Co-working space craze isn’t just among millennials, says IWG

By NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

GLOBAL workspace provider International Workspace Group (IWG) has found that the hype over flexible working and co-working spaces are not just common among the millennials.

IWG country head (Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei) Vijayakumar Tangarasan (picture) said based on a recent study by the group, different generations may view certain aspects of a co-working office differently.

“Smart employers will find a way to ensure that all generations can contribute their best ideas for the benefit of the company and its creators alike,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Vijayakumar also said it is imperative to understand employees’ expectations to generate a thriving culture as attitudes towards workplace have changed.

“Collaboration can breathe new life into a company and empower employees of all ages.

“Sharing new ideas and knowledge across generations, as well as across functional or team silos via activities such as reverse mentoring, can allow others to see things from a different perspective and spark new ideas,” he said.

Chartered psychologist Denise Taylor said there is a psychological contract between employees and their employers, which is not strictly or exclusively a financial relationship.

“Employers have to relate to people in different ways and part of this is finding out what works for all age groups.

“We need to be inspired to think of creative solutions and look for ways to expand our business network (regardless of which industry),” she said.

Based on the study, business leaders increasingly see a flexible workspace strategy as the means to become good employers, while 72% of people born post-1980 think that the strategy has helped to motivate workers.

Subsequently, 84% of employees born post-1980 believe that the strategy helps companies recruit and retain top talents, against 75% of those born prior to 1964.

Taylor added that each generation brings a unique set of skills to a company, with baby boomers contributing their strength and experience, and the millennials offering creativity.

“Combining the two elements provides us with a new perspective which enables us to produce ‘deep work’, where we can properly focus on the task at hand and concentrate without distraction,” she said.

The study also revealed that digitally native workers are still craving for personal communications, a space that co-working environment offers.

“For people born after 1980, 59% believe that a flexible workspace keeps employee skills up-to-date through interaction with other professionals, compared to 42% of those born pre-1964,” it noted.

The study also found that 67% of those born post-1980 are more concerned about being in an inspiring environment compared to 58% of workers born prior to 1964.

“However, 55% born prior to 1964 consider remote-working locations offer a more creative environment than a regular office, versus a global average of 68% of post-1980 consumers,” it said.

In fact, 67% of millennial correspondents see flexible working as offering new business and project opportunities compared to 55% of those who were born before 1964.

A multi-generational workforce appreciates different aspects of a flexible workspace, in which those born pre-1964 prioritise on productivity benefits, while the millennials focus on the creative aspects, the study concluded.