MIKE O’NEILL, PH.D., CPE
MOST AND LEAST
FEATURES BY GENERATION:
WATCH OUT, CUBICLES, THERE’S A NEW OFFICE SPACE IN TOWN.
Mike O’Neill, Ph.D., CPE, from Knoll, Inc., in Milwaukee, discusses how
shifting demographics are altering employees’ expectations of their
work/life experience, thus, radically changing the traditional notion of
For the first time in U.S. history, there are four generations in the
workplace simultaneously, and women comprise the majority of adults
at work. Needless to say, the diversity in the workplace will drive
changes in the layout, functionality and purpose of office space.
While Baby Boomers and Gen Ys have a fundamental understanding
of how to interrelate because their relationship is similar to the parent/
child gap, their expectations and priorities regarding the function of
office space is quite different.
According to O’Neill, “[Baby Boomers] live and die by the formal
meeting and don’t bring their personal lives into work,” while Gen Ys
“find face-to-face meetings confrontational and prefer to have meet-
ings as a way to make decisions, not to share information.”
Ultimately, the future office will provide a unified, engaging work
experience, one that includes functionality but emphasizes security
and social connection.