The Leader Magazine

MAR 2019

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the leader March 2019 17 T o understand the unique needs and preferences of this generation and how to respond effectively to its members, HGA and the Interdisciplinary Center for Healthy Workplaces (ICHW) at UC Berkeley joined forces. Together, they designed a study about Gen Zers that would help prepare real estate professionals, employers, property managers, investors, and others for this future workforce. They sought information about how Gen Zers think about work – how they want to work, where they want to work and how they want to work with others. The study revealed that they differ from those of other generations in important ways. To recruit and retain Generation Z, employers will need to provide workspaces that balance digital, natural, and human connections. Following are details from the study. t he study's approach Wellbeing occurs when basic social, emotional and physical human needs are met. People are at their best, most productive and healthy selves when they experience need satisfaction through their work and the workplace. Prior research done at ICHW linked the wellbeing framework to seven attributes of the built environment that support need satisfaction: comfort, connection, flexibility, equity, predictability, privacy and safety. These seven attributes formed the backbone of the research. a multi-faceted methodology For the HGA/ICHW study, four different avenues of data collection were pursued over 18 months: surveys, focus groups, charrettes and virtual prototyping. The team noted a high level of consistency across the four sets of data, starting with an initial survey produced by HGA that asked Gen Zers to identify the tools, attributes and environments that would support learning, creativity and productivity. The early survey results suggest alignment in both the method and means across the three work modes. For example, learning and productivity were best achieved through small group work, experimentation and prototyping. Respondents saw a critical balance between digital and physical tools, with the pen/paper and the laptop tied as the top choices to support learning and creativity. These themes of balance and the immediate nature of work and learning would continue to express themselves throughout the results. Two rounds of focus groups were conducted. The first round led by ICHW confirmed and expanded the team's early survey findings by refining how the seven attributes could be articulated in a work setting to suit Gen Zers' interests. A substantial body of research was generated to inform a two-part charrette held in HGA's San Francisco and Minneapolis offices. The charrettes further explored the workplace attributes articulated in the research with a broader, more diverse set of participants and market perspective. Lastly, HGA's Digital Project Group prepared for the second round of focus groups by creating a virtual-reality (VR) experience for Gen Zers to

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