Gen Zs prefer physical workplaces - despite 'digital only' status

The younger generation don't want remote work, they'd much prefer to be in an office

Gen Zs prefer physical workplaces - despite 'digital only' status

Despite being stereotyped as "digital natives," many Gen Z employees are still fond of physical workplaces and want to see their colleagues with them there, according to a new report. A survey from Unispace found that 79% of their Gen Z respondents were more active when working in the office, much higher than the 66% of older workers who said so.

The findings may come as a surprise for some, given than Gen Zs were raised in a more digital environment. According to the report, however, the pandemic-imposed work-from-home restrictions made Gen Z employees value the physical office more.

Read more: Gen Z: How to attract the next generation of employees

Only 43% of older workers said the pandemic made them value the physical office.These findings are even more important as more Gen Zs enter the workforce, and more employers encourage their employees back to the workplace. According to the study, 80% of Gen Z respondents said access to training would encourage them back to the workplace, and another 80% said that they’d be happy to return to the office if their full team would be there with them.

Read more: Ambitious Gen Z eye promotions within first year of work

"While younger generations may face the stereotype of being a 'digital-only' group of workers, our research clearly shows that they prioritise the ability to learn from others face to face," said Stuart Finnie, head of design at Unispace. "And despite prevailing technology, nothing can replace the sense of belonging that in-person socialisation can bring. While younger workers generally have access to technology and the digital skills to work remotely long-term, our research suggests that this group values the opportunity, collaboration, and support that a physical office provides more than any other age group.”

However, the willingness of Gen Z employees to return to work is limited by how their physical offices are set up, according to the report, with only 11% saying they are happy with their office set up. Finnie suggested "considerations" to be carried out in the workplace, particularly on the quality of the environment the office provides.

Read more: How employers can up the ante to attract Gen Z

"Employers are seemingly failing to utilise the power of the office to attract these individuals," said Finnie. "With Gen Zers now accounting for around a third of the global population, for employers looking to beat the competition, considerations must be made to improve the quality of the environments they provide."

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