Millennials make up more than a third of American workers today. And members of Gen Z appear to be making their way into the workforce as well.
The entrance of younger generations entering the workplace forces employers to make adjustments. So say hello to multigenerational office space. You’ll especially see differences when it comes to the use of technology. Members of every generation possess a wide range of technology expertise. But young people have grown up surrounded by digital devices and platforms. So they’ve become used to the ease and functionality of high tech tools.
And this challenges businesses to introduce this type of tech. Fortunately, done right this new technology brings a wide range of benefits. And it avoids alienating more established workers. But don’t go right from a basic office to a “smart” office with tons of complicated gadgets and processes. Otherwise you might end up with unsatisfied team members. Or you may see low adoption rates for those particular items.
Multigenerational Office Space
So how do you create a multigenerational office space with tech tools that work for every generation? Each workplace will look a bit different depending on the tools and functions that are needed to complete specific tasks. But there are a couple of basic tenants to keep in mind as you adopt new tech and bring new tools or processes into your workplace.
Integrate Technology They Already Use
From Baby Boomers to Gen Z, pretty much everyone in your workplace probably has access to a smartphone. This is usually a good place to start when it comes to bringing in new technology. If there’s something that can easily integrate with employees’ phones, it might appeal to people from every generation.
For example, if you’re looking for a new security or access control system for your office, you might consider one that works with a smartphone app, like Openpath. The access control system works with existing security systems or on its own to provide security solutions for offices and data centers.
Kieran Hannon, CMO of Openpath said in a phone interview with Small Business Trends, “Everyone already has a mobile device, which is basically a super computer that fits in your pocket. So when it comes to authentication, that’s really the most convenient way to deliver it.”
Access control is just one example of where mobile devices can come in handy. You can also use mobile apps or tools for things like team collaboration, printing, lighting and climate control.
Study the User Experience
Of course, simply using mobile apps or tools that are available on a smartphone or computer that your entire team has access to isn’t always enough to make everyone happy. The experience also has to be seamless.
In the example of Openpath, the app actually works in the background. So you don’t actually need to open the app or do anything extra to gain access to your office or specific areas. As long as the app is installed on your phone and you’ve given your credentials in the past, you can simply wave it in front of the door like a key card or continue having your phone or text conversation as you pass through. The lack of extra steps makes it more appealing for those who might not want to constantly fiddle with different apps.
Hannon says, “In another situation where you use a mobile app for access control, you’d need to find your phone, unlock your phone, find the app, open the app, find the door, unlock the door. It might not seem like much until you break it down. But even small extra steps can impact the user experience and how employees view those processes.”
Finally, it may also help to offer a couple of options that employees can choose from when it comes to technology. In the access control example, you might offer employees the ability to enter their credentials using a smartphone app, or opt for a traditional key card or code if they prefer. Some employees who are used to doing things in a certain way might simply prefer to keep their routine the same.
In another example, you might offer mobile printing options around your office for employees who are constantly on the go. But you can still have those printers set up to print documents from office computers in a more traditional sense.
Technology and the Multigenerational Office Space
Technology can be a major asset to businesses. It often allows for more efficient processes and gives business owners more control and data to work with. But if your team isn’t comfortable using the tools you supply, it can lead to mistakes or morale issues at work. Rather than push a specific tool on people, it may help to introduce tech gradually or on an optional basis. You can also gather input from your team about the tech tools they’d like to see or how the experience with your existing office tech can improve.
It is about knowing who your employees are and designing an office that can maximize their productivity.