A-Z of the future workplace:

Gen X

Over the years, many studies have considered the differences between generations in the workplace. As the generations age, these findings begin to develop and change. Because of this, we have taken a look into the life of a Gen X, Y and Z at work and considered how we believe this will change in years to come.

Introducing Angela – Generation X. 

Angela works for an IT software company as their HR manager and has been working there for the past 8 years.

When starting at the company, Angela made sure that they had a flexible working policy in place as having a work life balance is very important to her. Angela has a 9 year old daughter and a 14 year old son. Flexible working means more to her than job advancement, as she wants to be able to organise the school drop off and pick up times around her work schedule. She likes to be home late afternoon to help her children with their homework and organise their evening routines. Growing up in the ‘latch-key’ generation, both of her parents went to work during her childhood, due to the recession at the time. Because of this, she wanted to be more present in her children’s routines.

Angela is hardworking and focused with a great work ethic, but believes that she is at work to live, rather than the baby boomer ideals that people live to work. She ensures to be as productive as possible during the working day, as she understands that flexible working is a give and take system based on trust with her employer.

Over the years, Angela has experienced many different office environments. She has worked for companies where she was expected to come in at the crack of dawn and leave late in the evening; companies where she would work in dull and dreary office with no atmosphere. Going into her current role, Angela emphasised how important flexibility was to her, as well as wanting to work in a positive, fun and fast paced company. Her company always ensure make that everyone is feeling engaged, offering free breakfast and lunch, as well as having a bright and modern office environment which allows for a fantastic office culture to blossom.

Two years ago, her company decided to implement an agile working strategy which was a completely new concept to her. Throughout Angela’s career, she had always had a set desk or office, so to be able to work wherever whenever during the day was a lot for her to take in. Being in HR, she needs to have somewhere to go for 1:1 meetings and to take private phone calls. This was taken into consideration during their office fit out and led to an acoustic meeting pod being installed.

Angela has slowly learnt to work in an agile environment and has noticed that it has had a positive impact it has had on her daily working life. Working in HR, agile working has allowed her to choose to sit with different teams on any given day, offering support and guidance to employees throughout the day. Being more present around the office rather than in a set office, makes her more approachable, so agile working has in fact impacted and improved her working style.

Angela has a good understanding of how to use computers as she has grown up with them and watched them evolve into what they are today. She feels at ease with some smart technologies and will use programs such as Microsoft Outlook to her advantage. When being introduced to new technologies she can find it slightly overwhelming and tends to seek advice from her Gen Y and Gen Z colleagues. She is happy to ask for help from these generations regarding IT issues as she knows that her colleagues will approach her with other queries within the business.

Angela welcomes learning new information from her younger colleagues and is always happy to help them with their queries regarding communication skills, leadership style and general life experience. She feels respected by her Gen Y and Z colleagues and enjoys working with different demographics in the workplace.

Generation X have had a huge influence on the shift between living to work and working to live. Angela’s generation were the first to accept flexibility and agility, with millennials and Gen Z now present in the workplace now expecting and embracing this movement. They have aided these developments in the workplace which we should see become commonplace in future workspaces.