The workplace of the future is almost here. And in many ways, the future is now.
By 2020, Millennials (those born between about 1980 and 2000) are forecast to comprise half of the American workforce, and by 2025, 75 percent of the global workforce. Companies including Ernst & Young and Accenture have already reported that Millennials make up over two thirds of their entire employee base.
As we say goodbye to the Baby Boomer generation, here's how the emerging Millennial demographic will bring about changes to your office:
More workplace tech.
Millennials grew up with technology, mobile apps, and innovative platforms. They're the first ones we call when we have computer and internet problems. So, don't be surprised if your company invests in more devices and technologies as Millennials take over the workforce. Expect to see in-person meetings decline as video conferencing continues become more popular. In a study of Millennial executives, Cisco found that 87 percent believe video has a significant and positive impact on an organization.
Collaboration will be the norm.
Millennials are also experts at using social networks and collaborative tools like Wikipedia to share ideas and innovations. Teamwork is important to them -- a study by IdeaPaint discovered that 74 percent of Millennials prefer to collaborate in small groups, and that 38 percent of Millennials feel that outdated collaboration processes actually damage their company's innovation.
We actually already see this emphasis on teamwork and collaboration in some companies. With the creation of open office layouts, co-workers can easily and frequently interact and share ideas.
Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility.
Speaking to emerging needs for independence and employee/employer trust, company culture will start to bend towards flexibility. According to a Deloitte study, nearly 75 percent of Millennials believe that a "work from home" or "work remotely" policy is important. Time to get that home office ready.
In the coming years and decades, the tools you use at the office will change, and so will workplace culture. The physical layout of your office may transform -- in fact, companies may eliminate offices all together. But have no fear -- change can be a good thing, and it's how every organization progresses. Including yours.