With more than 1.5 million square feet of commercial office space under management, we understand the pivotal role our properties play in shaping the workplace environment. As part of that, Compass Properties also appreciates the unique opportunity we have in helping our tenants attract and retain young talent. By young, we’re talking about Generation Z—those individuals born between 1997 and 2012 and also known as iGen and Post-Millennials. They might be one of the most resourceful generations we’ve ever had and they present possibilities and challenges when it comes to recruiting and engagement.

Considered the first true “digital natives,” these individuals bring to the marketplace an easy familiarity with technology, fresh ideas, high energy levels, a built-in connection with younger consumers, a penchant for the optimum work/life balance, and a strong sense of social responsibility and sustainability. Nurturing the youngest generation in the labor force contributes to a dynamic, diverse, and inclusive company culture; develops a talent pool for future leaders; encourages collective achievement; builds corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives; and enhances one’s reputation as an employer of choice.

Taking into account their unique preferences and priorities, here’s what we as commercial real estate developers and managers believe are important to help Gen Z thrive in work settings:

In scheduling, projects, and career opportunities, Gen Z is looking for options. Equally, they have expectations of work environment flexibility. Spaces designed to adapt to different work styles—including individual, hybrid, remote, professional, informal, and collaborative—aligns with iGen’s affinity for autonomy and mobility, along with their need for variety in the work day. We recognize the need to provide them with layouts that feature open seating areas, private alcoves, brainstorming labs, maker spaces, gaming zones, art studios, exhibition spaces, and even storytelling spaces that foster creativity and innovation. Meeting rooms that allow for in-person and virtual conferences are also important.

Work places which are open 24/7 also appeal to Gen Z’s desire to work around their individual schedules; they buck the traditional 9 to 5 routine.

Technology Integration
Considering their comfort with digital tools, Gen Zers adapt quickly to cutting edge technology. After all, they grew up with the internet and instant online connectivity; mobile is their primary channel for information, communication, and entertainment; and 70% of them would leave their job for better technology. Smart offices align with this tech-savvy nature, so it’s important to offer features such as advanced collaboration tools, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, automation and AI, cloud-based services, biometric access control, real-time ventilation monitoring systems, intelligent meeting rooms, task management apps, and smart lighting systems. By creating technological hubs for Gen Z, we help companies recruit and support young talent for whom state of the art is an expectation.

Convenient Services and Facilities
Gen Z values efficiency and productivity. Work spaces that provide all-encompassing solutions and essential tools are a big draw. Prime locations, robust video conferencing and communication platforms, high-speed internet, printing facilities, kitchen or coffee bars, and access to public transportation and ridesharing services are some of the conveniences (some would say necessities) that appeal to iGen. They provide the time-saving, cost-effective measures Post-Millennials are accustomed to.

Wellness Amenities
Physical and mental well-being are top priorities for this generation; their goal is to achieve the right work/life balance. To help them achieve that, it makes sense to invest in amenities such as biophilic design elements, green areas, ergonomic furniture, ample natural lighting, noise management, and fitness centers. Wellness programs and challenges that foster camaraderie and encourage employees to adopt healthy habits appeal to Gen Z. For them, emotional and mental health support are important in an organization.

Professional development and skill enhancement—key elements for the work/life balance—can be provided with workshops, classes, and guest speakers.  By promoting individual well-being, these amenities, in turn, will contribute to a larger and healthier work environment for everyone.

Community Connection
In general, Gen Z yearns for authenticity, deeper connections, and a greater sense of community. Currently, however, young people aged 16 to 24 feel more lonely than any other age group. To help Post-Millennials, it makes sense to provide them with opportunities to interact, receive support, share common interests, engage in problem solving, fuel creative ingenuity, and, importantly, take a break. Developers and property managers can help Gen Z create bonds by encouraging mentorship programs, organizing networking events, hosting community initiatives, and arranging social activities. For the iGen, it’s about feeling welcomed, valued, included, and connected.

We at Compass Properties create and sustain exceptional working spaces that help our partners succeed. Along with reinforcing their brands and improving employee productivity, we provide our tenants with offices that help recruit young professionals. This commitment to fostering success reflects our dedication to being catalysts for growth and innovation within commercial real estate development and management.

Also See:

Presenting the Future: Top 5 Gen Z Trends to Watch in 2024
5 Ways Gen Z Will Shape Worklife In 2024
20+ Gen Z Statistics For Employers