By Erin Delmore
Ping pong, foosball and comfy chairs. Sounds like a fun work place right? Millennials think so and employers are racing to attract them.
“They want lifestyle and cultural amenities. They want access to nightlife, bars, restaurants, museums, professional sports,” said The Boyd Company Principal John Boyd.
“They are looking for more variety, more things to do, and looking for self contained environments right? These communities,” said Chris Palle, founder of Wisdom + Craft.
Bell Works is a community workplace in Holmdel attracting top talent in tech and innovation.
An old phone booth might look out of place in such a modern work space. But it’s a nod to the past — the 1960s headquarters of Bell Labs.
“Coming to the office doesn’t necessarily mean you are sitting in a desk all day. You can walk around the whole facility and find a different place to work every day. I mean there’s the grassy area out there, the seating out there in the front. There is a lot to do. You are never stuck in one spot,” said Dan Vassallo, web developer at Trendsetter Media & Marketing.
“You know in the 1960s and ’70s this was the Googleplex before there was such a thing. So, you know there was amazing renovations that happened here. You have cell phone technology, the transistor, they were working on laser beam technology here, corroboration on the Big Bang Theory. You know the thing is now we’re getting into the next generation, now it’s sort of re-imagining you know what happened here into the 21st century,” said Sean Donohue, co-founder and executive director of Vi Coworking.
The state of New Jersey is dotted with these corporate campuses and the hotels, restaurants and strip malls that sprang up around them during the height of suburban sprawl. But these work places struggle to attract millennials who flock to cities in droves.
“Think about New Jersey, how much time people in New Jersey spend driving into New York or Philadelphia, the time you spend in the tunnel, in traffic just to get to a space that tickles your creative fancy, gets you thinking, meet interesting people, grab a bite to eat, go out for lunch, go to work out,” said Ralph Zucker, president of Somerset Development.
It’s part of a live, play, work environment for the on-the-go generation that never unplugs.
“They want like fun things to happen at work and I think primarily because there is no end to their day. I think they work not 9 to 5 but all the way around the clock. Their phone goes with them everywhere and that is their office,” said Shannon Winning, co-owner of Marketing Rival.
Experts say if you are looking to attract the best and brightest, it takes a little more than a brand new workspace and flexible hours. That little something extra is in the eye of the beholder and it’s all in a day’s work.