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What kinds of workplaces appeal to Millennials and Generation Z?

According to Dan Drotos, SIOR, senior director of Colliers International in Gainesville, Fla., MGZs prefer flexibility in their work hours and locations:

What kinds of workplaces appeal to millennials and members of Generation Z? This question perplexes business leaders and HR departments around the world as they compete in the so-called “war for talent.” With firsthand knowledge of workplace trends, SIOR office realtors feel less perplexed by this evolution.

Here is what some of these SIORs had to say:

The Open Plan: An Open Question

Many people associate open-plan layouts with younger employees because the trend gained momentum as millennials were entering the workforce. But the jury is still out on whether these employees genuinely like such spaces.  Meanwhile, a backlash has arisen: An writer, for example, recently called open-plan offices “the dumbest management fad of all time.” Yet open plans can work, provided that they meet certain conditions.  Grant Pruitt, SIOR, president and managing director of Whitebox Real Estate in Dallas, points out that millennials and Gen Zs [“MGZs” for the sake of brevity] welcome transparency and “connectedness to their leadership" which corresponds to open areas, glass, and team seating arrangements.

Perhaps the most important condition for success is access to private space. As Pruitt says, “too often people do not think about this, and it completely kills the atmosphere…and productivity.” Variety—beyond private spaces—is another condition. Adam Kaduce, SIOR, senior vice president of R&R Realty Group in Des Moines, Iowa, spoke with a group of Gen Z interns, who told him that less individual space is OK, as long as there is a range of other places to go.

Opinions are mixed on hot desks, a feature of open-plan offices that has risen in popularity along with wider acceptance of remote working. According to Dan Drotos, SIOR, senior director of Colliers International in Gainesville, Fla., MGZs prefer flexibility in their work hours and locations: “Being tied to a desk is not a necessity anymore.” But Pruitt identifies a downside of hot desks—a lack of community, connectedness, and guaranteed access to leadership.

Connectivity at the Cellular Level

“Connectivity and bandwidth are critical,” says Drotos. “These are the generations that have never not known technology.  They’ve all grown up with the latest cell phones, video games, computers, and devices, and they expect to be connected 24/7.” Technology, should be “very seamless, easy, and available everywhere.”

The Role of Brokers

Brokers play a pivotal role in bridging gaps between what MGZs want, what older employees want, and what landlords and employers assume these different groups want. “Brokers are the first voice that a tenant or buyer hears from concerning the market, changes to the market, and what’s usual and customary,” says Pennetta. “So brokers need to be educated about the benefits of Gen Z through millennial-catered design concepts.” Drotos concurs: “It is our job to recognize the trends in the market and note what works and doesn’t in office design. This allows us to guide our clients on how best to position their properties to be attractive to the current workforce.” In short, the task for brokers
is straightforward.


Read: Workplaces That Work For Millennials & Gen Z

Source | SIOR Report Q3 2019 | Rachel Antman

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Dan Drotos

Senior Vice President


As the Senior Vice President of the Gainesville office for Colliers, Dan leads the firm's presence in Alachua County and the surrounding sub-markets by providing commercial real estate solutions for his clients. His team specializes in commercial and land transactions (sales & leasing) including office, retail, industrial, and multi-family. With well over 100 years of combined local knowledge and service, they strive to continuously raise the bar for their clientele. 

Prior to joining Colliers International, Dan served as Vice President of the Commercial and Land Division at an independent firm in Gainesville where he was a partner in The Drotos Ryals Group. His team has successfully transacted over $1 billion in local (Alachua County) commercial real estate. Dan holds both a Master of Science in Real Estate (MSRE) and Master of Building Construction (MBC) from the University of Florida along with multiple professional designations, including Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) and Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR). He also also serves in several industry, civic, and non-profit organizations such as: The Urban Land Institute, Ronald McDonald House of North Central Florida, First Federal Bank of  Florida, United Way, and Leadership Gainesville.

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