As generations have changed over the years, so too has the workplace. And now, with the imminent arrival of the tech-savvy ‘Generation Z’, it begs the question: how will the workplace change in the coming years?
Let’s look at the generations that have come before them, and how the office will be optimised when the newbies arrive!
Born between the years of 1925 and 1945, traditionalists were financially savvy due to living through several periods of economic hardship. In contrast to later generations, however, they were less motivated by big salaries.
Traditionalists wore formal attire, and were typically very courteous. Given that many would have retired before the digital age, it is no surprise that they were good at personal communication.
Office style: Traditionalists will remember the first open plan offices, where employees sat face-to-back in rows.
The next generation are the children of the Traditionalists, which came after World War 2. Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, and are characterised by being highly competitive. This is partly because they were part of the post-war baby boom, meaning employment was a genuine battle.
Much like the traditionalists, their preferred communication method is personal contact, but do use the phone a lot more.
Office style: Baby Boomers will have memories of the infamous 1980s cubicle farms, where each individual desk was surrounded by walls.
Born between the years of 1965 and 1980, generation X are fiercely independent thinkers. They’re often seen as skeptics who question other people’s intentions, although this could come down to them being well educated.
Unlike previous generations, they prefer to use a variety of communications including phone, email and text. They also like to have a much more flexible way of working, which allows them to have a healthy work/life balance.
Office style: With the advent of the internet, many trendy ‘dot.com’ companies opted for small, quirky offices in the late 1990s.
Generation Y (or Millennials)
Born around the years of 1981 and 2000, millennials have a very different attitude to work. Their focus is on being physically and emotionally engaged on a regular basis.
Due to the fact they so accustomed to technology, Millennials predominantly use PCs and mobile devices to complete tasks and communicate. This makes them the most tech savvy generation to date.
Office style: With question marks over the effectiveness of open and closed plan offices, many companies are now introducing work zones. This way employees can choose how the want to work, whether it be alone in a cubicle area, or with others on a shared desk.
The Next Generation
There are a few names for the upcoming generation of workers, but one of the most popular seems to be ‘Generation Z’. This generation were born between 2000 & now,meaning that it wont be long until they start appearing in the workforce.
As we’ve already seen with millennials, the next generation may not want to be restricted to a desk 24/7. Instead, they may want to be able to balance their work priorities alongside their daily lives. By bringing in elements such as snooker tables and sofas, the new generation will experience more of a work/life balance.
In order to meet the needs of the ever changing workforce, companies must adapt. By creating a welcoming social environment and keeping up-to-date with technology, attracting the new generation into the workplace will be a cake walk.
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