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Boomers Don't Like Trend Toward Open Offices Skip to content

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Most Boomers Don’t Like the Trend Toward 'Open Offices'

But opinions improve if workspaces aren't noisy and distracting, a survey finds

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En español | We live in an era when open offices without walls — and sometimes without designated workspaces for individuals — are increasingly common. But boomers are less comfortable with that environment than younger generations, a new survey has found.

Only 41 percent of boomers are okay with sharing their office or workspace with a coworker, compared to 58 percent of Generation Z and younger millennials, 52 percent of older millennials and 45 percent of Generation X, according to the survey of 2,008 U.S. adults, of whom 1,114 were employed. It was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of real estate firm Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates.

But 69 percent of the boomers surveyed said they are comfortable with an open office as long as noise and distractions are limited, and the number rises to 73 percent if sufficient private space is available within the open office. 

In terms of amenities, the one most often valued by boomers is having enough parking (62 percent), followed by access to a food court, cafeteria or restaurant (61 percent), outdoor lounging space (42 percent), a fitness club (38 percent) and the availability of a meeting space (37 percent). Proximity to retail shopping was another big plus for boomers, cited by 35 percent. They generally favored those benefits more so than younger workers. 

Some boomers also expressed an interest in having a designated space in the office to rest or take naps (27 percent) and having parking or storage options for alternative commuting options, such as electric car charging stations or weather-protected bicycle storage (26 percent). A quarter of boomers like the idea of “creative” workspaces designed for collaboration or brainstorming.

Close to half of boomers (48 percent) think their office could make better use of its physical space.

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