Millennial behavior is driven by a high appreciation for the quality of experiences. Despite having been hit with student debt and low paying jobs, this generation continues to enjoy life. They prioritize having great experiences, such as living in expensive coastal cities with continuously rising rents and traveling nonstop, whether to Bali or music festivals (another booming industry). They drove the birth of the sharing economy. Think Uber, Airbnb, and other services that allow them to continue to LIVE and Play without having to shell out as much cash as in the past. As companies like these pop-up, Millennials continue to demand more out of their daily experiences and push the limits of what that means.
The past decade has seen a boom in startups, entrepreneur culture, and focus on high-level experiences. This trend gave rise to the ever-growing concept of the coworking space. These rapidly became the dominant choice for young entrepreneurs, creatives, and businesses looking to maximize their dollar while maintaining a fun and engaging environment. In 2017, your urban coworking space is likely to be filled with people who look vaguely thirty, sipping high quality coffee ( no maxwell house for this generation ), tip tapping away on Mac Books.Office spaces are usually transparent, and dress is casual.
WeWork, a major leader in this space, was previously only known for shared workspaces. Their services have evolved, and they recently devolved something called WeLive which 09ers small living spaces For their members. Now, if you are a Freelancer (and keep in mind by 2020 50% of the workforce will be freelancers), you can stretch your dollar thanks to a shared ofﬁce membership that allows you not only to travel to other cities where you have an ofﬁce but also a place to lay your head. The hotel industry is being hit from all angles by disruptors such as Airbnb, very soon it will start to feel the losses due to these membership based living spaces. LIVING and WORKING are melding into one well-curated, on-demand experience.
So far we’ve only covered LIVE and WORK, but there are other disruptors in the wings. I have a friend starting a gym, and advice I’ve given him is to stray from the traditional, box-like model that we are all accustomed to. There’s an opportunity here to take the disruption further and create a LIVE, WORK, PLAY experience. By the end of 20l7, the gym experience should be a full-ﬂedged experience that takes the coworking meets co-living experience to the next level. For gyms to remain competitive in the future, they should look a bit like this:
As a member, I walk into the gym and get my workout in. The space should be hip! Then, in a separate part of the building, I’m able to hop into a nap pod after showering to rest a bit. I can then head over to a shared workspace in the same building to ﬁre off some emails. From there, I grab a smoothie and sandwich in the gym’s healthy dining section. And oh, let’s not forget a quick pickup basketball game, swim, or ping pong before I head home.
The idea of combining life, work, and play is one that most businesses people will need to consider. Anyone who employs a good number of people will need to begin thinking about the experience of their work space: what does the design offer employees? I propose they offer a space to LIVE (as small as nap pods, to overnight sleep rooms for hard working employees), PLAY (how do your people play? Exercise? Beer? Cards Against Humanity?) and bring it to them. For some companies, this is not structurally and ﬁnancially feasible, which opens a space for off-site service providers to step in and provide these offerings.