The generation entering into the workforce is changing the face of our work environments.  Those who are now graduating college and entering the workforce did not coop themselves up in their dorm room to study by themselves.  They studied and socialized in one place: the coffee shop.  They did not bring their notebooks to class, but brought their device. They did not take notes, but tweeted.  Oh, and if work required tedium, then you better believe the ear buds were going in. The rising workforce demands that we build elasticity into the design of a space which allows for a balance of focus and “connected” or “play” time.  Innovation often springs from “connected” time.  Changing the workspace allows us to empower a creative workforce, which would otherwise be stifled by an office concept decades old.

McDonalds made the switch.  Have you noticed the disappearance of the red roof and the updated coffee-shop like interior?  When you step inside a new McDonalds, you find yourself looking for the double arches to confirm you are actually in a McDonalds. 21st century hotels have caught on to trends and have responded creatively.  In the past, you’d walk in a lobby of your favorite Holiday Inn and find 2 chairs, a coffee table, a fake tree, and the aroma of chlorine from the pool across the way. That just won’t work these days.  Modern hotels are changing their lobbies to mimic trendy coffee shops.  You’ll find multiple outlets to charge up your devices, spaces for socializing, and coffee-shop style table and chairs so that you can work on your laptop. Marriott Hotels have introduced a new concept, called Workspace On Demand, for in-hotel work spaces that allow people to share space.  These wi-fi enabled spaces offer a transient space for those looking to switch up their normal office routine.

To stay competitive in a global workforce we must learn from and collaborate with each other through socialization and networking.  We must transform the “where we work” to leverage the “how we work.”  What effects would a re-imagined environment have on an organization’s climate and culture?  What about recruiting prospective employees?  You want your prospective employees walking in and searching for the double arches.  You want them walking in and wondering what happened to the chlorine smell.

Image Credit:  The Ace Hotel/Contessanally

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