The future workforce

How tech is shaping workspaces

We talk a lot about the future of the workplace. But who is the future workforce poised to inhabit these spaces? And why is the tech industry so influential in dictating what the broader millennial/Gen Z workforce wants?
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As a culturally cognisant interior design studio working on major commercial developments spanning workspace, hospitality and amenity, we have a deep insight into the mindset of the emerging workforce stepping into our lobbies.

So, who is this demographic? And why do they take their cues from Silicon Valley?

Unless you’ve figured this out, your development is unlikely to hit the mark. And in a competitive property market, this will cost you.  

What do millennial and Gen Z employees care about?

We’ve all changed our buying habits post-pandemic, and the millennial and Gen Z demographic has developed a heightened appreciation of medicine and science.

To understand what’s leading the change, we must look to the tech sector for our cues.

Tech brands are fast-moving innovators influencing the zeitgeist. As such, we see the new iPhone marketed for its surgical grade steel: a clinical, science-led messaging unheard of for a mainstream consumer product pre-COVID.

That’s one example amongst thousands, but what’s clear is this: the modern employee craves cleanliness and safety from their technology.

We know the younger generations drive change: that’s always been the case.

So, we must be mindful of the real-world issues happening now that young people care about.

Because these will become the big issues we’re designing spaces to accommodate in as little as five years’ time.

Three ways the tech sector influences the property industry

To understand where the modern workplace is heading, we need to take a closer look at Silicon Valley. Here are three key ways tech is shaping property.

1.    Tech firms set the standard for workplace evolution

Tech firms at the leading edge of modern trends are setting the standard for what other industries must offer their workforce to attract high-octane talent.

In the rapidly emerging “welltech” industry, which takes a scientific approach to improving our wellbeing, we’ve seen $2.2 billion ploughed into startups creating super brain foods, sleep-optimising mattresses, and biometric wearables.

And this has a ripple effect on other industries.

The millennial/Gen Z demographic consumes the technology and craves the futuristic workplace experience Silicon Valley perpetuates, which heavily influences sectors like legal and financial.

The modern employee is searching for something different from the standard office, and developers need to understand what that looks like to stay at the forefront.

2.    Tech infiltrates every aspect of our lives

Tech is where we see deep research conducted to create incredible products that sell rapidly.

We consume these products and take our cultural cues from them.

As a result, tech filters into every area of our lives, from our Monzo cards funding the latest splurge to the office Slack channel connecting us when working remotely.

So, it’s natural we’re looking to the tech workplaces for cues on what brilliant young minds need to achieve peak mental performance.

3.    Tech CEOs experience and resolve issues faster

Corporate challenges accelerate and reach resolution faster in tech, where everything runs at high velocity.

Absenteeism, stress, disconnected workforces: issues rise to the surface faster in a high-pressure, socially disconnected environment. And tech CEOs have the budgets, courage, and vision to try something new.

This forces the hands of developers and other sectors: the millennial/Gen Z worker sees what’s possible and expects it for themselves.

So, we must understand what this looks like and replicate it in our own spaces to stay at the cutting edge.

The hotelization of the workplace

To justify its existence in a post-pandemic world, the office has become a destination with a purpose, and the tech sector is driving the hotelization of the office.

So, what do we mean by this term?

The hotelization of the workplace sees home comforts, relaxed dress codes, real planting and soft furnishings collide with a crisp aesthetic, sparking that lux “home away from home” vibe.

When immaculate design combines with world-class amenities, the workplace evokes a private members club, with the pride and exclusivity to match.

So, how did this begin in tech?

Travelling the globe to pitch and raise, tech CEOs work out of the world’s most beautiful hotel lobbies, raising their expectations of how the office experience can look and feel.

Returning to the office, they want to evoke that experience for their staff – and the immense benefits this brings in productivity, morale, wellbeing, and growth.

Why the demographic piece is such a big part of our work

We’ve seen pioneers like Soho House and WeWork evolve how the workplace looks and feels for creatives, startups, and digital nomads.

And while the WeWork business model fits diverse sectors, its physical spaces don’t chime with a tech-inspired crowd craving sharp aesthetics and futuristic functionality.

Therefore, for the fintech, pharma, and legal industries, WeWork doesn’t offer an interiors model that dictates how their spaces should evolve.

It’s all too easy to mimic successful workspaces like these without considering whether the same demographic will inhabit the space you create.

So, we consider the demographic stage of a project as essential work to inform the measurable success of our spaces.

At what stage should you bring interior designers into your project?

It’s a misconception – or maybe an outdated notion - that interior designers are solely there to pick up the interior of a development, create mood boards, and pick out furniture..

Many of our clients later admit we were brought into a project too late after decisions had been made that shaped the experience of a space - from joinery and lighting,  through to spatial arrangement: choices that impact the overall scheme without an end demographic in mind..

And when you think about it logically, the benefits of bringing our team of Manchester interior designers in early are clear:

- We come in with real-world issues and research and challenge initial decisions – the developers we work with aren’t afraid to be challenged for the greater good of their finished schemes. So, we take a bold and compassionate approach to questioning everything and pushing for the outcome we know will generate the tangible results you want.

- We understand who we’re speaking to, what different pockets of the populace care about in the world of politics, social issues, sustainability, and culture, and what they truly value – by being plugged in to this, we create spaces that serve and nourish the target demographic on a deeper level

- We’re naturally curious, thinking about how individuals navigate spaces and interact with objects, experience fragrance and smart light levels – this elevates your development beyond ‘pleasing to the eye’ to essential for the soul

- We explore our local communities, cities, and cultures, travelling the world soaking up experiences to inform how our spaces take shape. This brings an international perspective to your development, handpicking the greatest innovations from across the globe and combining them in a way that’s unique to your space and users.

More and more, we’re finding ourselves appointed at the beginning of a project, before planning is approved, acting as consultants to help developers and end users understand their tenant/client, and find the correct language to sell and influence their spaces. and influence placemaking exercises

How interior design consultation influences placemaking

Introducing us at the early stage of a project can inform the brief for so many parties - for branding, amenity selection and operator potential - and this saves time and cost of going back and unpicking inconsistencies close to launch. Everything is considered from the outset.

You operate within a dynamic industry full of decision-making, so naturally, you need to focus on financials and practicalities instead of broader issues affecting society and people.

Leave that part to us, and we’ll play an instrumental role in influencing the development and shaping the overall placemaking in a way that surpasses your expectations.

Speak to our interior designers

Your development deserves a nuanced approach to interiors that sparks fulfilment, wellness, and productivity in its end users.

Initiate us at your early stages, and we’ll channel our global expertise and sensory, sustainable approach into a workspace that sets the standard in your industry and delivers the experiences that generate real-world results.

To speak to us about your next development, call 0161 533 0366 or email

written by
Franky Rousell

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