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Best Work Environments for Millennials By Personality

Figuring out your "work personality" will help determine if your potential employer’s workplace is the right fit for you

It’s no secret that millennials are changing the way of the workplace. Gone are the days when cubicle and company were synonymous — now millennial-led startups pop up in cities at an astonishing rate — nearly 400,000 businesses born in the U.S. alone each year — welcoming team members into environments ranging from home offices to loft-like communal office spaces, to coffee shop pop-up offices.

The BPW Foundation estimates that by 2025, 75 percent of the global workforce will be millennials. This finding begs an important question. Where do millennials do their best work?

Of course, at work there isn’t a one-size-fits-all model for a preferred environment and not everyone has a choice. Some people like coffee shops; others find respite in a quiet cubical. Still others work best in an open-layout office. 

These three work environments, while different from one another in a variety of ways, are actually great fits for different work personalities.

6 Types of Personalities and Their Work Environments

Image courtesy of Indiana University South Bend

Introducing the Holland Codes, a respected theory developed by psychologist John Holland that matches career choices based upon personality types, which is defined by these six: Realistic (Doers), Investigative (Thinkers), Artistic (Creators), Social (Helpers), Enterprising (Persuaders) and Conventional (Organizers).

While it’s difficult to box somebody into one “work personality,” it seems useful to determine your primary personality in order to make certain your potential employer’s workplace will be the right fit for you, as companies are offering more workplace options than ever for their new generation of workers.

For example, Artistic (Creators) often feel stifled in a cubicle environment, while Realistic (Doers) feel focused.

Coffee Shops

Family Records, a Brooklyn-based global record label and artist management firm, actually worked from New York coffee shops for six weeks straight when their new office space was being readied. Founder Wesley Verhoeve was so inspired by the creativity and productivity he and his team experienced that he wrote a leadership article for Fast Company entitled, “Why You Should Work From A Coffee Shop, Even When You Have An Office.”

As a writer, some of my best characters in short stories I’ve written were conceived in coffee shops; they’ve come from people who walk through the front door to grab a cup of coffee, stolen from a curious facial expression or a snippet of overheard dialogue. What’s that you say? You almost accidentally burned down your family’s cabin last week? Tell me more.

But even when I’m not mining conversation for short stories, a coffee shop environment is where I get my best work done. The constant din of people conversing, espresso machines turning on and off and bright jazz on the radio — they keep my ideas flowing and productivity high. Or maybe it’s just the massive amount of caffeine coursing through my veins.

As it turns out, science supports my noise-bent preference. In a 2012 study published by The University of Chicago Press, researchers studied how ambient noise affects creative cognition. They found that “a moderate (70 dB) versus low (50 dB) level of ambient noise enhances performance on creative tasks.”

Open-Office Workplaces

An open-office workplace has its distinct advantages, too. The nature of the setup encourages collaboration and communication among co-workers — perfect for Holland’s Investigative (Thinkers) and popular among technology companies and startups everywhere. Holland offers computer engineers, technical writers and dieticians as potential career choices for “Thinkers.” For businesses that have a constantly fluctuating number of staff, an open-layout office can be accommodating to these personnel changes and office personalities as well.


And while cubicles may be going out of fashion for millennials, for Holland’s Realistic (Doers) and Enterprising (Persuaders), the traditional workspace may be the best option. Cubicles offer an organized, quiet, contained environment that allows for honing in on tasks getting things done, while maintaining proximity to the co-workers and team members you have to speak with on a daily basis. Some of the careers that Holland offers for “Persuaders” (Enterprising) are management consultant, lawyer and human resources specialist.

Whatever your preferred spot to work, one thing is certain — with the number of millennials streaming into the workforce in the coming years, they will be the ones to shape new standards of workplace environment.  

Monster Wants to Know: Where do you get your best work done? Do you have a choice? Is it in the quiet din of a coffee shop? In the solitude of your cubicle? At home? Share with us in the comment section.

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