October 1, 2023

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Gen Z office happiness—how open workspaces can enable collaboration, autonomy and mental health

Breaking traditional hierarchies and fostering inclusivity

Gen Zers don’t want to be tucked away in a cubicle on floor 7—three floors away from senior management, with the only chance they have to network when they are lucky enough to bump into someone in the elevator during a bathroom break.

This generation desires a workspace that doesn’t abide by traditional hierarchical norms. Yes, there should still be a company CEO. But when upper management is approachable and down to earth, it can break the divide between levels and promote a culture of mutual respect. Implementing opportunities for employees in the office to mingle with all levels of management, like a mood board-making social or movie night, not only encourages networking but also makes the space for it to happen.

Mitigating burnout and embracing autonomy

Gen Zers worry especially about burnout, and companies can incorporate workspace elements that help mitigate it before it happens. Amenities such as relaxation areas; comfy, quiet zones; and a plant or nature room can maximize well-being and promote a sense of mindfulness among employees. Having mental health events, such as self-care days and distress painting nights, can bring employees closer together and encourage openness about mental health, which Gen Zers admire.

The traditional office model has undergone significant shifts due to Gen Z’s concept of open and collaborative workspaces. Companies must make adjustments as this generation continues to join the workforce with unique expectations to establish environments that foster professional development and emotional well-being.

Businesses can usher in a new era of workspaces that resonate with Gen Z’s ideals by taking cues from co-working spaces, promoting diversity and strategically embracing technology. Doing this will ultimately benefit the entire workforce and boost productivity. If employees are happier when waking up and arriving at the office, the work they produce will reflect that.


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