This year’s Perspectives topic was Collegiate to Corporate: Workplace Insights from Learning Environments. As a part of PDR’s research for the event, PDR deployed its Perspectives 2016 Student Survey to gather data to inform the design of workplaces that enable our next generation of problem solvers. The survey was a 10-minute online survey, and was open for a period of 6 weeks. Participants included undergraduate and graduate university students asked to respond to questions about work environment preferences with the incentive of a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card and an optional tour of PDR’s office in downtown Houston. PDR received 100 complete responses, from 13 universities and a wide variety of educational backgrounds.
The respondents spend their time on the following types of activities in order to complete their school work.
The students prefer to perform those modes of work in the following locations:
Choice and Access
Students mainly seek Choice and Access in their future workplace. They reported wanting to work in more than one place when they are in the office, selecting their workspace based on the type of work they need to do. They want a balance of team and leadership interaction while being able to have access to a quiet, private place for independent focus work. They definitely do NOT want to spend all day working at an assigned desk. Students reported that access to nature, healthy food options and access to places for recharging and exercise are important in their ideal workplace.
When given the choice, students prefer a moderate amount of mobility and flexibility with a median starting salary ($60,000) to 0% mobility and flexibility with a higher salary ($85,000) or 100% mobility and flexibility and an even lower starting salary ($45,000). In fact, 76% of respondents would choose a job offer that was $25,000 less per year in exchange for a healthy balance of structure and freedom.
What does this mean for your organization?
Does your workplace enable your employees to pick their work location based on the type of work they need to accomplish? A successful office environment should draw employees in to access leadership and teammates while also providing spaces to crunch out a report in a quiet, distraction-free zone. In order to attract and retain top talent, organizations should be tuned into the desires of current university students. While not all organizations have the capacity to offer access to nature or places to exercise within the office, there are always opportunities for creative partnerships with local restaurants, parks, or fitness instructors to offer your employees the healthy balance they desire.
If you are interested in learning more about how your organization can implement the right strategy for your business, we invite you to contact PDR.