The global analytics firm Gallup recently estimated that there are now 73 million millennials in America. The massive demographic includes those born between 1981 and 1996, meaning that many have entered or are about to enter the workforce. To that note, in another recent study it was reported that more than one-in-three (35%) American labor force participants are in fact millennials – making them the largest generation in our workforce today.
As millennials and now Generation Z are rapidly entering and taking over the workplace, they have influenced how collaboration and communication, as well as business, gets done. Gone are the days of strictly email communications, only having conference calls around a large meeting room table, and limited flexibility for staff. Media and film have many thinking of a vision of open floor plans with game rooms and beers on tap, but that’s not exactly how millennials have shaped the workplace. Instead, they are comfortable with mobile technology and cloud applications that provide new opportunities to get work done, wherever that might be.
Hand-Held, Immediate Communication
Today, almost everyone is constantly connected or can be accessed via a smartphone or tablet. On-demand technologies and services such as Amazon, Google, and Uber have completely changed the way people live, work, and play. With so many services right at our fingertips, we are seeing a shift in how people expect business transactions to occur, too.
The influence has spilled over into business applications and introduced the growing adoption of chat apps. Not only are organizations looking to implement them into their communications strategy, but they are doing so and finding positive results. Chat apps are convenient, they are quick, and they’re easy to access. More importantly, they are boosting productivity and allowing those in the workplace to collaborate on projects – from any location, at any time. To add, management can monitor workplace communication and engagement to ensure teams are yielding results.
Not only does this shape the way businesses are handling communications internally, but for consumer-facing communication, companies are developing apps and conversational marketing channels to streamline shopping, customer support, and more.
The Millennial Workforce Ecosystem
With the acceptance of chat apps and other collaboration tools, technology has allowed for the office environment to be reimagined. Today, an office can be anywhere a connected device is. The open office plan might seem great for productivity and collaboration, but no two people are alike and peak productivity can be achieved at different times, in different settings.
Conference calls can be held through headphones while taking a walk around the building, a website redesign can be created in a café, and a team meeting could be held from home via video chat.
Adjusting to these new communication standards of the dominant millennial will prove to be advantageous for companies.
Work/Life Balance is Becoming the Rule, Not the Exception
I’m sure you’ve been seeing the headlines about burnout syndrome. It’s real. Some of the most successful business people have suffered from it. Arianna Huffington has been very open about her experiences with work overload and claims it’s the best thing that has ever happened to her.
Companies must acknowledge and take the condition seriously. Implementing a company culture that embraces a work/life balance will help keep staff productive, motivated, and feeling as if their work, and life, matters. With technology, workers can travel and work from home while still being connected should they have to check in on their projects.
Joshua Reeves, CEO and Co-Founder of ZenPayroll, even goes as far as offering his employees unlimited vacation time because he says, “flexible vacation policy helps build an ownership mentality. We want our employees to think like owners and consider what’s best for both themselves and the company. Letting them figure out their own vacation time shows that we trust and respect them, which in turn strengthens their commitment to the company.”
It seems that many businesses are taking notice and offering a more flexible work style. In a study conducted by Condeco Software, it was noted that the States is ranking the highest for offering remote work than any other country. Companies across all industries are implementing the perk – such as Amazon, Cigna, and General Electric. Kudos to those for using technology to benefit the company and the people who help make it run.
The Future of the Workplace
Millennials and Generation Z oftentimes get a bad rap for their work ethic but, they’re just creating a new norm with what they are given. As the generations are estimated to consist of 75 percent of the workforce by 2030, if you haven’t yet, it’s time to consider your workplace culture and communication strategy.
No one truly knows where technology is taking us, but tomorrow is closer than we think and embracing change brought on by digitally-native millennials will help prioritize company culture, social responsibility, and ensure that your workers are doing what they love.
Stephen Wakeling is a wireless industry entrepreneur with a 10-year track record of developing disruptive, technology-powered services. He is the co-founder and CEO of Phobio, LLC -- a software development company that builds optimized software services to support wireless carriers and retailers. Phobio provides outstanding service and support to wireless retailers around the world and to technology companies, such as Apple, Verizon and Samsung.
Phobio’s flagship product is Safetrade, a device trade-in software that offers simple solutions, unmatched support and a risk-free program that guarantees device values to wireless retailers. In 2017, Phobio successfully launched its second product -- Rodio -- which provides a two-way communication system designed specifically for enterprises to send important updates and messages to remote and geographically-dispersed teams with ease, and that utilizes AI to maximize team engagement.
Stephen holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and is an alumnus of Harvard Business School. He is a journalist by education, a technologist at heart, and, as an entrepreneur, he thrives on start-up culture and his personal mission to build things better. Stephen is also an avid pilot, who has moved frequently in his career, living throughout the US, Australia and Asia. Currently, he lives in Atlanta with his wife and two sons.
Stephen can be reached at LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenwakeling
See also: Insight: Facing the Future