What matters most to each generation when it comes to the workplace


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CBRE has launched the study “Return to Office 2023 – Generations Choose Destinations 2023”, a special report summarizing the workplace preferences and way of working of Generations Z, Y, X, and Baby Boomers. This was conducted following a survey undertaken in Romania as part of a campaign conducted throughout September online as well as among tenant companies in the 48 office buildings managed by CBRE Romania. The information extracted provides a comprehensive and detailed picture of the expectations and habits of these varied generational groups.

Three years after we were suddenly forced to rethink our work structure, the hybrid work format still remains the preferred choice for most companies. We decided to run this survey and see where exactly each generation has adapted to the hybrid work context and what they consider most important when it comes to their office space, the building that houses it and what is around it. The results ranged from confirming assumptions to surprising issues, and while we see that all employees care about things similarly, the priority of needs tends to shift”, stated Daniela Gavril, Head of Research, CBRE România.

The survey found interesting similarities between what people value when it comes to the workplace, regardless of generation. Public transport remains the most important amenity regardless of generation, with 70% of survey respondents resonating with this idea. Also, almost half of them prefer not to go to the office on Fridays, and a third on Mondays, but regardless of age, 64% of the study participants expressed their desire to participate in events organized in the building they work in, while only 33% would only enjoy the event if they were in the office on the day. Challenged on how they would prefer to relax after work hours, about 70% of respondents consider walks in the park as the most desirable, while only half would choose more strenuous activities, such as going to the gym.

One noteworthy aspect revealed by the results of the study is that all generations want to create their own synergy with going to the office – the majority of respondents freely proposed various facilities that brought near their office building would make their going to the office not only a more pleasant experience but will also would make their time more efficient. A quarter of participants would prefer specialty retail operators but not limited to such as pharmacies, beauty salons, and medical clinics and only 5% said they wouldn’t change a thing about the building they work in now, from this point of view.

„Hybrid working has created multiple challenges for companies, but also for employees, and has proven to influence their performance and satisfaction. Our study gives us a deep understanding of employees, and segmentation by generation helps us to form a complex picture of the preferences and needs of the workforce in the new context. When added to our consultancy projects, this valuable information allows us to create solutions to issues such as increasing occupancy of office space while improving the quality of the experience of those who work in the spaces we design.”, added Tudor Ionescu, Head of A&T Services | Office, CBRE Romania.

  • Generation Z, the young adults of the digital age, most interested in social events

Generation born after the year 2000, raised in the age of social media and with access to technology from the first years of life, is surprisingly also the most interested in socializing and events. Compared to an average of 64% of all respondents to the ”Return to Office 2023 – Generations Choose Destinations 2023” survey, 76% of Gen Z said they want to attend events organized in the building where they work, while only 24% would only enjoy the event if they were in the office that day.

The results of the CBRE study show that Gen Z puts a lot of emphasis on public transport, which is more desirable than the existence of a shopping center nearby, very few of them appreciate the possibility of shopping near the workplace, but after the program all the social aspects matter more to them, two-thirds preferring to spend their free time with friends, while the rest opt ​​to go to the gym.

Having a park close to the office would be a great benefit, but at the same time, 50% of Gen Z want more specialty retail and Food & Beverage options in or near the building where they work. Pharmacies, coffee shops, restaurants, and gelaterias are the retailers sought after by Gen Z

  • Generation Y – Millennials, the most present in the office

Generation Y, better known as Millennials, is the most present in the office. 80% of survey respondents work at least 2 days a week from the office, and 43% go to the office more than 3 days a week. As with Generation Z, Millennials significantly prefer to work from home on Fridays.

Proximity to office public transportation is less important to Millennials compared to Gen Z, but they also want greater diversity in specialty retail and would appreciate more options in food, beverage, and services such as restaurants, beauty clinics, pharmacies, afterschool or dry cleaners.

  • Generation X appreciates shopping centers

For Generation X, those born between 1965 and 1980, shopping centers proved extremely important, with a third of respondents voting for them. At the same time, parks received the most votes as a key point of interest near the office, being preferred by 75% of respondents of this generation.

After work, Gen X respondents prefer to go out in a much smaller proportion, with only slightly more than half choosing this answer, and the representatives of this generation appreciate in addition to specialty retailers and Food & Beverage stores, but also a greater diversity of retailers and services, such as cleaners, kindergartens, afterschool, pet shop, leisure activities.

  • Baby Boomers place the greatest interest in public transportation

Baby Boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1964, put public transportation first when choosing their office amenities. 88% of respondents from this generation prefer public transport, and 75% work in the office more than three days a week. Unlike the other generations, 42% stated that Monday is their least favorite day for office work.

Parks are essential for them, but they also appreciate the proximity of cinemas, theaters, green areas and other leisure options.

The survey was conducted among employees in September 2023 to better understand the perception of employees in different fields of activity regarding working from home versus working in the office. The results of the report took into account the age category of the respondents. Completed by nearly 500 respondents, the survey covered employee options across multiple fields such as IT, Transport, Administration, Medical, Professional Services, Real Estate, BPO, FMCG, Banking, HoReCa, and others.

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