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4 Things Young Professionals Want In Today's Office Environment


Companies today are competing for top talent by investing in office designs and offering unique amenities that will appeal to young professionals.

Millennials make up one-third of the workforce today (with Generation Xers and Baby Boomers making up the other two-thirds), but a tight labor market and low unemployment levels are making it increasingly difficult for companies to find qualified talent.

Below are four things young professionals are looking for in today’s office environment, according to CBRE's U.S. Market Outlook report.

Activity-Based Design


A term coined by the Dutch author of “The Demise of the Office,” Erik Veldhoen, activity-based design, also known as the “musical chairs” of office design, allows workers to choose from an array of seating options and to customize their workplace on demand. Instead of the one-size-fits-all model of the past that required one to sit in the same cubicle for eight-plus hours a day, employers are providing an array of options to appeal to employees' needs, including both open and private workspaces, coffee shops and meeting rooms. Some are even shifting in favor of agile-based working, which gives employees flexibility to work from home or off-site as long as their tasks are completed.

Private vs. Open Space

The co-working environment once was used predominantly by startups or freelancers who worked mostly out of their homes, but this has shifted drastically. Now growing companies are choosing these spaces over traditional and long-term leasing options.

Though in many cases, rather than transitioning into full co-working spaces, companies are integrating some of the design aspects that have made co-working so popular, such as including more open-space floor plans and providing a variety of workspaces for employees to use. It is important to note that private office space is still key to modern office design. CBRE research revealed that though Millennials do favor open plan, creative office environments — like those of most tech companies — 42% of the Millennials surveyed in CBRE’s Millennial Live/Work/Play report said they want a private office.

Wellness Experiences


Companies today are aiming to improve employees’ personal and professional well-being. People look to their employers to incorporate wellness and health experiences into design, such as access to green space like Amazon’s giant orbs, rooftop gardens and running trails. Almost 40% of the CRE executives surveyed by CBRE said they’re beginning to pilot fitness and well-being amenities into their businesses. This is no longer an afterthought for companies; some executives are considering health and wellness experiences as early in the process as site selection.

Tech Advancements And Data Collection

The growth of tech companies continues to drive demand in office real estate, and technological advancements are allowing occupiers to make better use of their real estate. Rising occupier-related apps provide data that allows executives to note how employees are using the workplace and what adjustments can be made to improve the workplace environment and to use the space more efficiently.