they can capitalize on the arriving wave of young employees. To do so, firms will have to start reinventing their office culture to meet the expectations of these young talents, who will soon make up the majority of employees worldwide.
In this article by Pacific Prime Hong Kong, we will explore 5 ways you can boost your employees’ job performance by reinventing your office culture to thrive in the 2020s.
The rise of Millennials and Generation Z
In the upcoming decade, Millenials (born between 1981-1996) and Gen-Zers (born between 1997-present) will make up the bulk of your workforce. Being born in a completely different period than their predecessors, these youngsters have entirely different expectations when it comes to their company’s office culture.
To understand how you can adapt your office culture to suit these individuals, we must first know what their most common characteristics are.
Millennials and Gen-Zers didn’t only witness the rise of digital technology, they were born in it. This means that unlike their parents, they grew up using digital gadgets like smartphones, laptops, and video games.
A survey in 2017 found that over half of millennials check their smartphones more than 50 times each day, while only a quarter of Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964) do so. For the new generation, digital technology is not just a tool. It’s an extension of themselves. Most Millennials and Gen-Zers admit that they rely on their smartphones for productivity at work.
By constantly being on their smartphones, these individuals are much more tech-savvy than their predecessors. Their multitasking skills are also unrivaled, stemming from their habit of switching between different online applications and platforms throughout the day. However, by doing so, their attention span has shortened when compared to the older generation.
Growing up in the 1990s and living their early adult years in the 2000s, Millennials and Gen-Zers witnessed two major financial crises: the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis and the 2008 Financial Crisis.
Furthermore, Millennials and Gen-Zers are faced with the current financial challenges of increasing living costs coupled with housing problems in urban areas. In Hong Kong, the exponentially high cost of living is well known to many. It is estimated that the vast majority of Hong Kong’s younger population will never be able to buy their own homes in their lifetime, and will have to work until retirement to afford just a small room for themselves.
Witnessing two global economic downturns in their childhoods amid rapidly increasing living costs changes the financial mindset of these young talents. Unlike their parents, they are not risk-takers. Instead, they demand financial stability and continual growth from their employers.
With these two characteristics in mind, let’s explore how businesses can change their office culture to retain Millennials and Gen-Zers while also boosting their productivity.
1. Make offices more spacious
Is your office still plagued by cubicles of the 1980s or enclosed desk walls of the 1990s? If so, your younger employees are likely to feel isolated and demotivated. Why close your employees off from communication when they are inevitably connected online? As we enter the 2020s, Millennial and Gen-Z employees will demand a more spacious work environment that understands their digital lifestyle.
Making your office more spacious doesn’t mean you have to completely undergo an entire office overhaul. Instead, there are small design changes you can make to accommodate the working habits of these young talents.
For example, you can lower desk walls between employees, use more vibrant colors to decorate the office, and have an open workstation in the office for your employees to use during collaborative projects.
These changes will allow the office to feel more like a free working space that encourages both individual and collaborative work, boosting employee engagement and productivity levels.
2. Embrace remote working
Being in the digital era means that it is no longer necessary for many employees to physically be in the office to perform the job functions, and younger employees understand this better than anyone.
When first entering the workforce, many young employees are mystified by why they are required to come into the office on a daily basis, when they can work more productively and conveniently from their living room sofas. Today, more and more Millennials and Gen-Zers will not even consider an employer if a remote work option is not offered, according to SHRM.
While you may still be able to attract young talents to your office and demand that they always remain on-site, doing so will become increasingly harder as we enter the 2020s.
3. Realize that playing and working can co-exist
Patterns of productivity of Millennials and Gen-Zs are unlike their predecessors. Due to their shorter attention span, their productivity throughout the day consists of small spikes followed by some down-time.
To get the most out of your younger employees, who will soon make up the majority of your workforce, your office needs to allow these employees to recharge throughout the entire day. This can mean providing complimentary healthy snacks in the office or implementing flexible working hours so Millennial and Gen-Z employees can take time off when their productivity levels drop.
While this breaks from traditional office settings, businesses will need to adapt to the changing workforce demographics and the new demands that it entails.
4. Create career development sessions
Young employees who are struggling to pay rent will be looking for continued growth in their career. A recent survey found that 21% of millennials in the US say they’ve changed jobs within the past year, which is more than three times the number of non-millennials who report the same.
In Hong Kong, this trend is even clearer. A separate survey found that almost half of all employees in the city are looking to switch jobs for better pay. This is largely because wage growth for these youngsters is not keeping up with the rising costs of living.
For this reason, offering career development and professional skills training sessions to employees can provide them with a sense of direction in their careers, increasing their work engagement level in the office.
5. Implement workplace wellness programs
As the business world becomes more competitive and fast-paced in the digital era, workplace stress and stress related to financial issues are on the rise. In Hong Kong, up to 16% of adolescents suffer from a mental disorder and each year, some 900 suicides occur in the city.
As mental health problems become more recognized in the upcoming decade, wellness programs are becoming the key for businesses to attract and retain young talent.
Workplace wellness programs can address various problems related to the wellbeing of employees, from therapeutic psychological sessions to financial training courses to help reduce financial stress.
However, finding the right employee benefits or workplace wellness program that suits your company can be difficult, given the wide array of options available. This is where Pacific Prime comes in.
As a health insurance broker specializing in expat health insurance, we offer free consultation services to our clients on finding the best corporate health insurance and employee benefits options available in Hong Kong. You can contact our team of experts who will be able to compare medical insurance plans from a wide range of group health insurance companies or visit our website for a free quote today.
In his free time, Phuwit enjoys reading and playing badminton. He also loves a good cup of coffee.
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