A-Z of the future workplace:

Gen Z

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 Emma – Generation Z. 

Emma is a graduate business and marketing student, who has just started her first graduate job for a small media company in her rural home town.

She decided to work near her family home, as this way she could continue to live with her parents to save money. Having grown up during the 2008/2009 recession, she watched her parents go through job uncertainty and financial difficulty. She learnt how to be frugal with her finances, especially having just finished at university where she heavily relied on her student loan.

When applying for jobs, her current role stood out to her because the company demonstrated that they have a huge consideration for social responsibility. Emma considers environmental sustainability, charity, ethical practices and economic responsibility to be subjects that she is very passionate about. The developments in research regarding climate change during her formative years have contributed to her extensive knowledge on the subject. When researching hiring companies, she checked their websites for transparency regarding their policies.

Since going into the workplace, Emma has been most concerned about feeling valued and having her work recognised. She understands the fact that she is still learning, so welcomes feedback which can help her improve. Growing up, Emma would always experience routine feedback from an early age at school, clubs, and later, university. This became a normal way for her to develop and improve in everything she did, so she expected this when moving into the workplace. Her key focus is to learn as much as she can from her colleagues, rather than being concerned about being promoted quickly.

The company that she works for offers career-focussed perks and professional development opportunities, such as training courses. Emma is excited to get started on a training course in SEO to further her marketing knowledge. She sees future development and knowledge gained as more influential for her career. In school, she enjoyed extra-curricular activities where she could gain a new skill or hobby. When applying for UCAS, she was taking part in a graphic design club which helped her decide on the path she wanted to pursue at university.

Having just left university, Emma is used to being in control of where she works. When she needed to write an essay, she would go to the library, and she could work with her team on collaborative projects in the campus coffee shop. Now in the workplace, she enjoys working in an agile environment. When she first gets to the office in the morning, she will grab a coffee and take a seat in a quiet booth to sort through any emails left over from the night before. She then moves to sit with her team, where they will have their morning meeting around a collaborative desk. Throughout the day Emma makes the most of her surroundings, utilising quiet areas for heads down work, and sitting with her team when they need to discuss projects.

For Emma, her Thursday is really her Friday, as her company operate a four-day working week. This works perfectly for her, as she can help her parents out with jobs around the house on Friday, leaving her more time to relax and refuel over the weekend. She finds herself being more productive during the four days as she is getting the same work done, without any of the distractions. She was used to having control over her week while studying for her degree, as she would start her work mid-morning each day when she felt most alert. Already being self-motivating, the four-day working week suits her as she is given flexibility over her own role.

Growing up, Emma has seen technology going through one of its biggest changes – the development of the smart phone. She received her first iPhone when she was 13 and noticed what a huge step up it was from her original flip phone. Since then, she would always have the most up to date tech and knew how to use it instantly. Now working for a media company, she is surrounded by state-of-the-art technology daily, and finds it integral for working efficiently with her team. When it comes to communicating with her team, Emma prefers using Microsoft Teams in order to exchange quick messages regarding a project. When possible, she likes to sit down and discuss ideas face to face, as she finds this a natural way for ideas to blossom, and she can learn more from her peers this way.

Emma is in no rush to become a leader in the company, valuing her position as a graduate, but when in a team meeting, she has no problem leading the discussion and articulately getting her point of view across. The ability to both listen and lead, has come from learning both life skills during her formative years at school, helping her to let others speak and knowing when to offer her own opinion.

Whilst new to the workplace, Emma, along with generation Z as a whole, is making her mark on the workplace. Generation Z are bringing a whole new perspective and experience into the working world. It’s up to us to be ready for them and prepared to adapt our businesses to suit their needs.