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Class of 2023 graduates want to work hybrid and enjoy an office experience.

New Graduates Want an Office Experience – And it Better be Good

  • The Class of 2023 has spoken: 44% prefer a hybrid model over working in full-time, remote positions.
  • Industry surveys say they favor collaborative, social spaces for the ability to network.
  • A new workplace experience will have to pair new graduates in collaborative settings with mentors and rely on smart office planning.

Fresh from graduations, the class of 2023 apparently want to go to work – in an office.

Several recent surveys say the class of 2023 favor showing up at least some of the time to an office with colleagues, the CEO, a coffee machine – and all that goes with it.

Here’s what they are saying: ZipRecruiter‘s survey of graduating seniors revealed 44% prefer a hybrid model, compared to a third that want to work completely remotely. Handshake, a site that students use to find work, reported that approximately 3 out of 5 new graduates surveyed “when given the option, prefer to work in a hybrid environment.”

Maybe more telling, the National Association of College and Employers says very few new graduates will work entirely remote- with 42% headed into the office full-time and another 48% on a hybrid schedule.

This adds a new dimension to the already complicated return-to-office landscape. Employers need to figure out how to make sure the class of 2023, often the youngest employees, with the most to learn – are in the office at a time more senior employees are less likely to be available to show them the proverbial ropes.

New Graduates, New Workplace Experience

When forced to choose between two extremes in the Handshake survey – full-time remote or 5 days a week in an office – the class of 2023 essentially rejected both. Just 12 percent said their ideal arrangement was full-time in person, while 16 percent favored a fully remote job. A whopping 72% said hybrid was ideal.

Now, maybe you’re thinking, isn’t this the generation that helped introduce us to Quiet Quitting? That doesn’t jibe with wanting to report to an office a few days a week. The answer is simple, say recruiters: If the class of 2023 is motivated, they’ll show up.

It’s true that new graduates know how to prioritize mental health, but they also don’t mind working hard on something they care about – a side hustle of ‘passion project’ is a common theme among recent graduates. The bottom line is that new graduates want all the benefits are associated with the workplace of yesteryear – including new friends and interactions with experienced colleagues to show them the ropes.

We’re in the Office – Now What?

While the return to the office is a welcome development for many new graduates, it’s important to acknowledge that some may feel uncertain about the transition. They may have had internships or other prior experience that was fully remote. And they may lack experience and guidance on how to navigate the professional office environment effectively.

More than a few career experts have warned that recent graduates are having trouble understanding how to function in a professional manner in a workspace. As the Wall Street Journal bluntly put it – New Grads Have No Idea How to Behave in the Office – and many employers have undertaken basic trainings on everything from emails to meeting decorum.

Activity-based Workspaces for All

The real challenge for employers who are recruiting new graduates is not so different than the challenges to retaining experienced ones. If about half your employees want to come to work about half the time, there’s a good chance half or your current office space is underutilized. Strategic space planners are tasked with reshaping and reimagining their spaces – and reviewing lease agreements to see what makes sense.

The office must offer the right amenities, and truly collaborative, spaces. In our recent blog on the power of well-planned office space, activity-based workspaces – where employees expect to gather with dedicated teams to get a specific task done – are highlighted as one way strategic space planners can improve the overall workplace experience.

By optimizing the design and functionality of office spaces, companies greeting new graduates can strike a balance between individual workspaces and communal areas that facilitate things like mentorship.

“People are really at that quandary point,” offers Simon Davis, Founder and CEO at Purposeful Intent, speaking to Lambent. “How do we optimize our space? How do we ensure our costs are at the right level? How do we also ensure that our employees get what they need?” For Davis, the problem is obvious. “But if they come in – and the experience they have isn’t positive – they are going to be less likely to come in again.”

To learn how the Lambent Spaces SaaS platform and Occupancy Analytics is guiding the new workplace experience, reach out today to learn more.

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