Friday, December 07, 2007

Steelcase Workplace Index Survey Examines Multi-Generational Worker Relationships

Office design for cross-generation workers ...

"Steelcase, a global office environments manufacturer, today revealed the results of the third in a three-part Workplace Index Survey on the Nature of Work in 2007. Conducted by Opinion Research Corporation (ORC), the study examines how age affects the interaction of office workers in a multi-generational workplace. The study comes at a time when organizations have four generations of workers on the job, and this profound shift in age balance has significant design implications for the future of office environments.

Polling nearly 700 office workers in the United States, the survey shows that workers tend to have the strongest relationships with colleagues within their same generation. Fifty-nine percent of 18-24 year olds have the strongest rapport with colleagues 29 or younger, while most 25-34 year olds (67 percent) and 35-44 year olds (52 percent) have the strongest relationships with those between the ages of 30 and 40. Additionally, 64 percent of those aged 45-54 and 70 percent of workers 65 and older have a closer connection with those older than 40. These same workers report that most of their daily work is completed with people in the same age brackets.

According to Steelcase, this data is not surprising; however, there are ways organizations can harness surprising synergies of cross-generation work through space planning. While each generation is characterized by unique work behaviors and values, workers generally appreciate the distinct point of view of other generations, as well as their contributions to the workplace community.

"Often technology is the tool that links different age groups. For example, while the oldest generations in today's workforce tend to utilize technology to store, archive and retrieve information, younger generations embrace technology as a social networking tool, and the different age groups are learning from each other," said Chris Congdon, manager, corporate marketing for Steelcase. "The same can be said for the use of office space, as younger workers thrive in a more collaborative environment, while older generations favor more privacy. Effective workplace design can adapt to meet the needs of each age group."    (Continued via CNN Money)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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