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4 ways Gen Z is reshaping office life

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay | 03 February 2020


Generation Z is set to make up over 30% of the Australian workforce by 2025 – and being the first cohort of employees with an emphasis on new technologies, work-life harmony, and environmental initiatives, companies must start paving the way for new, progressive workplace values and demands.

In fact, this new batch of workers is predicted to redefine working culture altogether; turning established systems and ideas – from career priorities to the traditional 9-5 schedule – on their heads, in favour of more “human”-focused concepts.

SkillsTalk discuss the four major ways Gen Z is reshaping the modern workforce, and what this means for your business.

How is Gen Z reshaping office life?

  1. Greener, highly digitised, and more accommodating workspaces.
  2. A more flexible, balanced schedule.
  3. More meaningful work relationships.
  4. Greater focus on self-development.

1. Greener, highly digitised, and more accommodating workspaces.

nice office space

Raised as digital natives, and creating the first technologically fluent generation; Gen Z employees are typically drawn to workspaces of modern, innovative technology

As individuals used to constant internet connectivity, businesses will have to consider if their WiFi bandwidth or communications systems are up-to-par: for example, do you take advantage of messaging or video conference platforms such as Skype or Slack? Does your internet speed support seamless music or video streaming? (As a generation reliant on image and video-led information, rather than long-form, written text – this is a must.)

Gen Z workers are also more dependent on automated systems, with a willingness to hand over their personal data for such convenience. They also lean towards a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) workplace culture, along with a BYOA (Bring Your Own Application) culture; allowing them to personally choose devices and applications that best suit their productivity. 

Additionally, with value placed on flexible, irregular schedules; the lines between work and home life are further blurred among the new generation. Such individuals thus often expect a more accommodating workspace to tend to their lifestyle needs – such as shower, laundry, and locker facilities, exclusive gym access, and a dynamic environment of stylish, ergonomic furniture. 

Being more environmentally aware, companies are also urged to prioritise recyclable materials, energy conservation initiatives, water policies, and indoor air quality management plans to align with the “greener”, sustainable values of Gen Z.

2. A more flexible, balanced schedule.

Compared to previous generations, Gen Z workers are commonly known for demanding a better work-life balance; often opting for greater flexibility and remote work options when seeking employment. In fact, HRD Magazine reported that 37% of “Gen Zers” listed these factors as key determinants during a job search, followed by salary (33%) and quality work-life balance (31%). 

Though commonly jeered at by baby boomers as having “lazy” or “entitled” mindsets, many would argue that the new generation may be the first to truly understand the needs of workers – along with the “proper role” of work in life. Rather than handing their entire life to the working world, Gen Z workers place greater awareness on mental health, wellness, and combating the ever-pressing concern of workplace burnout. 

Companies are thus encouraged to embrace “flex time” and remote work, as this demonstrates their value towards a worker’s wellbeing, and provides them the option to step back and take a break – if necessary. Such workplace cultures have been proven to result in a better overall quality of life, lower stress levels, and workers getting more sleep. 

Modern technology has also crafted this mindset; with social media platforms, countless apps, and software available to connect people at all times. As a generation raised by such innovations, many often don’t see the point of physically being at an office to work. 

As such, 85% have expressed a desire to telecommunicate to work full-time, according to a survey by Akken Cloud. Though still an highly unconventional notion for many employers, it’s been found that remote work can actually lead to a 13% increase in efficiency, with 59% of workers believing it improves their overall output. 

Additionally, statistics show that 1 in 3 Gen Zers would “never tolerate” an employer who gives them zero say over their work schedule, with 1 in 4 stating they would work harder and stay longer at a company that supports flexible work options

3. More meaningful work relationships.

young adults working

Interestingly enough, despite being the most plugged-in, digitally-reliant generation - 90% of Gen Z report to wanting more human interactions and partnerships woven into their work. Such connections are ranked as a main priority among most when hunting down prospective jobs. 

This involves the desire for more managerial feedback. Those supervising or training Gen Z employees are encouraged to offer more guidance, mentorship, and time with their workers – positively impacting their productivity and work output. Though most prefer telecommuting, HRD magazine shows that over half (54%) of those working in-office desire in-person check-ins, rather than through digital communication platforms. 

Gen Zers also value a collaborative, team-oriented environment, with plenty stating that they’d often enlist the help of their peers when faced with unsolvable challenges. Many also desire to work with colleagues who can challenge their limits and motivate them to better their skills. 

However, this doesn’t dismiss the importance of new technologies, with experts suggesting that businesses entwine the use of high-tech systems with human connection. This could include using video chats instead of phone calls, and leveraging social media and collaboration apps to foster constant teamwork and social interaction. 

4. Greater focus on self-development.

Finally, Gen Z workers are known for their (arguably) healthier mentality on failure and self-improvement. Too often, both employees and employers are guilty of viewing failures or missteps as roadblocks; rather than opportunities to learn and grow.

Generation Z, on the other hand, embraces such incidentsusing them as lessons and stepping stones towards innovation

Furthermore, over two-thirds (70%) of these workers place high value on having a curious, “growth” mindset rather than possessing the right skills and expertise off the bat. Plenty are thus more open to new challenges outside of their comfort zone, a beneficial trait for innovative employers.

Gen Zers are also more active participants in their self-development, with plenty seeking out opportunities to reskill. This falls in line with employer values on the subject, as most (96%, according to a survey by CNBC) believe that employee upskilling is crucial to combat the rise of job automation

LinkedIn statistics show that 76% of Gen Z professionals hold upskilling in high regard, believing that today’s necessary skills are different to those of past generations. Most also predict that their job won’t exist “in the same form” 20 years from now. 

Reports have also found that much of Generation Z is skipping higher education altogether – jumping straight into the workforce and opting, instead, for online courses. This gives them a sense of independence at an early age, with the flexibility to acquire practical work experience as they study. 

As the years usher in a new generation of workers, it’s important to adjust to evolving workplace trends, concerns, and values – helping you attract and retain the best possible talent of the modern era. While much of the above notions remain unconventional and thus, a subject of scepticism among many employers; as a workplace progresses with the job market, so does its overall business growth. 

Foster a workplace of continuous learning

As mentioned, Gen Z workers place great priority on continual professional development. Upskilled offers over 80 nationally-recognised qualifications among a wide range of Australia’s thriving industries – including courses in business, information technology, community services, and many more. Encourage further training and skills advancement with an added element of flexibility; as all programs are delivered 100%, allowing students to work and pursue other commitments while maintaining an education. 

Create a work culture of constant growth, and enquire with Upskilled on a course today. 
 
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