A generation of young people, that’s grown up in a world full of rapidly advancing technology and in a culture where instant answers and speedy communication are the norm, the post-Millenial generation is the workforce of tomorrow.
So, what will this post-Millenial generation (or Generation Z as it is also known) expect from its workplace?
Introducing the post-Millenials
Post-Millenials are made up of those born after 1996. Used to multi-tasking and with a multi-cultural, non-hierarchical point of view, these young people are the most technologically adept to-date.
For the boardroom leaders of 2025, traditional working systems are simply not appropriate. The interactive, fast-paced world they have grown up in differs widely from either that of the Baby Boomer Generation or Generation X and Y, who precede them. Used to interfacing on a vast number of digital platforms, these individuals have a collaborative web culture and are avid content creators.
Peer-led, they were born into the Knowledge Economy and brought up in the digital world. As such, post-Millenials are happy to collaborate, share work practices, show initiative and rapidly access, create, exchange and transform information.
They work on different levels: one-to-one in the form of email (which they see as outdated) or SMS/text messaging; personal in the form of blogs and MySpace; and collaborative through mash-ups, message boards and wikis.
People and technology are changing rapidly. In order to ensure that the workplace keeps abreast with technological advancements, we need to understand that the reign of the PC is no more.
Millions of people now access the internet using their mobile devices. Apps for Android and Apple devices are increasingly powerful tools and facilitators of social and professional change.
Then there’s the Cloud. Cloud computing has been a game changer, creating many new working possibilities, as well as collaborative, flexible and efficient computing models.
The rapid change in technology, and the fact that we are facing a future where many young people will have a very different view of working life, means that office life needs to change.
So, how will post-Millenials want to work?
Tomorrow’s workforce and its leaders are likely to expect a vibrant and flexible working environment, where social networking performs a vital role at the heart of office communications and all forms of the latest technology are embraced.
The post-Millenials are also likely to want to work in organisations that support their own values as they view ‘working’ and the ‘workspace’ as an extension of themselves. The workplace they choose to spend the majority of their time, either in or connected to, will need to be an open and accepting place that appreciates creativity and embraces different points of views and lifestyle choices.
Post-Millenials will see work as a verb, not a place. Open, flexible working spaces need to be adopted. Forget the outdated workspace of private offices, empty video conferencing areas and meeting spaces which are never used. This kind of cellular, stratified workplace does not foster interoffice connectivity. A predominantly corporate model will no longer apply to the next generation of workers.
Workplaces should focus on becoming welcoming spaces that appeal to a wider group of people. Repetitive tasks should be farmed to sophisticated machines to perform, allowing the post-Millenials the chance to apply what they know instead.
Finally, companies need to offer workers the choice between working at the office and working remotely. If the workspace is agile and inclusive, they will likely opt for a mix of the two.