by Faheem Chaudhry (@FaheemChaudhry) For creative businesses of all shapes and forms, consistently conceptualizing and executing the most original and unique work is a day-to-day goal as client organisations remain under constant pressure to differentiate and reinvent themselves, simply to stay relevant.

The role of technological progression is without a doubt at the heart of this, as opportunities for creating business value are taking different sizes and forms. While the world may be changing, the primary reason for success will always be rooted in the same dynamic. People. Recruiting and retaining the top talent will always be the core competitive advantage of any creative industry leader.

The Millennial Workplace

We’re all becoming increasingly familiar with the differences between millennials and previous generations. We (millennials) were born in the google office Zurichdigital age, have grown up in an era of immediate gratification and are geared towards working under constantly changing expectations, pressures and time constraints.

In creative industries specifically, the world’s leading organisations are adopting new and innovative ways of bringing the best millennials to their boardrooms.

More and more business leaders are realising that the work space and atmosphere determines the ways employees work and the way their imaginations explore. The more inspirational the workplace, the easier creative blocks are overcome and new ideas and territories are explored.

So what are the core characteristics of the creative workplace? And what are millennials most attracted to about them?

Enabling creativity

As I’ve mentioned before, Hal Riney said that the fascinating, and perhaps most terrifying part of the creative business, is that we actually have no idea where our thoughts come from. Each new day and each new project brings a new challenge and a need for a fresh approach. The reality of the macro business environment these days is that it is becoming more and more cluttered. It’s becoming easier for start-ups to launch with pace and agility, with old industry stalwarts finding themselves frequently challenged. To attract the top talent, to produce the most creative work, organisations are going through much trouble to make the physical work environment an enabler of individual creativity.

Take the Google office in Zurich for example. Among many other incentives, employees have access to a tranquility room of sorts, housing deep reclining leather chairs, dim lighting to set the mood and exotic, luminous fish-tanks to please the eye. It’s not exactly the description of the workplace we’re accustomed to now is it? At it’s core, Google is in the business of innovation, and in order to keep generating fresh thinking, the bosses make sure that all talented minds get a chance to rest. It’s the ideal platform from which to think, create and innovate.

Perhaps what separates the millennial generation most from previous generations is the pace with which our lives move. The day of one employee being at a singular organisation for 30 years to receive their gold watch simply doesn’t happen any more. Millennials are on the move, ambitiously seeking out the opportunities that offer the greatest exchange of value. Organisations like Google are capitalizing on this and are creating physical environments that allow Millennials to deliver their very best creative work. It’s the way the tech giants alone are trying to distinguish themselves from the rest, with the hope of pulling in the pick of the litter.

Employee collaboration

Gone are the days where organisations could afford to operate in departmental silos. An “each team to their own” approach is now a stayed view to looking at workflow in a company. Due to the demand for integrated problem solving, getting different minds around the table to brainstorm together is becoming common practise.

Take Apple for example. Steve Jobs had two core thoughts around his Cupertino headquarters. Firstly, that there would only be one staircase. And secondly, that the bathrooms were centrally located.

He wanted to create an environment where employees from varying disciplines met each other more often. That they congregated around organisational common areas as opposed to just their departments (hence the centrally located bathrooms).

To millennials who are hungry to hear different views, probing into unknown skill sets and interacting with colleagues with varying roles, this forms an attractive proposition. And the likes of Apple are reaping the rewards, constantly attracting the top thinkers of the next generation.

Work – life balance

The demands of the modern workplace often mean 24/7 “always on” jobs. These days the world doesn’t stop for a second, and neither does business. Many companies have realised the additional pressure that this puts employees under, and have gone many miles into developing creative workplaces that enable a work-life balance, rather than the feeling of the 9-5 slogathon.

Zappos is a fantastic example. World renowned for their customer service, at the Zappos head office just outside Las Vegas, Zapponians are encouraged to design and decorate their own workspaces. The result is offices looking like bedrooms, lounges, coffee shops & zen gardens. Such offices have Zapponians working at some of the highest levels of productivity in modern organisations. Staff are so committed to Zappos, that the company offer to pay staff to not take additional training.

However the commitment from their millennial generation is such that this isn’t given consideration, and the company continues to enjoy a workforce yearning to learn more about the business. To millennials entering and starting their careers in a world requiring the highest levels of productivity and organisational commitment – offices that offer a sense of balance through workplace personalization are being successful in keeping the best talent deeply rooted.

Creative industries are dominated by the organisations with the most creative people. That’s the business truth. There are various incentives being put in place by companies looking to attract the top talent.

One of these is the creative workplace, as leaders are starting to tailor their work – life offering to the increasing demands of the millennial generation. It’s a dynamic that I see increasing more and more with time, as industries become more cluttered, and businesses fall under an increased pressure to really differentiate themselves as a truly unique work destination.

Faheem is a passionate marketer at M&C Saatchi Abel. With a focus on the future, his aim is to better entrench the importance of creative thinking to solving critical business problems. Find his past columns here

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