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Gen Zs vs Millenials at Work & Their Impact On CRE

Gen Zs vs Millenials at Work (and What That Means for CRE)

The workforce is always changing – changing in the ways we work, where we work, and who we work with. And with each new generation that enters the workforce, a new set of expectations comes along with them. As Gen Z begins to enter corporate America, we’ll see even more changes to how and where work gets done, which also has implications for commercial real estate.

Gen Zs (those born in the mid-1990s and beyond) are beginning to take their places at working desks around the world. Born in the age of technology, this generation doesn’t know a world without smart phones and social media, but what does that mean about their expectations in the workplace?

  1. Gen Zs believe in the “do it yourself” mentality – While Millennials tend to prefer collaborating on tasks, the next generation is more independent when it comes to work tasks and prefers to take the job into their own hands. This may also be because of a more competitive drive to succeed individually. While open-concept work spaces have become more commonplace in commercial real estate, Gen Zs prefer to have their own workstation rather than share with someone else.
  2. A penchant towards face-to-face conversation – While it seems counter-intuitive having grown up in a digital-only world, this young generation of workers is inclined to communicate face-to-face with colleagues, perhaps in rebellion to (or to strike the right balance) with their Millennial superiors. For commercial real estate, this may mean also striking the right balance between communal meeting rooms and private work spaces.
  3. A new view on learning and education – A significant amount of Millennials are carrying around college debt, and for many of them that also means carrying around a significant amount of regret. Gen Zs feel that impact and are reconsidering the best ways for them to learn, which may also include more on-the-job training. It may also influence their career path within a company, as role-hopping vs. job hopping may be more common with this generation.

As corporate workspaces evolve, understanding what the next generation brings to the table is insightful for commercial real estate professionals. Keeping an eye on trends and work style preferences are a few factors that help determine where the market is headed.