How to plan events and amenities for a mix of generations
Updated: Aug 10
As teams in some parts of the world get back to the office, people who've only just begun to get used to working from home are going to find themselves back in a space they only just left. Some things might be easier, as workers rejoice in face-to-face communication and all the free coffee they can dream of. But some things may be more difficult, too. People will remember some of the stresses of working in close proximity to a large group of other people, particularly people who may have different work styles or preferences in terms of environment.
Good building culture is exciting, identifiable, but applicable to everyone.
The reality is that offices often collect people spread over multiple different generations. According to a data from the Pew Research Center, the modern U.S. labor force as of 2015 was composed of five generations: a small number of the Silent Generation, born between the late 1920s and 1945, a small but rapidly growing number of the Post-Millennial, or Gen Z generation, and big chunks (29%, 34% and 34% respectively) of Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials. Each of these generational cohorts has different goals, perspectives and preferences, so managers should work to keep them in mind when planning out spaces and amenities.
Know your tenants.
The workforce might be varied, but across countries, industries and offices things will be very different from property to property. You owe it to your tenants to understand what kind of people you're dealing with.
How to find out what sort of people your tenant companies are composed of? Well, you could simply ask but many may be resistant to share information on their workers. Instead, do some fieldwork. Spend time in your office lobby during the morning and evening rush hours and observe what sort of people filter in and out.
Don't make too many assumptions, though. Stop people for conversations and ask what kind of events and amenities they'd like to see. And at the same time, keep things accessible—or be aware that you may be marketing to a smaller audience. Coordinating a paintball match could be great fun but expect it to be less attended than a pizza party. That doesn't need to be a bad thing! With Spaceflow's payments functionality, you can charge event attendees for only the things they sign up for.
One other thing: Different generations have different preferences in terms of tech use. That means that you should be providing multiple lines of communication both between tenants and between them and you. Face to face is important, sure, but so are digital platforms as well. There is room for something for everyone.
Keep things varied.
Even if you have a clear image of what your tenants' demographics are, don't assume you know exactly what you want. Sure, young workers may be more interested in things like VR experiences, but people are unique and dynamic and if you assume too much you could wind up out of touch.
So try for different events and amenities. Consider how you can keep new things coming in periodically, and rotate your local partners to favor a variety of different food or activity types. When in doubt, err on the side of wide applicability. People like cool food-based parties, movies, and art. Make the most of it!
Every event, amenity and perk you plan should be part of an iterative process. Listen to your event attendees and the people that use your services. If they're at the party you're throwing for the building, ask them when they're grabbing food or a drink, or give them a quick survey on the way out...or via your tenant experience app's newsfeed functionality.
Remember that at all times, you're working towards building a culture for your building. That culture may mean different things to different people, so keep them in mind when you're planning everything from your design and common area features to your pattern of events on-site. Don't forget, good building culture is exciting, identifiable, but applicable to everyone.
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