On September 8, Kylie Roth, Knoll’s Senior Director of Workplace Research, spoke to the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) Houston Chapter. Delivering a talk on workplace trends based on generational shifts and employee well-being, Roth discussed the evolution of the modern office, using statistical findings to illustrate demographic changes.
At the core of Roth’s argument was the fact that millennials now occupy a third of the labor force and place increased value on collaborative working environments. As a result, office design should be seen as an important business tool for securing, retaining, and ensuring the satisfaction of new talent.
“In the United States, we are in a critical war for talent,” Roth said. “And in order to meet this need, organizations are battling to attract and retain key talent. This trend shows no signs of slowing and in the years ahead, organizations here in the US and abroad may continue to face looming talent shortages and have difficulty hiring right-skilled talent to fill key roles.”
Referencing Knoll’s recently published research on workplace design, Roth presented Immersive Planning as a new model for the contemporary office, one in which versatile spaces take on multiple programs depending on the needs of the day.
“Our research shows that the current talent pool of workers wants an engaging workplace. They want a sense of belonging, to be able to connect with others and a welcome environment,” Roth explained. In order to facilitate this sense of belonging, workplaces should emphasize improvisational, dimensional, and communal spaces. Fluid boundaries and transitional areas, comfortable furniture, and inviting gathering spots all contribute to a pleasing and productive working environment.
“Today’s workplace need to be able to support all workers,” Roth said. “An experience-based workplace that offers built-in flexibility allows users to create the space they need for the task at hand and then adjust it to meet different needs throughout their day.”
The IFMA is the world’s largest international association for facility management professionals, with chapters and events nationwide.