Workers of the future – the so-called Generation Y – are concerned about the environment and expect to have a mobile way of working.

These are a couple of  the initial findings of a global research project – OXYGENZ – into Generation Y (18-25-year-olds) preferences for the future workplace undertaken by Johnson Controls Global WorkPlace Solutions.
Developed in partnership with Haworth, a global leader in the design and manufacture of adaptable workspaces, and iDEA, a specialist design studio offering expertise in workplace, communication and strategic sustainability, OXYGENZ investigates how, where and when young people wish to work.
In an increasingly competitive marketplace, this new knowledge will inform businesses about the workplace attributes essential in the recruitment and retention of young people.
Some of the global headline statistics revealed that:
* 99% of young people would like their office to be environmentally aware/friendly;
* 79% of Generation Ys would prefer to have a mobile way of working; and
* 83% would like to have at least a five-star reception service.
Dr Marie Puybaraud, director of Global WorkPlace Innovation at Johnson Controls and creator of the survey, comments: "This is fascinating research that pushes our boundaries of understanding when it comes to how young people view the workplace and the role it plays in their employment choices.
"The findings help explain the emphasis that Generation Y puts on the workplace, its design, the technologies they would prefer to use, the facilities they want on site, as well as their views on environmental issues. By undertaking this survey globally, we will gain a unique insight into the preferences of Generation Y, how they differ across continents and how these perspectives change and develop over time."
Douglas Weinrich, South African regional executive at Johnson Controls Global WorkPlace Solutions, says: "For the first time ever, four generations are working side by side. As the baby boomers of the 1950s start to retire, businesses are facing a fundamental shortfall in talent.
"Providing a stimulating working environment is going to be a key factor in the war for future talent. The OXYGENZ survey is one of the biggest research projects our innovation team has undertaken and it is also one of the most exciting. The knowledge gained from the survey will play an important role in helping us advise our clients on preparing their workplaces to attract Generation Y and support their long-term business success."
This is particularly pertinent in light of the fact that the South African workforce is now officially shrinking
Puybaraud adds: "Companies simply will not be able to afford to pay for office space in the future. In 2030, prices will continue to increase. We are monitoring similar trends in Paris, Tokyo and New York.
"Johannesburg is among the cheapest top 10 office locations in Africa and the Middle East, but also the largest office market in South Africa, with Cape Town the
eighth most expensive location (Cushman & Wakefield, 2008).
"The requirement for space is still there, but there is a requirement for a different type of space, more modern, closer to large business city parks and accessible via public transport. We will be left with a workplace with fewer large and more distributed facilities, mainly shaped by us the users."