75.4 million is a pretty big number.
This staggering number represents, as of 2015, the United States’ population of millennials. “Millennials” is the moniker given to the individuals born in the late 80s, 90s, and early 00s.
As a sizable segment of the workforce, millennials are now exerting major influence in the professional realm. More and more organizations are seeking young, digitally-savvy professionals for their ranks – and as a result, millennials are reshaping how business is done. Chief among these changes? A break from the traditional – and sometimes stodgy – workplaces we’ve so long taken for granted.
This is most apparent at today’s leading technology companies, headquartered in West Coast enclaves like San Francisco and Seattle. Gone are the grids of cubicles and pinstriped suits, replaced by open floor plans, untucked shirts, and even luxuries like billiards tables, arcade games, and a beer tap or two.
A workplace peppered with amenities like these would have been unthinkable – perhaps laughable – only a couple decades prior. But baby boomers shouldn’t be so surprised. The driving force behind this trend is all too familiar: Competition for intellectual capital. Now when leading businesses are seeking top talent, a generous bonus or extra week of vacation won’t do the trick. A modern (and lavish) workplace is a necessity, too.
Let’s look at some key examples. (And it’s worth noting one of these two organizations is outside of the tech industry.) The Huffington Post – the New York City-based online media giant – has designated “nap rooms” for employees. Workers are encouraged to take a chunk of time and rest up during busy days. Sound excessive? Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington doesn’t think so. “Arianna: Office Nap Rooms Will Soon Be As Common As Conference Rooms Naps,” reads one news article headline about the amenities.
In reporting this piece, I spoke with a colleague’s son, Kevin, a millennial working for a U.S.-based software company. Kevin notes his company’s offices feature a free snack bar and ping pong table. But Kevin doesn’t use them often – he works from home.
“For a lot of millennials, myself included, the ability to work remotely is the greatest perk of all,” Kevin says. “Modern offices are great – but so is no commute.”
In working from home, Kevin and his fellow millennials may have the best offices of all: Their couch, kitchen, and dog are just a few steps away.