How millennials are changing work as we know it
It is estimated that millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025. Soon, they will be intrinsic to the future of business.
Though the definition can vary, a millennial is generally considered to be someone who was born in the 1980s or the 1990s. Ranging from their early 20s to their late 30s, millennials will begin to take over workplaces in the next ten years.
To some, this may be a worrying thought as millennials often fall victim to negative stereotypes. Some say they are lazy, high maintenance or cannot interact face to face, just because they grew up surrounded by technology and receiving positive reassurance from the adults around them.
Though the stereotypes are often untrue, these characteristics of their upbringing have had an effect on millennials’ expectations at the office.
They may be considered high maintenance, but they are also high performing and as they invade the office, they will change workplace culture and how we work.
They have a different approach to many things and as they enter the workforce, they bring with them a new perception of what office life should be like.
Here are a few of the ways their growing influence is likely to change work as we know it:
1. Introducing flexible working hours
Millennials have grown up packing their schedules with activities, whether they are playing sports, travelling or going to events.
They have commitments to friends, family and hobbies and expect to maintain a work-life balance instead of working a sixty-hour week like some generations before them.
Many of the companies on last year’s Best Workplaces for Millennials in the US offered flexible hours to employees.
Millennials aren’t afraid to ask to leave work early to make it to their spoken word performance. But this isn’t a bad thing as studies show that flexible workers are happier at work, less stressed and much more productive than employees who work 9-5.
If this practice spreads through the workplace, flexi-time can benefit employers, as well as employees.
2. Switching up company communications
Having grown up surrounded by an array of digital communications, millennials are accustomed to instant communication whether that be via text, WhatsApp or Snapchat. They are well used to using many platforms to send messages, and as digital natives can intuitively use most others.
Workplaces can say goodbye to the formalities of email – and perhaps using email altogether. As the influence of millennials takes hold in the workplace, it is more likely that mobile-friendly communication tools will be used and language will become more informal, as the fast and instantaneous responses that millennials have come to expect become the norm.
It is also likely that we’ll see more telecommuting in workplaces as flexi-time becomes the norm and millennials introduce their technologically savvy ways.
3. Social justice as an office concern
The high level of education many millennials have received and the prominence of the media has meant that millennials tend to be more dedicated to social justice than generations that came before.
They want to make an impact on the greater good and want to work for a company that is socially conscious too.
4. Mentoring and guidance
Receiving the praise of parents and teachers in their childhood doesn’t mean that millennials expect a trophy just for showing up to work. However, they do expect a different relationship with their bosses to previous generations.
In the office, they want a mentor they can work with, rather than a boss that tells them exactly what to do. They expect to be engaged with and their talents to be recognised. If an employer is interested in employees’ personal growth, they will have a stronger relationship with millennial workers – and probably everyone else in the company.
5. More collaborative workplace environments
Millennials are used to being constantly connected and work well collaborating with others on team-based projects.
While out of the office on flexi-time, they have no problem using online collaborative tools like Teamwork or Basecamp. But when they are in the office, collaborative workspaces work best for them.
A collaborative atmosphere where thoughts can be shared openly will spark innovative ideas, help identify workplace problems early and build a more connected workplace.
A collaborative environment also makes feedback for employees an easy task and feeds into creating a culture of guidance and mentoring.
6. A culture of job hopping
Millennials want to grow and develop their skills, but if they don’t receive the mentoring they expect they might outgrow the company.
Last year, a Gallup report showed that 21% of millennials in the US had changed jobs within the last year, which was three times higher than non-millennials. It also found that 60% of them were open to a new job opportunity.
The days of staying with one company for life are over, but by creating a collaborative, socially conscious, caring workplace culture companies can keep their millennial employees onboard.
Millennials are noted for their use and familiarity with communications, media, and digital technologies, as well as their social conscience. All this will play into the workplaces that they build up around them. But their influence will create a better workplaces for everyone.