Today, it isn’t uncommon to see millennials and baby boomers sitting side by side in workplaces.
And while both generations couldn’t be more different, a recent FlexJobs survey showed both hold similar beliefs on workplace flexibility.
Without a doubt, one of the best ways to increase employee satisfaction for both groups is to offer work flexibility. The study showed less than 10% would choose an office as their preferred work environment.
But that’s where most of the similarities end.
Millennials, the generation born between 1981-1996, focuses on finding satisfaction in personal and professional pursuits. In fact, the study shows 83% rank work-life balance as the most important factor in taking a job. Only 62% of baby boomers felt that way.
What else is different? We share the findings below.
Baby Boomers and Millennials’ Outlooks on Work:
Why they work
- Millennials love to travel, with 60% saying it’s a primary reason they work, second to paying for basic necessities (82%), saving for retirement (55%) and paying debts down (50%)
- Older workers claim they primarily work to pay for basic necessities (65%), second to enjoying working (56%)
Gender pay gap
- 60% of millennials see the gender pay gap and inequality as more problematic than older workers (53%)
- 78% of millennials are more likely to be loyal to employers if they had flexible work options, and 70% said they’d left or considered leaving a job due to lack of flexible work options
- 71% of baby boomers agreed they’d be more loyal if flexible work options were available; only half of older workers would leave or have thought about leaving a job due to inflexibility
- Company perks are more important to millennials than older workers (35% vs 17%). Another study found learning and development opportunities were even more appealing to millennials than fun office perks
Millennial and Baby Boomer Similarities:
- 55% of millennials consider meaningful work a critical factor in accepting a job
- 57% of older workers felt the same
- A quarter of both groups identified as freelancers
- 20% of millennials identify as “digital nomads”
- 10% of both groups cited chronic health issues or illness
- Nearly 65% of both groups have telecommuted before
- 41% in both groups don’t believe they should have to exchange benefits like salary or vacation for a telecommute option
Workplaces are Changing
As workplace trends change along with workers themselves, successful companies must stay relevant. Adjusting to new working realities is challenging, but it can be rewarding, too. When companies uncover employee preferences — like the ones above — it offers an opportunity to find creative solutions.
By providing unique work options and environments to fit employee needs, companies boost morale and the way employees tackle work.
A few things to consider:
Adjust communication styles
Gather regular feedback from all employees. Giving employees equal opportunities to voice concerns in a variety of formats (suggestion boxes, emails, anonymous surveys, etc.) provides an inclusive feeling. An older worker, for example, may prefer a face-to-face meeting to discuss concerns. A millennial, on the other hand, may be fine with sending a quick email.
Pair workers together
For special projects, pair together workers who could learn something from each other. Matching younger and older coworkers together is an easy way to develop diversity in the workplace.
When you consider both demographics love the idea of telecommuting over traditional office work, it’s wise to keep lines of communication open to ensure employee satisfaction is solid. Otherwise, employees might start looking at options outside your 9-to-5 office.
What are some of the biggest differences you’ve noticed between generations at your office? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!