Office (6)

The imminent arrival of today’s teenagers into the workplace will initiate an office space revival that challenges current trends on home working, according to business communications provider Fuze.

The survey of 2,500 teenagers aged 15 to 18 years reveals that 69% believe it’s important to meet people face to face if you work with them. Around two-thirds (67%) also confirmed they want to work with other people as part of a team.

Offices will need to adapt to these needs of the younger workforce however, and embrace teenagers’ communication preferences, which place high value on in-person communication. Meeting face-to-face is teenagers’ number one way of communicating with friends (34%), followed by chat messaging tools like WhatsApp (17%) and using social media and texting (both 11%).

Traditional office items like the desktop computer and landline telephone have limited appeal. Only 24% of teenagers currently use a landline more than a handful of times a week, compared to 91% that use a smartphone ‘all the time’. Almost three-quarters (74%) of teens use a laptop at least 3-4 times a week, compared to 40% for a desktop computer.

These findings contrast notably with Fuze research carried out with 5,000 workers, which revealed the desktop computer is an essential office item for 82%, and the landline for 55% of those surveyed.

Sharon Francis, head of office experiences at Fuze, said: “The App Generation wants flexibility in how and when they work, but they also place significant importance on face-to-face interaction. Office spaces need to become inspiring environments that promote a sense of community and adapt to the many ways employees want to work, whether they are emailing, taking calls, brainstorming or collaborating on a project.”

Samantha House, project designer at Area Sq, a company that specialises in creating inspiring and collaborative office interiors, said: “We have experienced first-hand the benefits of allowing people to work in flexible, innovative and diverse work environments. Organisations must understand their people, the nature of communication, and the way technology and space impacts our working relationships. This vital insight has to inform the design of a workspace if it’s to become effective in supporting the array of individuals working within an organisation."