Millennials are officially the largest generation of the U.S. labor force, and they’re reshaping everything about work – from how it’s defined to where it gets done. The concept of the physical “office” is evolving for sure, but it will never cease to exist, even as flex-time schedules and freelancer gigs become the norm.
The ideals of millennials and beyond are different from those of their parents. They crave community, choices, balance and transparency among other attributes. To reflect this mentality, office space design – from floor plans to what covers the floor – is changing too.
Here’s how we see the “Millennial mindset” translating to commercial carpet:
Classy yet chic. Many of today’s offices are purposefully designed to escape the “being at work” feeling. But less conventional doesn’t necessarily mean radically different when it comes to carpet. Fresh, contemporary twists on the “classics” are often enough to give a space the trendy yet timeless appearance younger workers want. Think large-scale plaid in a bold color. Or inverted tufting to give the classic cut-pile a luxe new look.
Flexible, functional – and fun. Creative aesthetics excite the brain and foster creativity. Pops of color and unique, unexpected elements – like shimmery metallics, varied textures or a splash of stripes – can offer enough of a break from the traditional to be inspirational. (And it looks good!) But even with such artistic elements, neutral palettes and subtle patterns ensure the style is still practical for a variety of spaces, from the open office or conference rooms to the coffee lounge.
Sustainable. More than any other generation, millennials are focused on health and wellness – and that need goes beyond the obvious work/life balance, healthier food choices and more exercise. This generation cares about the health of everything in their environment, including the interior finishes in their homes and offices. Carpet can be pretty and sustainable, created with recycled content, manufactured to meet the most stringent state and industry standards, produced in LEED-certified facilities, among many other eco-responsible qualities.
Millennials and the generations to follow will greatly impact the world of work. Organizations, as employers and product manufacturers, have both a terrific challenge and opportunity to understand and embrace their unique style – in how they work and also what the designs they favor.