Ten years ago, Tuesday afternoons at your office involved strolling to the kitchen, grabbing your favorite office mug from the cupboard, and enjoying a cup of coffee freshly brewed by the office receptionist. Your routine was unenthusiastic, but it did help you finish projects on time and collaborate sharply with team members.
Fast-forward to today, and Tuesday afternoons at your office are probably a lot different. You might stroll to the kitchen and open a bottle of locally crafted beer from the fridge. Or you could spend the last half hour of your lunch break watching SportsCenter on a flat screen in the conference room. You probably don't even have an office or cubicle anymore--you share an open workstation with the "Chief Marketing Rockstar" or "Brand Evangelist."
What in the world happened here?
Google's corporate headquarters complex is decorated with a T. rex skeleton, pink flamingos, a large Lego man, and a kids' slide. Employees can also receive free haircuts and use old-school phone booths. Google claims that outfitting its offices with these amenities brings team members together, but clearly they are aimed at younger employees: Millennials.
Millennials are the largest, most diverse population in the U.S., and the average Millennial is 22 years old. As younger Millennials land their first post-college jobs, more companies across America are following in Google's footsteps and "progressively" Googlefying their offices in hopes of attracting, retaining, and motivating this talent pool.
Google would never admit to this, but the animated open-plan offices it promotes attract scattered stereotypical Millennials who want it all and want it now. They're disrupters, not innovators, literally playing with office footballs like 7-year-olds and talking across workstations. These Millennials bring organizations little hands-on experience and high turnover. Sure these Millennials seem team-oriented, but they're more focused on building friendships outside the office than genuine idea sharing. (Keep in mind: Typical office workers get only 11 minutes between interruptions, and it takes them an average of 25 minutes to return to their task after an interruption. Imagine the stats for employees at Googlefied offices.)
Looking for Millennial team members who will grow within the organization (without the promise of a nap room)? Then please don't Googlefy your office. Although 70 percent of U.S. employees work in open offices, according to design firm Gensler, this environment proves ineffective if the ability to focus is also considered.
Consider hiring older or more mature Millennials. Millennials with responsibilities outside of the office (their own home, spouses, children, or ailing parents) prefer the security a traditional office environment provides. You might consider your office layout antiquated, but some Millennials would consider it an environment that fosters autonomy and accountability.
Lastly, Googlefied office spaces segregate and can even discriminate against other generations. The noise that these office environments produce affects the productivity of Generation X and Baby Boomers. Additionally, because today's economy forces Millennials to work side by side with previous generations in the workplace, legitimately talented Millennials can effectively collaborate across generations in a conventional office environment.
Besides, wouldn't the cross-generational relationships--and mentorships--occurring in your office really make it progressive?