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Generation gain

Changes to working patterns means employers may struggle to find ways to appeal to the next generation of recruits. Dieter Wood, Managing Director of strategic workplace design and build company Interaction suggests a number of office design solutions to help create a destination workplace

The recruitment battle among providers of professional services, including law firms and financial services has never been fiercer. Their ability to attract, engage and retain younger candidates will be critical to ensuring they have the future supply of talent they need.

The more progressive firms are winning this war for today’s young talent by focusing on a much-neglected area – the work environment. Facilities managers and their HR colleagues also have an important role to play in helping to make the office attractive to this new generation of workers.

Generation Z workers – those born between the mid-1990s to early-2000s – are set to make up more than a quarter of employees by 2025. Unlike earlier generations, they form their opinions of a company on the basis of its business practices and social impact, not just its products or services.

Colloquially known as Zoomers, they want to work for firms that mirror their values, provide work-life balance and a supportive culture. To attract these younger workers, employers must show they share Generation Z’s concerns around issues of sustainability, mental health and social equality.

As well as addressing their concerns, employers also need to provide greater flexibility. For much of Generation Z – who only entered the workforce during the pandemic – remote and hybrid working is all they’ve known. Flexible working may be their preferred style, but this doesn’t necessarily mean working from home.

Firms that embody these values in the workplace will be more attractive to these candidates.


With most firms taking a hybrid working approach, today’s work environments must compete with home working.

Now the office is the place people go when they need to hold meetings, work collaboratively and connect with colleagues. To meet these changing demands, employers are adapting their office spaces, transforming once functional spaces into exciting places that provide different attractions to working from home.

This means providing everything employees get at home, like good coffee, comfy seating and quiet zones to work in, as well as the things they can’t get when working remotely – the buzz of social connection, the ability to have off-the-cuff conversations, collaborate and learn.

It’s about understanding and blending employee and organisational requirements and ensuring spaces make people feel secure and understood because their needs are met.


With so much competition for talent, law firms in particular have been at the forefront of office design since the pandemic, often with Generation Z’s needs in mind.

Interaction has spoken to a number of legal practices about the workplace challenges they face for our new Law of Attraction whitepaper. The whitepaper reveals what law firms are doing to incorporate Generation Z’s needs into the work environment and boost their recruitment and retention efforts.

The lessons learned by the legal world are just as relevant to wider professional services sectors. You can make your workplace more attractive to Zoomers by following the current office design best practices outlined in our whitepaper.

These include:

  • Creating a variety of work settings so employees can work effectively in the way that’s right for each task or portion of their day.
  • Modular, flexible workspace solutions that maximise the space and make the most of each square foot.
  • Incorporating eco-friendly materials in office design and adopting sustainable working practices to showcase green credentials.
  • A workplace filled with natural light that brings nature indoors helping relieve stress and making employees more creative and productive.
  • Ergonomic workplace furniture and accessories that boost health and wellbeing and ensure employees feel comfortable.
  • Seamless tech connectivity and smart building functionality that supports employees to work with minimal restriction.
  • A focus on social and collaborative areas that boost connectivity and enable colleagues to rest and recharge.
  • An understanding of neurodiverse working needs, with sympathetic spaces designed to support a diverse workforce.

By delivering on promises and acting on ethical, social and wellbeing concerns, these forward-thinking law firms are making the office a place Zoomers and everyone else wants to be.

Attracting and retaining this cohort relies on understanding their needs. And providing a combination of flexibility, in-person development and the opportunities that only come from being in the office.

These new spaces must incorporate the latest technologies and provide places to collaborate, converse and learn. They must also speak to Generation Z’s environmental concerns, cater to their wellbeing needs and ensure a sense of equity and inclusion.

All of which will embed a firm’s cultures and values by embodying them in the workplace. By elevating the workplace experience, you will keep the brightest talent engaged and loyal.

Creating such destination workplaces is vital if you want to stand out from the competition and win the recruitment battle.

About Sarah OBeirne

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