A crucial insight that is true for all Millennials, is that they are a highly misunderstood collective of individuals, right from the basic classification itself. The term Millennials in itself is immensely contested- while some sources cap the age group to those born till 1995, others believe it to be until the year 2000.
The important point to note here is that most of the millennials form about half of the workforce in organizations globally and they most certainly will be heading these organizations in the future. And this is exactly why the Commercial Real Estate market needs to understand how millennials work and behave in relation to their surroundings to help create workplaces that promote productivity and efficiency.
Two factors responsible for defining the Millennial behavior are technology and economy. With a purchasing power hitherto unseen in older population, the millennials as a group are prized for keeping the global economy moving. They are also negatively labeled at the workplace more than any other generation.
Let’s look at some the most common MYTHS that surround millennials generation with respect to Commercial Real Estate.
MYTH 1: The “Urbanists”
Most companies and markets are under the misconception that millennials prefer to migrate and settle in big cities. But research suggests differently. Studies by ULI have shown that 60% of the millennials intend to live in single-family homes in suburban areas. Another assumption is that they prefer to not own homes, but the truth is far from it- home ownership happens later in life.
This means office spaces in semi-urban spaces cannot be written off as employees with families prefer to work closer to home. Similarly, as these locations translate into attractive catchment areas, retail companies can plan strategic expansion at these affordable locations.
MYTH 2: Millennials are lazy workers
Millennials prefer to work smart rather than plow through. They are always exploring and inventing new frameworks and processes that cut down on labor and increase efficiency. Productivity and performance are key skills that millennials favor over intense hard work with the same result. This is why people consider millennials lazy,since they don’t seem to be putting enough man hours into their office work.
With exposure to technology and smart devices that keep them constantly connected, millennials don’t see the need to stick to the standard 9 to 5 schedule. Unless physical presence is mandatory, they see no point in working at a desk being confined to a desk/cubicle at all times.
CRE professionals should understand the new dynamics of the workforce and create workstations that cater to these specific needs. The current trend of Flexi desk (fluid employee space management), work-from-home options and other aspects, all find their roots in the changing composition of the workforce and in future too, smart solutions at workplace will cater to the needs of the workforce
MYTH 3: Millennials job hop too often
Millennials are thought to change their jobs once every 12 - 18 months whereas the truth is the exact opposite. With stagnating payslips and reduced growth prospects with each passing year, it is true millennials change jobs to get better incentives and higher salaries. But the same trend has been in effect for most 20-year-olds throughout the business industry over the years. The change is in the narrative not in the trend.
MYTH 4: Millennials are not motivated to work
The truth is that millennials are more motivated than other generations. They are just of the opinion that jobs should not just be a means of livelihood, but a meaningful effort that is fulfilling to them at a personal level. Millennials are willing to work for a job that matters to them. Freelancing and remote working have given the new generation endless employment opportunities to earn and make a living.
All studies until now, suggest that millennials are young and behave like how young people at work have always worked before. The persona of the entitled, socially aware yet personally distant millennial is incorrect and these myths, have added to the current perception of the generation, one of the most dominant driving force of the economy. From a workplace perspective, understanding the generation, will only help address the needs of the generation and help create a workplace that fosters greater satisfaction and productivity.