Remote Work: is it a generational divide? 👶⚡️🧑🦳
There's a lot of talk about divergence of opinions. But where do they come from?
There’s been, and still will be, a lot of talk about remote work. Employees and employers have different opinions.
But does it all boil down to a ‘generational’ divide?
#1 Concern for GenZs and Millenials is the cost of living
With inflation rates climbing at a 41-year highs, it’s no wonder that millennials and members of Gen Z are very concerned about the current cost of living. A new survey finds that almost half of individuals belonging to these two generations are living paycheck to paycheck — and that nearly a third of them worry about not being able to retire comfortably.
In a new study by Deloitte, this comes out clearly as the #1 issues that these generations are facing.
So why is there such a divergence of opinions between GenZ/Millenials and employers?
More than half of the global CEOs are in their 50s
Simple - employers are mostly managers or CEOs, and they’re in they’re mostly from GenX (50+):
And the trend is not improving (as recent data suggests disturbing trends among executives):
But what does this imply? A widening wealth gap, that sees Millenials as one of the poorest generations, and with a widening CEO/Worker pay too.
So that all boils down to:
A generational divide that sees employers as GenX; with different experience, values, and wealth.
An ever-more stressful (not just due to inflation/cost of living, but also due to climate change, mental health, incapability to disconnect..etc) context and future perspective for GenZ and Millenials, who thanks to the Pandemic, got to stop and think about their priorities and opportunites. A survey from workflow management platform Asana found that 84% of Gen Z reported experiencing burnout in the last year, compared to 63% of all workers who said they’ve felt burned out. Deloitte’s research also found that 46% of Gen Z workers were “stressed or anxious all or most of the time” and that stress is frequently tied directly to a poor work-life balance.
So how can employers retain employees and the latter be happier?
First of all, by understanding and acknowledging their problems - and catering to their - different - needs.
Always according to Deloitte’s study, here are the top reasons employees are weighing on:
This means accomodating more flexibility in remote but also flexible hours, more paid time off - as well as recalibrating salaries according to the market and rising inflation.
But also, by making them really empowered in the workplace:
Another recent study by Gallup, covered by a HBR article - suggests that stress levels are at all-time highs and suggests thinking about wellness in broader terms but also pursuing more frequent and better monitoring:
1️⃣ Think beyond physical wellness to capture the broader dimensions of overall wellbeing. Capture the broader dimensions of overall wellbeing: social, financial, career, and community wellbeing.
2️⃣ Capture data on how employees are doing. Wellbeing can be measured in a scientifically valid way, and it can be correlated with performance outcomes.
3️⃣ Make employee care a permanent part of organizational culture. The percentage of employees who feel that their employer cares about their wellbeing has plummeted, and the consequences reach beyond the absence of warm feelings. They include lower engagement, higher burnout, and more employees looking for new job opportunities elsewhere.
The way I see it, we’re living a ‘big bang’ kind of chaotic moment, given such an unexpected and existential change happened over such a short period of time - and with many thing piling on top (namely a 3rd world-like war scenario).
But to make sense of it, the first thing that both parties need to do, is to understand why there are these different opinions - by listening. Something it seems we are unfortunately less prepared to do.
📕Other interesting reads
Why the return to the office isn’t working - “I don’t gain anything besides a commute.” and “why are we here?” seem to be frequent comments - and as more and more knowledge workers return to the office, their experience at work — their ability to focus, their stress levels, their level of satisfaction at work — has deteriorated.
How many workers are filing into the office right now? - seems like Return To Office (RTO) plans are still quite a mess, with many roll-backs from initial plans:
Last month, Apple delayed its policy of mandatory office attendance at least three times a week for workers at its corporate headquarters, citing a rise in Covid-19 cases in the Bay Area.
Some companies are scaling back RTO plans in light of soaring gas prices. “We are seeing many organizations start to take a step back in light of a very dramatic and rampant spike in gas prices,” Mercer workplace expert Ravin Jesuthasan told CBS News in April.
You can also check out a weekly tracker/barometer from an office-space provider showing the trend of office occupancy in the US (currently averaging at 44%).