Contract - June 2011 - (Page 98)

process multigenerational workplace Keys to creating a work environment that appeals to Millennials without alienating Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers By Primo Orpilla & Verda Alexander, co-founders of studio o+a designing the A company tosses out its cubicles, tears down the perimeter private offices, and switches to an open plan with benching. The younger employees happily work away, with headphones on when they need to concentrate on solo work. The older employees miss their big individual workstations and the visual and acoustic privacy their cubicles gave them. But that’s the price of progress. Or is it? Many companies are seeking to “reset” themselves and strike out in a new direction, and often the first step they take is to change the physical environment. Seas of cubicles are out, now that companies have recognized the value of encouraging collaboration and creativity. But the transition has to be navigated carefully, as each generation has its own work style. Members of the millennial generation, now in their 20s, were practically born with an iPod in their hands: They are highly tech-savvy, and their sense of what a workplace is comes from the online photos they’ve seen of Facebook’s and Twitter’s offices. The younger the employees, the easier they find it to thrive in highly flexible, collaborative work environments. But the workforce still is tremendously diverse, with members of Generation X, the Baby Boomers, and the so-called “traditionalists”—those over 65. Designing a workplace that works for everybody is essential for a happy, productive company. Design Specific to the Culture Part of the solution is to make sure the new design is specific to the culture of the company so that the workplace clearly conveys the firm’s values—not just to its clients but also to its employees. This has cross-generational appeal, and to accomplish such a design requires designers to really listen to their clients in order to understand the company and identify where they want to go with their space—and what they want it to communicate. At DreamHost in Brea, Calif., designed by studio o+a, the break room is more than a place to relax; it’s a lab for creative thinking (left). At the center of Dreamhost’s open office configuration, an enclosed “black box” (above) provides a space for spontaneous get-togethers. (Photos by Jasper Sanidad.) 98 contract june 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - June 2011

Contract - June 2011
Table of Contents
Publisher’s Letter
Exhibition: Neocon® Preview
Focus: Right in Tune
Focus: Formed to Function
Materials: Carbon Connexion
Practice: Scenario Planning
Blazing a Trail
Perfectly Palatable
Leap of Faith
Details, Details
Dollars and Sense
Family Style
Trees & Terminals
Designers Rate: Milan Furniture Fair
Essay: Building Blocks of a Design Career
Process: Designing the Multigenerational Workplace
Ad Index

Contract - June 2011