A nationwide survey has revealed that Generation Z workers, aged 18 to 24 place a much higher premium on their work environment than previous generations. As the hiring seasons hots up, up to 65% of Gen Zers believe a fun environment is essential for a good company culture, compared with only 22% of Baby Boomers, aged over 55, valuing fun.
The research, by workplace consultants Peldon Rose, found that the lines between work and play are increasingly blurred for the younger generations, who are entering the workforce with a more challenging set of expectations. Generation Z comprises roughly 32% of the population and is due to surpass Millennials (25 to 34-year-olds) as the largest generation by 2020. With Gen Z candidates entering the workforce in increasing numbers, businesses are compelled to understand what it takes to attract and retain the country’s brightest youngest talent who are demanding more from their workplace environment.
In terms of space, Gen Zers place more importance in the quality of their environments that previous generations, with 81% saying that a well-designed office is important and the same number of respondents thinking social and communal areas are important workplace facilities.
Additionally, Generation Z placed the greatest importance on their employer championing causes such as mental health and wellbeing (76%), diversity (38%) and supporting future generations (49%) – nationally the findings are 72%, 31% and 33% respectively.
“As Generation Z enters the workforce, it is clear that for this demographic the line between work and play is narrowing,” says Jitesh Patel, Chief Executive at Peldon Rose. “As the generation least likely to own their own homes, they are also seeking home comforts in the office environment. They are looking for a well-designed office that is fun, social and helps support their mental health and wellbeing.
The findings seem to confirm trends that have already been observed anecdotally for some time, that younger workers want a more dynamic and varied workspace, with choices about where to work in the office, and options for breakout areas and quiet spaces. The majority of Gen Z employees (57%) think they will work best in a smart working office compared with only a quarter of all employees (26%).
The figures also underscore the need for employers to renovate and reimagine workplaces in order to attract the best up and coming talent. Previous research found that over a fifth of younger workers would turn down a job because of an ‘uninspiring’ workplace.
“This new research reveals that choice is at the heart of Generation Z’s values,” adds Patel. “They want the power to make decisions and value mental health, wellbeing, and diversity. As Gen Z enters the workplace, offices must adapt to their working styles, but not at the expense of other generations. Business leaders must not prioritise any generation’s needs above another. Those businesses that can cater to the needs of each generation will be most successful in boosting productivity and recruiting and retaining the best and brightest from each cohort.”
65% of Generation Zers think a fun environment is essential for a good company culture vs only 22% of Baby Boomers