What will the office of 2025 look like? Planning for the future is always challenging. To ensure that we make the right decisions to fulfil the future requirements of office workers, we need to better understand the demographic cohort who will make up the majority of the labour force in the next ten years.
Terms commonly identified with the Millennial Generation include ‘motivated’, ‘well-educated’ and ‘highly mobile’. Roughly speaking, millennials are the generation of people born after 1980 to around 2000. As they advance in their careers, the impact that this group has on society is increasingly becoming more significant. Think, entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg of social networking platform, Facebook; and Elizabeth Holmes, founder of health care and medical technology company, Theranos. Millennials have been behind some of the major, paradigm-shifting ideas and technological advances over the past decade.
By 2025, millennials are expected to make up 75% of the total workforce globally (Deloitte Millennial Survey January 2014), by which time, the Baby Boomer generation will be well into their retirement. Thanks to the internet and an accelerating rate of globalisation, millennials are developing in a highly connected and fast-paced environment. The constant transfer of new information and communication is what this demographic group have become accustomed to. These technological changes will have major implications for the way we work and the property needs of major corporations.
Dealing with issues such as global recessions and financial crises, gender and economic inequality, terrorism, climate change, and a growing scarcity of natural resources, millennials have generally become more informed, more technologically-proficient, and more socially and environmentally conscious than previous generations. This will instigate a major shift towards energy efficient construction and building operation.
As millennials progress and step into senior, decision-making positions within business, further technological innovations will emerge. Technology is a major enabler and disrupter for businesses. Will there still be a need for the traditional office or will alternative methods of working become more prevalent? Collaborative work will require face-to-face time in the future – information is sticky and a face-to-face medium is still required for information transfer. However, advancements in hologram technology may break down some of these barriers. Commercial building owners and developers need to take into account the changing preferences of the millennial generation and the impact of technology when undertaking redevelopment projects to future-proof their assets, and in turn, their future income stream.
About the author
Jenny Dong is the Senior Research Analyst for JLL in Australia, based in Sydney.