Use space management software to plan for the Gen Y takeover

by Elizabeth Dukes on May 8, 2013

Use space management software to plan for the Gen Y takeoverFacilities managers have designed workplaces to accommodate Baby Boomers and members of Generation X, but they will soon be joined and replaced by their younger counterparts – Millennials. By 2025, 70 percent of positions in the American workforce will be filled by members of Generation Y – those born in the 80’s and the 90’s. At 75 million strong, the upcoming crop of professionals are expected to bring a new set of expectations to their employers, challenging the status-quo of the workplace.

Re-purpose your real estate

Facility managers must cope with stumbling blocks regarding the way they use their real estate. Unlike their predecessors, Millennials aren’t as dead set on getting into that corner office. They prefer to work collaboratively with their peers in areas that spark creativity and innovation.

Older staff members might scoff at Gen Y’s attachment teamwork approach, which has been coached into younger professionals since the days of organized play groups and sporting events, but FMs might find it helps them achieve their most important goals. Facilities managers are usually looking to improve efficiency and reduce overhead costs. Real estate is one of the most formidable expenses they grapple with, and while it might have been difficult to cut back on square footage with occupants who valued privacy and autonomous space, they are finding ways to shrink their real estate needs and bills.

In fact, many companies are using their space management software to identify moves that can maximize a smaller total of square feet. To attract and retain younger workers, a company based out of Chicago’s suburbs decided to redesign its workplace, according to Facilities Net. Private offices and cubicle walls were replaced with collaborative desk areas. As a result of these changes, the firm managed to reduce furniture costs per employee by 50 percent, from $8,000 to $4,000. Real estate needs per person were also minimized. It used to provide each worker with 185 square feet, but that dropped to 135 square feet thanks to the changes.

Adapt asset plans to technology demands

Facilities managers will also need to cope with Millennials’ reliance on technology for work and entertainment. Having access to cutting-edge devices may become a selling point for companies that want to recruit the most talented young professionals.

Employers may also soon discover that providing employees with free reign to use those devices will also become a bargaining point. A survey by Cisco found that 64 percent of Generation Y members ask about social media policies during interviews and 24 percent said those regulations factor into their decisions about whether they will accept positions.

As such, facilities managers may need better asset tracking software to the location of mobile devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones at all times. They can also used these applications to monitor performance records. With access to data about all assets, FMs can schedule regular maintenance for hardware and software or make necessary repairs that will minimize downtime and guarantee staff members have the tools they need to succeed.

Find ways to maximize retention

Millennials have been told repeatedly that they deserve the best, and they are willing to leave a corporate environment and pursue their own interests if their workplaces do not foster innovation and create opportunities to succeed as individuals. Hiring and training new employees is expensive, so it’s in companies best interest to retain them. Facilities managers need to find ways to engage younger workers by creating dynamic workspaces that feel fresh and invigorating, according to an article by Cam Martson that was published by Learn Com.

“This is a generation that has been told to go out and find a job that makes them happy. Remember that. They are looking for happiness, and if they don’t find it, they will move on … Don’t view that as pointless. Look at their goals and your organization, determine where they mesh, and help your Millennial recruit see the potential,” Martson states in the article.


Elizabeth Dukes

Elizabeth Dukes' pieces highlight the valuable role of the real estate and facility managers play in their organizations. Prior to iOFFICE, Elizabeth was in sales for large facility and office service outsourcing firm.

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