Numerous articles point to the many cautions of hiring millennials. Well, here's an opposing view from a Baby Boomer who has worked with and befriended many of those millennials. Perhaps the corporate world sees millennials as a challenge because they dare to live according to their values by following their dreams for a blended work and lifestyle existence free from stress, and live the types of lives baby boomers yearned for but lacked the courage to attain during their working years. If you are ready and willing to see millennials in a positive light, here are some major contributions they have made to the world of work.
Millennials are free spirits who want to enjoy life, not because they are wild or lazy or pure pleasure seekers, but because they have seen and heard the ongoing complaints about restrictive jobs with limited options and growth, and orders passed down from heavy-handed, micromanaging bosses. They have experienced workplaces with deep-seated competitiveness that pitted them against their co-workers and felt the occasional stab in the back from those above who think they have not yet paid their dues to get where they want to be.
Companies have thrown a bone to these youthful workers by offering so-called flextime, which amounts to a day at home to work, as long as they stay in touch to confirm they are working. They have heard and read about the health problems the older generations of workers have suffered, and they are silently screaming, "Not me," and running in the opposite direction. But the direction is not away from working; it is toward working for oneself. A couple of years reporting to a job in a rigid environment loaded with rules designed for the sake of control is enough to motivate anyone to strike out on one's own. The greatest generational difference among millennials and all others is that they are daring enough to prove to all that freedom at work is the answer to all oppression.
Hence, enter the co-working building experience. Co-working buildings are replacing the rigid commercial lease commitments companies had to accept. These new opportunities highlight a fabulously free-spirited combination of personal life and working on one's own terms.
Spacesworks.com, known as SPACES, owned by IWG, is creative, flexible workspace model that is at the top of the market. Every generation in the workforce and every company can now move into an office space that is green, harmoniously designed with a Zen-like environment, and social yet private, as dictated by every individual's needs. SPACES meets every requirement desired by Millennials, and secretly desired by Baby Boomers and all other generations, as well. It is the environment that combines an Eastern philosophy of inner peace, harmony, and creativity with the Western drive for achieving maximum efficiency and profit.
One tour of a SPACES co-working building leaves the typical corporate management bemoaning the costs and commitment that come with standard commercial leasing for office space. SPACES can be commitment-free if a person or company chooses, but once a sole practitioner or established business moves in, they will not want to leave.
SPACES sought an award-winning international design firm to create Zen-like workspaces offering every desirable feature imaginable for employees of every generation, regardless of management level. With 121 locations in 26 countries (38 in the U.S.) tenants, who are referred to as "members," have access to all SPACES locations when they travel.
The most recent co-working buildings have opened in two convenient locations for both commercial and retail business in Chicago, with other co-working buildings in Texas, California, Phoenix, Colorado, Missouri, NY, Virginia, Pennsylvania, DC, Massachusetts, NC, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Tenn.
The concept of workplace memberships rather than tenants offers the ultimate in benefits and conveniences for start-ups, solo entrepreneurs, and new or established businesses alike, with cell phone and internet hook-ups in each office, sound-proof walls with glass doors offering opportunities for social interaction, shared floor receptionists, open kitchens with restaurant-like booths, and one's daily choice for working in an office on any floor with any view. A day in the life of a SAPCES member might be to rent month-to-month in Texas, fly to New York for a client meeting at a SPACES building, then onto DC to renew a previous client, and home to his/her SPACES office in Dallas. This universal membership also allows for booking a meeting room in any location, all that include most services a hotel offers.
Despite the wide use of assigned teams in the corporate world, research by Dr. Tim Welsh, University of Calgary, Faculty of Kinesiology says, "Regardless of their [an employee's] intentions, having an individual working on a different task within your field of vision could be enough to slow down your performance." Where speed and accuracy are required to perform a certain task, one could argue the benefits of a work setting where a person works in isolation, or at least with people doing similar tasks. Walsh says that can remove the involuntary modeling of another's behavior, potentially improving speed and accuracy. Hence, the glass door to every office in the SPACES design allows a worker connection or isolation when needed.
Email life and career coach [email protected] with your workplace questions and experiences. For more information, visit www.lindseyparkernovak.com and for past columns, see www.creators.com/read/At-Work-Lindsey-Novak.