Work/Life Balance: Rethinking design for the millennial lifestyle


For Baby Boomers, a standard measure of success was marked by a corner office and three-story suburban home. For millennials, “making it” includes finding a cozy studio in Brooklyn and working in an office designed by Frank Gehry, replete with napping pods in the breakroom.

In the worlds of work and play, technology’s influence on society is everywhere, and is especially present in the millennial mentality of social responsibility. Millennials are described as more “socially conscious” than any other generation, having adopted a culture of ubiquitous sharing.  From inhabiting rentals on Airbnb to commuting with Uber Pool, Generation Y practices a lifestyle reliant on constant connectivity and social interaction with like-minded individuals.

Slowly but surely, modern design has developed to reflect the tendencies of this socially conscious, hyper-connected millennial culture, revamping the workplace and home in its wake.

Here’s the latest and greatest startups disrupting the professional and personal lives of millennials through design.

1Getaway: The Tiny House

Getaway was founded out of the Millennial Housing Lab, a Harvard Innovation Lab project. Getaway allows people to “test drive” the tiny house market, which offers a more efficient lifestyle and retreat away from today’s complexities. It allows occupants to leave a smaller carbon footprint by curtailing urban sprawl and using less resources through decreased amounts of heating and cooling. As technology is allowing many people to move away from densely populated cities inundated by overpriced housing markets, the tiny house movement would also permit millennials to be able to afford becoming homeowners. Getaway’s inaugural house, Ovida, even boasts a queen bed, zinc shower, and composting toilet. Au Naturel, indeed.

2The Good Mod: The Shared Layout
Portland, Oregon-based studio and retailer, The Good Mod, develops furniture for the modern-day office. Good Mod caters to the open-plan model of the contemporary workplace, with office furniture designed for laptops and shared desk space. Their inventory offers a variety of midcentury style furniture, including chairs, loveseats, sofas, and Ping Pong conference tables.

3Your Position: The Anywhere Desk

Inspired by both the home and the office, Your Position is a workspace system that is completely adjustable depending on the user’s preference. With possibilities for domestic or professional use, the L-shaped design on wheels is flexible as a standing or sitting desk. The design’s storage boxes and lighting system can also be adjusted to suit the on-the-move millennial.

4Design Blitz: The Moss Wall

Design Blitz is an entrepreneurial architecture and interior design firm specializing in commercial and residential design. Popular in the new-age office, the firm often integrates moss walls into their designs. The self-sustaining vertical indoor garden is the new outdoor oasis, bringing nature inside for the plugged-in employee.

5Casper: The Bed-in-a-Box
Casper is an award-winning sleep startup that sells mattresses online directly to customers. The mattress itself was developed by a team of product engineers with experience from IDEO, and offers a “just right” level of comfort along with a sleek latex and memory foam design. The kicker? The mattress is delivered directly to customers’ doors in an impossibly small box, with a 100-day in-home trial and a 10-year warranty.