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Every generation has a unique impact on the workplace, but in identifying differences, it’s easy to overlook similarities. Millennials, those born between 1981 and 1996, and Gen-Z, those in the generation after, have a strong interest in personal well-being, and while they may be more likely to shop at farmer’s markets or buy organic, it doesn’t mean they’re the only generation to desire a safe and healthy workplace.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was established in the 1970s because of public outcry against rising injury and death rates on the job. Ask any employee if they’d prefer to work somewhere health promoting or health degrading, and you know the answer you’ll get. Creating a work environment that supports the key pillars to health is a surefire way to attract top talent across the age spectrum, Millennials and Gen-Z included.

Millennials and Gen-Z are characterized as entrepreneurial individuals who appreciate flexibility, collaboration and wellness. To attract this talent, organizations need to embed those values into company culture and changing the physical space is a very important part. Active furniture like sit-stand workstations and adjustable mobile desks are a great way to integrate flexibility, collaboration and wellness all at once. According to Ergotron’s Workplace Movement Assessment, sit-stand desks benefit all generations in the workplace.

Workplace Movement Assessment

With active office furniture, employees of all ages can choose how they work based on their comfort level. Another option for engaging their interest? Go mobile. Mobile desks allow workers to take their work area with them around the office from conference rooms to common areas or even outside! This unique tool for on-the-go collaboration lets users look outside assigned workspaces to spur additional creativity—an option that younger generations appreciate.

Apple is one of the most recent—and prominent companies—to announce that all employees receive a standing desk. CEO Tim Cook has previously made references to doctors who say, “sitting is the new cancer” and has also noted how collaborative, active workspaces at its Apple Park headquarters supports creativity and innovation. Apple already draws top talent across generations, but all companies can follow suit and sweeten the deal for prospective employees by offering active office furniture.

In fact, many companies are already quietly rolling out standing desks to attract Millennials and Gen-Z employees. The SHRM 2017 Employee Benefits Report found that 44% of employers are providing or subsidizing the cost of replacing a regular desk with a standing desk.

This is encouraging news to employees of all ages, but especially for the upcoming generations of workers who envision inspiring, personalized workspaces to begin their careers. Emily, a high school junior from Rosemount, Minn., embodies the hopes of her peers as they look to the future.

“There are a few features that I would look for in a work environment, including but not limited to natural light, ability to sit or stand, and ability to personalize my space,” she said. “I want to feel that I have some connection with my own personality and the space where I work for my living!”

Look for companies like Ergotron to continue innovating workspaces to attract Millennials and Gen-Z employees, while working to retain Baby Boomers who can also benefit from the sit-stand workstyle.

Betsey Banker

Wellness Market Manager, CWWS, CWWPM

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