Millennials are changing the way we work. They've changed the office market for good. Jean-Philippe Charon, Head of Agency at Knight Frank, gave us his take on the office market of today and the present.
How Millennials disrupt the office market.
We’ve heard it ad nauseam: Millennials are petulant, spoilt brats with little patience and even less moderation. They supposedly want everything and more, and they want it now.
Not true at all of course. But when it comes to work, Millennials have been known to want an inspiring job that matches their values, that doesn’t interfere with their private lives, and allows them to thrive. Above all they want flexibility. They want to be able to work when they want and where they want.
How do these demands shape the office market? Jean-Philippe Charon, Head of Agency at Knight Frank joined us at Realty 2018 to share his take on this evolution.
Work-life balance: a far-fetched dream for some, a necessity for Millennials.
“Millennials value work-life balance. A lot. Studies show that they care more about work-life balance than career advancement.” Contrary to popular belief, their willingness to work hard, long hours hasn’t dwindled compared to previous generations. “On the contrary: they don’t mind buckling down as long as they have the possibility to choose when and where they do so."
Work-life balance aside, Millennials want to take pride in their workplace. They want enticing, awe-inspiring workspaces, with high levels of “Instagrammability”. #officelife
These wants have two major implications for employers:
Location, Location, Location… and Mobility.
“The first question companies ask me when inquiring about offices is: ‘where is our competition located’. Employers realize that in order to attract new talent, they need an office that is easily accessible. Mobility is a real issue for Millennials.”, Charon explains. “Long commutes to work aren’t an option for the young folk. They want to work close to home, close to their favourite café, close to their crossfit box.”
On top of that they have certain demands when it comes to the facilities itself. “There’s a trend in the office market where companies are willing to pay up for an office space that sometimes exceeds their practical needs. Employers do this to meet the wants of new talent,” according to Charon. Millennials want to take pride in where they work. They want their work environment to be “epic”. Technological facilities aside, there’s an increasing desire for secondary services like laundry services, yoga classes, sports facilities. And what Millennial wants, Millennial gets.
Increasing demand for flexibility on the office market.
Flexibility is a major career feature for Millennials. Flexible hours aside, they want to be able to work from locations outside of their employer’s primary site. This phenomenon is quite new in Belgium, but is already a given in the United States. For instance, Google and Facebook both have their HQs in Silicon Valley, but have a secondary site in nearby San Francisco.
With the advancements in technology, working remotely is a simple solution. According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2017, allowing an employee to work remotely is linked to higher levels of loyalty and productivity. These working arrangements also enhance personal well-being, health and happiness.
If these conditions aren’t met, it’ll prove hard to attract the talent you’re looking for.
How does this affect the employers in their way of managing offices spaces? Well, the flexible nature of employees seeps through all levels of most companies and eventually reaches the upper echelon of an organisation.
“With an increasing number of employees working remotely and due to the fact that more and more companies are working toward optimising their office costs, an employer’s needs has changed overtime: they want flexibility too. This has lead to an increase in demand for shorter leases or lenient breach of contract clauses. These wishes impact a landlord's bottom line. Short term leases, mean a decreasing revenue. Because of that dichotomy a lot of office spaces remain unattended.”
Workero to the rescue
"Herein lies Workero’s added value", according to Charon. "The platform allows for all parties to have their cake and eat it:
Millennials will be able to choose where they work, on the primary site or in an office owned by another company. They’ll get access to a new environment that encourages co-creation and knowledge sharing.
“Using the platform allows employers to kill two birds with one stone. Financially, it is so much cheaper to create a secondary location. Companies just pay as they go and avoid having to sign long-term leases. They also get a fresh work environment in return for their investment, which allows their employees to flourish in the inspiring setting they’ve been craving for. Huge advantage in the war on talent.”
"On top of that, they get happy, motivated and therefore loyal employees in return who have acquired knowledge and been inspired by their new setting. So make that 3 birds."