Top trends in the modern workplace

Walking into a 2017 office compared to one just ten years ago can be quite a shock.

As the startup world collides with the corporate world, the idea of modernizing a work environment has proven to be cost-efficient and stimulates office communities. The average age of a startup CEO is 31 and their employees range from 21 to 35 years old. Innovative, maturing millennials have brought their own standard and preferred work environment based on practicality and the origins of their company. These five trends will help prepare you for what to expect when walking through the doors of the new standard office space.

First, comfort is key. Say goodbye to suit and tie and hello to business casual. Most offices have relaxed their dress codes drastically. Mark Zuckerberg is the first role model of setting the new dress code for work: t-shirt, jeans, hoodies and tennis shoes. This can be quite a shock when walking into the startup world, because you cannot differentiate the CEO from a low-level employee. This idea of community can be found throughout the following trends as well. The hierarchy of management, although still present, is not defined by dress or even office space.

Second is a family-style office space. Considering most startup companies were founded in loft apartments, basements, garages and rentals, this translates when the company expands as well. The concept of having separate offices has almost completely dissolved. The modern day cubicle and desktop is now more commonly a couch or community table and a laptop. There are the typical conference rooms as well, but the new addition to offices are Collaborative Workspaces. These spaces are smaller rooms that contain whiteboards, comfortable seating and personal technology (tablets, laptops and smart phones). Often, these rooms are used for team projects and brainstorming, and have proven very effective.

Third is the importance of individual projects. It is often assumed millennials tend to be more reclusive and prefer to work independently, so offices have adjusted to this work method. It is typical for an employee to be assigned a project each week or month and then report back with their results or findings as needed. This idea of letting employees take credit for their work and collaborating when there is an issue or to expand is very common in the startup community. Adjusting to how employees excel and learn is key to any progressive company.  

Fourth, this is a tech world. Each office is incorporating more and more technology into their day-to-day standard, and it is imperative that any employee be fluent in its usage. Being able to write and read code is the new foreign language credential, because of its relevance in not just computer science positions, but also marketing, sales and social media.

Last, but not least, teach yourself. Staying up-to-date on material being written about your company, competitors and field of work is imperative. The turnover rate for startup positions is much higher than the corporate community. The learning curve period is eliminated, and executing on the first day is essential. Startups live and die on efficiency, so if an employee begins to fall behind, there is always someone desperate to replace them. Independent reading and researching after work hours is the standard for working in these types of environments.

Although these work environments are becoming more relaxed in dress and office etiquette and there is less supervision, the pace is constantly accelerating and the personal responsibility is heavier than ever. These positive changes have lead to quality results and streamlined efficiency, but it is still a work environment. No, not every office is going to look like Facebook or Google Campus, but be prepared for downplayed look-a-likes. This is a fabulous time to be entering the workplace. Just be sure you can keep up.

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