4 Articles that Demonstrate Our Obsession with the Millennial Workplace

Kaylas Work Blog
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Kayla Hammersmith
March 22, 2016

Millennials. I figure by starting this post with this buzzword, people will be hooked. After all, I’ll click on pretty much any headline that includes the word “millennial”—even if the rational part of my brain knows that it’s clickbait and I’ll have to click through approximately seventy-six slides just to find out what simple dinner recipes only twentysomethings will make.

Countless articles discuss how the modern workplace is changing now that millennials will soon make up the majority of the workforce. According to Jacob Morgan, host of the Forbes podcast The Future of Work, millennials are expected to make up to 75% of the workforce by 2025.

 

What is the Millennial Workplace?

I wish I could tell you where to look to get the story straight on what the millennial workplace will really look like. After all, not every office will have hoverboards—right? The thing is, the story is still being written. There is no singular path to the modern workplace.

With the growth of the popular coworking organization WeWork and increasingly common benefits packages that include unlimited vacation time and work-from-home days (like ours!), there are some key traits central to what millennials value in their jobs. Still, it’s not all about ping-pong tables and working in your pajamas.

Here are some articles to help you better understand how the millennial office might look—and how people talk about the millennial office.

 

1) “Work From Anywhere” Week

Mike Del Ponte, the CEO of Soma (arguably the hippest water filter company around), recently introduced a new benefit for his employees. For one week every quarter, they can work from anywhere in the world. For Del Ponte, “creativity and productivity thrive in uninterrupted time.” This Fast Company article explains why this new Soma policy could be extremely beneficial for other companies, too.

“Work From Anywhere” Week (WFAW) gives employees the freedom to design their own ideal work day, free from meetings, phone calls, and other distractions common in an office environment. However, Del Ponte doesn’t believe in the dichotomy of working remotely vs. working in an office. Teams need to collaborate and work together in person; WFAW is just a week, it’s not forever.

By getting an opportunity to leave the office and go *anywhere*, whether it’s to a hometown or across the world, the Soma team found inspiration and new perspectives on their work. Employees even reported that they found it easier to focus and get more work done.

WFAW is the next logical extension to unlimited vacation days and work-from-home days. It’s the perfect blend of the two—it provides flexibility, a respite from the office, and a chance for workers to come back to their desks feeling refreshed. Read the article and find out five insights Soma employees learned about how to make the most of a WFAW.

 

2)  WeWork & WeLive: Will We Live in a WeWorld?

WeWork, a coworking monolith, was recently valued at $16 billion. The company rents office space, breaks the space down into smaller units and rents it out to startups and other small companies that don’t want to commit to a private office space. The story of WeWork founder Adam Neumann and his vision for a “WeWorld” is described in this awesome Fast Company article.  

A typical WeWork space includes spacious tables, ping-pong tables, and an abundance of really cool chairs and light fixtures. New startups can work independently in the space without having to pay a lot of overhead for an office—and they can network and get inspired by their quasi-coworkers.

As the WeWork network grows, Neumann has plans for including software, payroll, banking, training, and other benefits that aren’t characteristic of a typical coworking space. This modern model of a coworking “space,” as opposed to a stringent “office,” could influence other workplaces. It’s innovative, casual, big on human interaction, and offers people a variety of options of where and how to work—but none of the options include a cubicle.

WeWork is also dabbling in communal living. This article outlines the first WeLive co-living space in New York City. With tiny–but hip!–studios available on a month-to-month basis, a laundry room complete with a pool table, and community happy hours, WeLive is the college dorm environment you always dreamed of.

What if the millennial future includes people residing in WeLive and spending their days at WeWork? WeWillSee. (Sorry, I had to do it.)

 

3) When Millennials Run the Workplace (Into the Ground)

The New York Times profiled Mic, a news site vying to be the top source for and by millennials, because it’s a company entirely run by twentysomethings. With an office like a “middle school fraternity house,” complete with hoverboards and free snacks galore (the Perfect Search office regrettably only has the latter), and anecdotes of employees gone wild—or gone millennial–the article aims to shock readers.

Two examples of supposedly “stereotypical” millennial workers caught my eye. One employee pretended to take off work so he could attend a friend’s funeral. Then he posted an essay to Medium about his week playing hooky from work and building a treehouse. The essay’s title was “How to Lose Your Mind and Build a Treehouse.” If only he worked at Soma! Then he would work from that treehouse for a week.

Another story of an unprofessional millennial is told by someone a generation above the millennials. She recounts a time when an intern ate a tuna sandwich during a meeting with senior managers. When rebuked, the millennial defended herself by saying that she was told to be herself—and she was hungry.

This article—while endlessly entertaining—is definitely hyperbolic. It paints a portrait of a selfish, self-obsessed workplace where every employee’s opinion matters above all else. While some descriptions of Mic’s workspace environment do ring true, like the passionate employees and the intense, fast-paced culture, it’s too pessimistic.

 

4) No, Millennials Won’t Ruin the Workplace

The Guardian’s Dave Schilling wrote a feisty, tongue-in-cheek response to the New York Times’ piece on Mic. His article is a must-read; he takes the nihilistic tone of the NYT article and makes it even more sensational.

According to Schilling, “the ideal millennial workplace doesn’t exist. There’s still plenty of annoying aspects to the modern office: dumb stuff such as responsibilities, meetings, income taxes, a lack of bidets, the inability to light fireworks in the office parking lot whenever life gets too stressful, and performance reviews.”

He pokes fun at those who fear the millennial workplace takeover in the most delightful way: by describing a dramatically exaggerated “millennial” office. After all, who wants to stand up on hoverboards? Hover beds are way better.

Once you’ve had your fill of serious think pieces about how millennials will drastically change the workforce forever, read this article and have a laugh. You deserve it.

 

What do you think the ideal millennial workplace is? Would you like to work from a hover bed? Tweet us at @Perfect_Search. We’re dying to hear your thoughts. 



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Kayla Hammersmith
Senior Manager, Copywriting & Content Strategy

Kayla Hammersmith is a huge fan of Nancy Drew computer games and swears that she can do a very specific impression of Pal, the dog from Arthur. You might often find her snacking on goat cheese as she dreams of one day becoming a cellist savant.

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