Is flexible working just a 'Millennial craze'?

Generations born after 1980 are more concerned about being in an inspiring work environment than those born pre-1964

Is flexible working just a 'Millennial craze'?

Creativity and collaboration can “breathe new life into a company and empower employees of all ages”, according to Pierre Ferrandon, New Zealand country manager at the International Workplace Group (IWG).

“Sharing new ideas and knowledge across generations, as well as across functional or team silos, both informally and formally via activities such as reverse mentoring, lets others see things from a different perspective and sparks new ideas,” he said.

Ferrandon’s comments come as new research by IWG has found that flexible working and co-working is not just a new millennial craze.

Indeed, 51% of people born pre-1964 work remotely for more than half the week, in comparison to a similar 49% of those born after 1980.

Consequently, the digital age has enabled people of all ages to work remotely more than ever before, which has in turn fuelled demand for flexible workspace.

For people born after 1980, 59% believe flexible workspace keeps employee skills up-to-date through interaction with other professionals, compared to 42% of those born pre-1964.

Ferrandon added that as attitudes to workplaces continue to change, it is “more important than ever” to understand the expectations of all employees to create a thriving culture.

A multi-generational workforce also appreciates different aspects of a flexible workspace, as the findings show that the generation born pre-1964 prioritise the productivity benefits, whereas those post-1980 prefer the creative aspects.

Ferrandon said that different generations may view some aspects of the office differently.

“No-one is right or wrong in these situations – but smart employers will find a way to ensure that all generations can contribute their best ideas for the benefit of the company and its creators alike.”

The research also found that:

  • Generations born after 1980 are more concerned (67%) about being in an inspiring work environment than those born pre-1964 (58%).
  • 55% of people born pre-1964 think that remote working locations offer a more creative environment than the regular office, compared to a global average of 68% post-1980.
  • More people born after 1980 see flexible working as offering new business opportunities and new project opportunities (67%) compared to those born before 1964 (55%).
  • Generations born after 1980 feel more strongly (23%) that having refreshments in the office is conducive to a productive working environment, compared to those born before 1964 (13%).
  • In a reverse trend, however, generations born after 1980 place less emphasis on wi-fi (78%) compared to those born before 1964 (85%), and instead a bigger focus on networking.


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