Playing For Keeps - Creating a Workspace that Makes Millennials Want to Stay


percent of the total workforce will be millenials by 2020

By 2020, millennials will be 40 percent of the total workforce. This generation, the children of the Baby Boomers, have grown up almost completely in the digital age. Their tech savvy and ability to think differently makes them highly attractive candidates for employers.

At 86 million strong, this group of employees brings a different set of challenges for managers than generations past—one of those being their tendency to job-hop.

According to the Millennial Survey done by Deloitte, nearly 50 percent of the millennial workforce, which includes employees born after 1980, plan to leave their place of work after two years.

While millennials won't give loyalty to just anyone, all hope is not lost. With some attention to the unique workspace needs of millennials, they can be retained.



percent of millenial workforce born after 1980, plan to leave their place of work after two years

As millennials think about their careers, they’re thinking about more than a paycheck. They’re seeking purpose. Work culture is hugely important to millennials. It is second only to what the company does, makes or sells on the list of what they’re looking for in an employer.

Office environment, which ranks fourth on the list, is also very important to this generation. An office environment that fosters a great culture is crucial in retaining the outstanding talent of this generation.

While your website might get millennials in the door, a workspace that embraces their mindset will get them to stay. 



The optimum team size is approximately five people

Millennials like to work with other people. They prefer a collaborative work culture to a competitive one. And the shift to a collaborative work environment can actually be great for your company overall. More collaboration results in more innovation and quicker decision making.

But collaboration doesn’t just happen, it must be designed into the office environment. Creating a collaborative work environment requires a purposeful and strategic design.

While previous generations expected meeting spaces to be formal conference rooms with long tables seating up to 20, millennials prefer flexibility and intimacy. Research suggests the ideal team size is approximately five people, and these smaller meetings require smaller, more collaborative, technology-rich workspaces with multiple seating options.

While teams of millennials tend to be small, there is still a place for those big conference rooms. A variety of workspaces, small and large, casual and formal provide the opportunity for both impromptu and planned meetings.

But creating collaboration spaces is just the first step in driving more effective work and keeping Millennials engaged. In order to nurture a workplace of collaboration, buy-in must come from the top. If leadership doesn’t support the shift from a “me-work” to “we-work” environment, change will be hindered. Organizations with a “if you’re not at your desk, you’re not working” mentality are the ones most likely to fall short of Millennial’s expectations for a collaborative environment.


As digital natives, millennials are shifting expectations for technology in the workplace. This generation is less likely to show up to a meeting with a notepad and pen and more likely to collaborate via tablets and computer screens.

For millennials, connectivity is vital. Power, plug-ins and digital screens must be easy to reach and access. From video conferencing to having the right adapter, millennials work best when technology works for them.


For millennials, the line between work-life and home-life is blurry. Their “work friends” are also their “weekend friends.” In fact, in a study conducted by LinkedIn, 57% of millennials said work friends make them happy. Compare that to baby boomers—nearly half of those surveyed said work friendships don’t impact them.

The right office environment can foster the types of interpersonal relationships millennials crave at work. Just as family and friends often congregate in the kitchen at home, office kitchens are inviting spaces for employees to gather for breaks and meetings. Simply reimagining the break room can open up new possibilities for the space and company.

For example, adding digital screens to a break room or lunch area can create a dual-purpose meeting space. The TVs create new opportunities to use the space to gather, whether for social or work-related meetings.

Creating spaces that encourage casual interactions allow relationships to build and productivity to grow.


Millennials thrive on change. They don’t like to stay on one project or position for very long. In fact, many claim that millennials prefer new jobs or new assignments every 12 to 24 months to stay engaged.  And even beyond preference, changing technologies often dictate the need for new roles and projects. With that in mind, workspaces must be able to adapt to the ebb and flow of changing work environments.

Small changes in workspace options allow millennials to be more productive. In addition to flexible, collaborative spaces with movable digital screens and multiple seating options, individual workspaces should have this same flexibility

Whether it’s offering employees the option of a standing desk or the use of mini-office enclaves for personal calls, flexibility is the name of the game. Movable walls, open floor plans and cubes provide the change and flexibility millennials desire. 


It seems simple, but millennials want to be comfortable. They expect an environment that inspires. Outdoor spaces and plenty of natural light make people happier.

Ron Friedman, PhD and author of “The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace” notes that exposing employees to nature can increase concentration and productivity, improving efficiency up to 12 percent.

While Millennials may be different from generations past, they aren’t unreachable. In fact, the characteristics that make this generation work and think differently than any generation before them are the very same characteristics that can make them invaluable assets to your team.

NewGround is here to help. Call us today and let’s talk about creating a workplace that makes millennials want to stay

Workplace Trends Millenials Will Love

  1. New quiet spaces with lounge chairs and ottomans and dimmable or color-changing mood lighting provide a convenient break from an open plan workspace.
  2. Shifting individual filing systems to a central filing area to free up space for more workstations or collaborative space.
  3. Introducing sit or stand workstations to allow employees to be more comfortable and reduce body pain.
  4. Relocating executive offices to the center of the building to increase natural light.
  5. Opening outdoor terraces or green space to allow employees time outdoors without leaving the campus.