Should Offices Have a ‘Kids’ Table’ for Millennials?
There has always been a generation gap, but thanks to technology, today’s gap is wider than it’s been since the 1960s. And, this is causing some issues with communication and co-working in offices. Once company thinks it has a unique solution to the problem: a kids’ table, just like the one you used to get stuck at during the holidays, aimed specifically at younger workers.
(Photo Credit: Michael Bentley/Flickr)
Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported on one New York City advertising and marketing firm’s attempt to solve the problem. Last fall, Grey Global Group began seating assistant account executives (nearly all of whom are in their early-to-mid-20s) in an area dubbed “base camp.” The firm says that the idea is to allow the young workers to form strong ties with one another, and get to know the ropes together without irritating older employees at the firm.
The new seating arrangement seems to be going over well.
“The vibe here is different,” says 22-year-old Micole Himelfarb, who works in base camp. “It puts you at ease to be around people your own age.”
Base camp does have an unofficial mentor, a senior VP and account management development director who’s 44 and volunteered to sit with the group. She reports enjoying the setup although it does make her “feel a lot older at times.”
She’s noticed a few differences related to work habits that might help build understanding about why this generational space arrangement is working for them.
She says the base campers aren’t nearly as rooted at their desks as the older workers. They migrate around the office space throughout the day, preferring to work in common spaces – setting up laptops in recliners by windows or on the agency’s roof deck. There are some other differences. Ms. Gallione, (the unofficial mentor at base camp), says, for example, that the millennials eat lunch very late – around 2 or 3 p.m., and she also feels the young workers form ties with each other more easily than she did at their age.
Older members of the firm have enjoyed the distance. The support the young workers required was distracting to them, and the new arrangement has gone a long way toward reducing that turmoil. The Grey Global Group is now considering instituting the program firm-wide across its over 10,000 employees.
Tell Us What You Think
Should offices have a “kids’ table” for millennials? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.
Gina Belli works as a teacher, freelance writer, and educational consultant, and lives in her beloved home state, Connecticut. She likes to write about education, work-life balance, and the economy. Given her arresting capacity to over-analyze anything interpersonal, her writing often tends to focus on some of the more emotional aspects of workplace connections and disconnections, as they relate to partnerships and teams, personality and communication styles, and leadership. In her free time, she likes to putter around her renovated one-room schoolhouse home, take walks in the woods, and eat as much guacamole as she can get her hands on.