Office and Workplace Design for Gen Z


Gen Z makes up 30% of the global population and is expected to be more than one quarter of the workforce by 2025. In a Generation Lab survey cited by Axios, about 40% of Zoomers (as others have affectionately referred to them) want to return to the office. It's time employers, facility managers, and CRE's take notice to what they want. Gen Z is passionate about social and global issues such as climate change, mental health and wellness, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. They want to work for companies that promote and cultivate a culture that is in line with their values. As the first generation to live their entire lives with access to (or at least the awareness of) the internet and social media platforms, they are more connected to the world around them than previous generations. They know what their options are, they want to work for a company that has the same values they do. Below, we'll explain why office design can be the difference in recruiting and retaining the most diverse and tech-savvy generation.

Happy Gen Z employees in office


Gen Z places value on digital contacts and are experts in staying connected while remote but also have a heightened appreciation for personal relationships. Additionally, they appreciate connections to technologies that aren't available to them while working from home. Because this generation is incredibly tech-proficient, providing access to higher levels of technology is a major benefit to working from the office. 


Beyond social and tech benefits to the office, designs need to be agile, adaptable, and flexible to support all manners of work, from group focus sessions and spirited collaborations to formal board meetings and solo projects that require maximum concentration.

As you could imagine, in terms of workplace design, flexibility can pose challenges. Collaboration on projects, group discussions, and casual conversations among colleagues can be noisy, loud, and distracting to those who are trying to focus independently that day.

At first, you might think private offices or pods on the outside walls with group and collaborative spaces in the middle might be the solution. And maybe it is for some environments. But in another blog, "How Much Does Sound Masking Cost," we explain the cost and effectiveness of various construction and physical methods of achieving privacy. Building walls to create privacy not only creates visually unappealing obstructions, it is much more expensive than using a sound masking system.

A study done by Steelcase Global Research conducted in Fall 2021 found that the five things younger workers say are most important in their office space are:

  1. 75%: Privacy
  2. 68%: Collaboration stations that support virtual work collaboration 
  3. 66%: Stand-alone workstations (Enclaves/Pods)
  4. 66%: Single person enclaves that support remote meetings
  5. 63%: Workstations that can be reserved

Sound masking not only addresses the #1 priority in this survey, it also covers the noise that comes from the #2 priority. By placing sound masking speakers in locations where employees will be working independently, the technology will help to cover the noise and distractions coming from spaces where people are collaborating.

Research shows Gen Z is the most excited about the benefits of working in the office, but the workplace design has to live up to those expectations. Finding the right balance between social and private environments is important. Ensuring those environments cater to their intended purpose is critical. 

For other sound masking related blog articles, CLICK HERE.