Understanding the 4 Generations in the Workplace

We are fast approaching a workplace that will be shared by four generations with very different work experiences.

Each generation will have different expectations on when, where and how to work. Understanding each demographic group and providing flexibility I essential in accommodating the needs of each generation. What will draw the four groups to an agile office are the facilities that will cater to their working paradigm.

We asked one person from each generation what they felt set their generation apart. Here are their responses.

Baby Boomers (Born 1945 – 1964)

I am part of a generation that are known as the Baby Boomers. I was born during the baby boom after World War Two ended when the economy was in turmoil, but on the boom. Hard work has become something that has defined me, and my plan is to have a ‘job-for-life’, which means that I have extensive knowledge about the company I work for. I value productivity and hard graft, and prefer to collaborate face-to-face rather than send an email. I believe that because of my hard-working nature my company is looking at ways to keep Baby Boomers in the workplace as our knowledge and skillsets are required for survival in today’s challenging environment.

Generation X (Born 1965 – 1979)

I am part of a generation called Generation X. I grew up in a recession, so both my parents went to work, and I became one of the ‘latch-key kids’. I am generally independent and resourceful in the way that I approach work. I grew up in the time of conspiracy theories, so I tend to be sceptical and I am always ready to challenge matters, and get to the bottom of issues. As a manager, I believe I have earned my private office, and like to keep an eye on my team. All this means I find the concept of agile working quite a challenge. I value flexibility and privacy and I may look to leave an organisation if this is not available to me.

Generation Y (Born 1980 – 1994)

I am Generation Y. This is the age of digital media, and I find that it is just second nature for me. I have thousands of virtual friends which means that I can tap into markets that older generations are not going to be able to get close to. My parents are the Baby Boomers generation and whilst they often work long hours I don’t want to be like them and am looking for work-life balance, and trying out new experiences. Having been through university, I have already embraced campus mentality which is very similar to the agile working concept, hence I want my workplace to be the same. I find that I am most productive working in Starbucks on my laptop. I see work as an extension of myself and I have adopted a non-traditional method of ‘anywhere and anytime’ working. I have lots of different skills and like the idea of regularly changing jobs for variety.

Generation Z (Born 1995 – 2009)

I am Generation Z. I am at school and looking forward to going through college. I anticipate entering the workforce in the next few years. Whilst I have been growing up the talk has been the global recession, so I have become more financially aware than my parents’ generation. Terrorism has created an uncertain world, so I am seeking stability and am looking for a ‘job-for-life’. I would rather develop my skills by watching videos on YouTube, than sitting in a training room with lots of other people. I can’t imagine life without technology, and I am used to the 24/7 demands of the anywhere and anytime lifestyle. I find that a fast-paced and constantly challenging work environment is vital to stop me becoming bored and listless.

The four different generations require very different working environments in order to help them achieve maximum productivity. If you are interested in driving better workplace performance, and would like to understand more about the generations in your workplace then get in touch with one of our Workplace Consultants today.