In the forty years since Schmidt Associates has been designing work spaces, building and business owners have had a lot of new pressures placed on their shoulders, thanks in large part to the ways in which the latest working generations have approached the way they earn a living.
The Rise of the 1099 Economy
The growth of non-employer, or “gig” employment has outpaced the growth of traditional payroll employment in most major US cities for the past few years. The types of jobs in which people are earning income are twofold. The first is contract work and common freelancing jobs. The second, time or task-sharing enabled by new technology. You might recognize this kind of non-employer income by brand names like Uber or Airbnb.
According to Forbes, freelancers make up more than a third of the US workforce. Whether they’re behind the wheel or behind the coffee bar, the attitude that work consists of a single task at a single work station is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Millennials Enter Management
In 2013, there were more Millennials in the workplace than Baby Boomers. By 2016, they were the plurality of the workforce, surpassing Gen Xers. More and more Millennials will enter the upper echelons of management as they head into their forties in the next six to ten years, and they’re bringing their outlook on work to the workplace with them.
The first generation to grow up with the Internet, Millennials don’t think about how to fit technology or flexibility into their spaces, they assume it will exist.
What Does This Mean For Design?
Everywhere’s an office. For dedicated office spaces, the amenities and comforts of home or the coffee shop don’t seem out of place, because those places are offices too. For residential design, carving out the space for the home office isn’t just for a minority of freelance authors or artists. Nearly every job is blurring the home/work lines and at some point, that home office space will be put into use. For retail, it means accommodating with compact yet comfortable places that people want to work in, but maximizing space for low turnover.
These are the kinds of design challenges that we love to help solve at Schmidt Associates. We work with our client owners to find all the requirements and make incredible spaces for people to work in.