ExclusivesThinkingCreating an Engaging Built Environment for Generation Z

Rapid technological advances, globalisation and the rise of social media are amongst the dominating influences that have shaped the mindset of societies true digital natives, Generation Z, says Franki Hall, Founder of Embrace Change.
Content Team4 months ago112 min

Generation Z, born 1995-2010 have grown up in a world dominated by Google, Facebook and Amazon and they are approaching the workforce with high expectations, dreaming of a sophisticated company, oozing in brand experience. However, many of our workplaces aren’t yet Generation Z playgrounds. They are largely customer focussed, operating slow and inefficient systems under dingy lighting and uninspiring work spaces.

It’s now more important than ever to start understanding the demanding expectations, values and behaviours of younger generations to be prepared with responsive strategy to engage and retain top talent in the workplace.

An environment where employees can thrive.

For the very reason Google and Facebook receive recognition for their infrastructure, we tend to believe Generation Z expect a workplace that replicates such companies however, it’s often mistaken that slides, pool tables and candy machines provide the key to Gen Z productivity, which provides the foundation of our built environment strategy.

We must now provide working environments that inspire, motivate and accommodate the various needs of the multi-generational workforce.

Generation Z are entering the workforce expecting an environment that embraces a thriving workplace culture, that energises and empowers them, whilst having optional private spaces where they can feel self-contained to focus on task work. Generation Z are the most customised, personalised generation yet and their preferences can range from working privately, working from home or embracing a sharing culture. To attract, engage and retain young mindsets, we must now provide working environments that inspire, motivate and accommodate the various needs of the multi-generational workforce to create environments that encourage employees to go above and beyond. 

Zoned Areas

To genuinely meet the needs of our multi-generational workforce we need to provide a flexible working area with various zones and the sufficient facilities, resources, space, lighting and equipment that your employees need to perform to their natural best. 

A Peldon Rose study found 57% of Generation Z employees would work best in an environment with break-out areas and quiet spaces, and 81% value social and communal spaces. Create relaxing social areas with pleasing aesthetics, mood lighting and comfy seating areas to encourage the mind to relax and replenish on breaks. Display inspiring graphics, architecture and quirky artwork that reflects your brand experience to enhance brand image and organisational culture. Incorporate areas that encourage collaboration where teams can thrive and finally, respect employee privacy by creating private task and meeting areas. 

Workplace wellbeing

Generation Z are big advocates of a workplace wellbeing programme. Research from the Mental Health Foundation found 14.7% of people in our workforce experience mental health problems and, 12.7% of sick days are attributed to mental health conditions. As influencer media continues to raise awareness of mindfulness and emotional wellbeing, Generation Z employees are expecting leadership to create a working environment with their wellbeing in mind.

According to Peldon Rose, mental health and wellbeing support was valued the most by Generation Z, and 76% said it was important for their employer to promote their mental wellbeing. Leaders should identify the wellbeing needs of their employees and implement strategic initiatives to create healthy environments. Initiatives such as; stress management schemes, relaxation spaces and health and fitness support and resources will assist employees to best manage their mental, wellbeing and physical needs. A workplace where employees feel well, will create energised, motivated and productive working environments.

Show a commitment to a sustainable environment.

Generation Z show higher levels of self-awareness towards climate change issues and are more focussed on taking measures to protect and improve the environment.

Research suggests that although Millennials acknowledge that sustainability is important, Generation Z show higher levels of self-awareness towards climate change issues and are more focussed on taking measures to protect and improve the environment. A study by Cone Communications found 92% of 1000 Gen Z’s said they care about social and environmental issues, and 89% said they’re worried about the health of our planet. To solve this, 94% of Generation Z believe companies should help address urgent environmental issues.

Generation Z are seeds of potential, they just need the right environment to flourish.

Demonstrating your dedication to sustainable practices within your organisation can also improve employee attraction and retention. BRITA Professional surveyed 1000 Gen Z’s and Millennials revealing that 86% said they would stay with a company longer if it reported how it was lowering its impact on the environment. Companies can meet the sustainability goals of Generation Z by; maintaining and upgrading efficient equipment and processes, implement sustainable building design, educate and implement a sustainability plan to improve practice and energy control, provide sustainable drinking bottles and facilities and, provide on-site waste management facilities. You can also demonstrate a further commitment to a sustainable world by incorporating sustainability measures throughout your business operations and supply chain.

Generation Z are seeds of potential, they just need the right environment to flourish. Provide them with the facilities, resources, equipment and training they need to perform to their natural best. Create a place where they feel valued, appreciated, inspired and empowered and, with a built environment strategy that aligns with the goals and characteristics of your multi-generational workforce, you’ll have a better chance of attracting, engaging and retaining top talent within your business.

Find more content on Generation Z and millennials here.


This blog was written by Franki Hall, Founder of Embrace Change, which helps leaders prepare their engagement strategy for their future workforce. To find out more about how to attract, engage and retain your employees, you can contact franki@embracechangetoday.co.uk, or for more insights into Generation Z in the workforce, you can connect up with Franki on LinkedIn.

Franki Hall, Founder of Embrace Change

Content Team

Work in Mind is a content platform designed to give a voice to thinkers, businesses, journalists and regulatory bodies in the field of healthy buildings.

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