Older generations often criticize young people for interacting only through their phones – yet it turns out they couldn’t be more wrong. And whatever your age, that has serious implications for the space where your work.
Right about now, more than 60m members of Generation Z – the first fully-digital generation – are flooding into workplaces all over the world.
They’re not latecomers to the digital party, like so many workers; and they are even more used to constant connectivity than Millennials.
But when it comes to work, there are a few differences – and amazingly, one of those is that Gen Zers feel a greater need for face-to-face communications.
In fact, 90% of these young people say they want some form of human interaction in their working day, according to Forbes.
So as your evolving workplace stretches once again to accommodate yet another generation with its own particular needs, there are several things you need to remember.
- Face time.
Most generations regard video conferencing as a plus; it cuts down travel time with the associated stress.
Gen-Zers in particular appreciate the face time, rather than an audio call, and will feel more supported in this visual environment.
So it’s important to make sure this valuable tool is readily available to all. Despite being useful, research shows that employees of all generations will shy away from setting up a video conference if it’s difficult to organise – this can particularly be the case in multi-location organisations.
Give your Gen-Z workers and their colleagues an easy route to video collaboration with workspace scheduling technology that finds and books space in all relevant locations, and keeps all delegates informed.
- Digital downtime.
Can even the most tech-savvy of workers feel workplace burnout? Absolutely – particularly the young generations who are accustomed to the always-on life.
Your workspace scheduling technology should enable remote working so they can step back from time to time – but always feel support is at hand when they need it.
- Feeding time.
No, not organic snacks (although that’s no bad idea…) The nourishment I’m talking about is feedback; something that is often sadly lacking in any workplace.
Use the easy, seamless communications provided by your workspace system to keep in touch, to provide reassurance, guidance and the opportunity for improvement
Did you know:
60% of Gen-Zers say they would like their manager to check in several times daily, even when the news is bad – they are the generation that regards failure in the most positive light, with eight in ten regarding it as a chance to get better.
In other words, they are granting well-engaged managers an unprecedented opportunity to grow productivity in a young workforce.
- Together time.
It’s sad to report that today’s open plan workplace can actually generate pockets of loneliness where the environment isolates rather than engages – see our previous report.
Gen Z are vulnerable to this, as are most generations; your oldest workers may feel the lack of privacy while making phone calls, while the younger ones can feel they are under the same kind of scrutiny that can make social media a burden to them.
The answer is to create a working environment that offers as many options as possible, to allow each employee to create a personalised workspace that encourages their best work.
We’re seeing hyper-personalisation as a growing trend in many areas of our lives – eating out, for instance, and retail. For young workers, it’s a given.
So allow them to personalise their work environment in a way that makes them comfortable and productive.
Give them workspace scheduling technology that allows them to stipulate a quiet spot, or an informal one, or even a warm place to sit; help them to meet in ways that sparks collaboration – whether that’s a bean-bag area, a cosy sofa or a formal room with presentation facilities.
But will other generations be left out?
That’s not something you need to worry about. While each generation is different, you are not taking facilities away – simply adding to the choice available.
That can’t be bad.
Gen Z may be very young, and they may be very new to our workplaces, but we can still learn from them – and their preferred ways of working may well prove beneficial to everyone.
- Learn more about transforming your workplace for worker wellbeing: