Free running might not become an office staple, but greater flexibility and  less lengthy meetings might become the norm.

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Those born between 1979 and 1997 will be dominant age group in workforce in ten years

Difference in values between baby boomers and Generation Y set to transform offices

'Millennials' put more emphasis on flexibility, personal attachment to work, suggests report

Analysts suggest that offices need to be able to cater for all generations to thrive

CNN  — 

It could be out with old meeting rooms and in with new social spaces, as Generation Y is set to transform the way we work in the next 10 years.

In the U.S., those born between 1979 and 1997 are predicted to make up the largest part of the workforce within a decade and with it change offices and the nature of work itself.

“We are facing a huge generational shift, as baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) leave the workforce, and that means we have to rethink our workspace,” says Michael O’Neill, senior director of workplace research for Knoll, Inc.

By the end of the decade, the balance in the U.S. will flip from approximately 50% baby boomers and 25% Generation Y workers to 25% baby boomers and 50% Generation Y workers, according to a 2010 report from Knoll, a workplace furnishing company.

“That is a massive shift, and it will happen in less than eight years,” says O’Neill.

To understand how workspaces will need to change to accommodate and attract this new generation of workers, O’Neill and Knoll looked at the work patterns and preferences of more than 15,000 employees in 40 countries, and across four generations.

Their findings reveal a number of generational differences.

For example, Generation Y rates the importance of having an “engaging workplace” highest and the “quality of meeting rooms” lowest, while baby boomers rate these features opposite, with high importance on meeting rooms.

“Baby boomers like structured, face-to-face meetings,” says O’Neill. That’s how they usually get things done. And if that’s how you get things done, the quality of meeting spaces will be important to you.”

Generation Y on the other hand, likes quick, casual and socially-tinged meetings. Their use of technology in interaction further undermines the importance of lengthy meetings and formal spaces, according to O’Neill.