by Ericka Gordon
Your office culture can make or break you in the eyes of millennials. Typically, people spend more time at their office than they do at home during the week, so when accepting a job offer we want to make sure the office is an environment we can enjoy. For Part 2 of my Millennials Speak series I talked with some of my peers to find out what a millennial’s ideal office culture is. This diverse group of millennials come from a variety of professional backgrounds, but there was a consistent tone across the board. Here are the five must haves:
“I love being around a positive environment. I want to be in an office where everyone gets along, and can enjoy each other’s company. We'll be spending most of our time together!”
Because we spend so much time at the office we want it to be a place full of happy feelings and positive energy. Now, we’re not so naïve that we believe everyone is going to like everyone and always get along, but that doesn’t mean it’s not something the workplace should aspire to. The office is our home away from home. Home is a term a lot of people may associate with family, and millennials are no different. Several millennials I spoke with mentioned family when I asked them to describe their ideal office culture. These are some of their exact quotes:
“The people I work with are family. If it wasn't for outside social events and gatherings, I don't believe our staff would work as well together. We think of each as family, which allows for strong teamwork. It's all about positive work environment!! Jokes, laughs, and smiling faces are extremely important!!”
“I like the family environment where everyone knows everyone.”
“My ideal office culture is like a family. We all want the best for each other, we’ve got each other’s’ backs, and we’re not afraid to tell it how it is.”
Open in all aspects
Another thing millennials look for in their office is an open environment. Openness represents freedom and that’s really all we want—the freedom to be who we are in the workplace.
“Open in all aspects. Open communication and office layout.”
If we had our way no working-class citizen would ever have to lay eyes on a cubicle again. Our generation is all about being connected, and cubicles just aren’t conducive to that type of work environment.
While raving about how her current office is her ideal office culture, one woman I spoke with had this to say:
“We don’t have any specific dress code, we get to have all the relaxed time we want as long as we all get our work done. We are very much in charge of ourselves and there is no micromanaging.”
An expectation of growth
“Allow room for growth and continued learning.”
A word that popped up a lot throughout my research was growth. An office that implements an expectation of growth in its culture is very important to millennials. We want to know that our professional growth matters just as much to you as it does to us.
“Provide opportunities for professional and personal growth.”
“Show that there is job security at that company. Also present opportunities in growing with the company.”
“… also provide incentives, like conferences to help you grow in your career.”
“Understand the importance of a work-life balance, encourage employees to take vacation ... basically, demonstrate that the company cares for its employees, because it knows that without them the company would not be able to operate.”
We live in a time where working from home is a viable option thanks to all this fancy technology. As a freelance writer my home is my office, but I know a lot of people (my dad for instance) who occasionally work from home. The world won’t come to an end if your employees don’t come into the office every single day. A friend of mine works at a company that allows him to work from home two days out of the week. TWO. That’s half of the week. And we’re not saying give us endless amounts of vacation. We’ll still work while we’re at home. Just loosen the reins a little bit, you know … take a chill pill.
“Most of all I'd love to see diversity”
In case you’ve been living under a rock or something for the past few years I decided to include this one even though it seems like a no-brainer to me. Millennials live and breathe diversity, so it should come as no surprise that we want it in our workplace as well. And we don’t just mean diverse races either.
“… a culture that appreciates diversity in its employees and the different views that each individual brings to the table.”
“An office with diverse culture is ideal to me. I believe being able to learn from someone who comes from a different culture/lifestyle can help me grow as an individual, which in return makes me more diverse and helps me grow as an employee.”
Now that we’ve heard from the millennials let’s switch things up. Stay tuned for next month’s column where I’ll share tips from Gen Xers and baby boomers on how they manage their millennial employees.