With Baby Boomers leaving the workforce and Millennials pushing in, Raleigh may soon be seeing a new trend in work environments. Instead of the tried and true corner office and cubicle layout, developers may need to look at planning for more open layouts and amenities that evoke an atmosphere of fun and collaboration. Millennials aren’t expecting to climb the corporate ladder and doggedly work their way to that skyscraper corner office with a view of the city—they are more interested in flexible work schedules that allow them to take their kids to school before teleconferencing a client, or walking to one of Raleigh’s many nightlife hotspots to kick back with their co-workers and friends after work. They don’t want their noses glued to the grindstone in relative isolation—they want to work together with their peers, cooperatively solving problems with the benefit of everyone’s strengths, and with the knowledge that—if they feel like it—they can walk down to the company gym and bat around ideas while they jog the indoor track, sip lattes at the café, or play a game of pinball to get their heads clear.
Sound like a crazy new fad? Don’t count on it! This trend has grown tremendous strength nationwide—think about Google’s success with its juice and coffee bars, gyms, scooter-laced hallways, free gourmet cafes, bring your pet policies (with outdoor space for playing catch and walking), and free, in-house child care. Microsoft headquarters has its own shopping mall, pool, pin ball machines, and a soccer field. Apple built employees a huge gym complete with full-sized volleyball and basketball courts, group exercise facilities, and its own physical therapy staff! Clearly, these are REALLY big companies representing the technology field, but they have spent the last several years setting the standard for Millennial-style workspaces, and developers in the Greater Raleigh area would be wise to consider this trend as they move forward.