Much has been made of the latest generation of tech savvy professionals disrupting the traditional career-focused workplace with demands of working on their terms and the risk to businesses who do not embrace this meta-shift in how they want to work. A generation that asks not what they can do for a company, but what a company can do for them.
Changeable hours and working from home to meet the modern demands of a work / life balance, regular job hopping to upskill and climb the ladder, the gig economy booming and self-employment soaring – these are all signs that the change is in full flow.
For me, this is not a generational divide, but a workplace evolution that crosses every generation. Its cause? The rise in the technology that has enabled flexible working combined with the erosion of the long-term benefits that prevented employees looking elsewhere. Even 10 years ago, video conferencing was a little touch and go meaning people really needed to be face to face to effectively communicate. People were still receiving being offered final salary pension schemes. A lot has changed since then.
Whilst there are always some who reject and rally against change, there are few people of any age who would turn their nose up at a more flexible way of working, which gives greater balance, choice and enjoyment in their lives.
As a parent, flexibility to fit work around quality time with my family was a huge part of my journey from a ten-year career with the same employer to taking the entrepreneurial leap of faith that comes with being self-employed. I’m happy to work long hours and graft to support my family, but I also want to spend time with my young children and be there for their key moments in life – being a millennial had nothing to do with it!
Technology will continue to support and evolve flexible and remote working practises and advances in cloud and data usage will be at the very forefront in tackling existing challenges around effective communication, management, resource planning and reporting.
Companies that take an open approach to flexibility with their employees, will undoubtedly continue to attract and retain the best and brightest talent. There is a huge untapped pool of willing, experienced and talented people who will not or cannot commit to a regular, rigid 9-5 job including return to work parents, those affected by disability or ill health, those who cannot afford to retire or need to support others and those who just want to live their lives in their own way.
Employers should not fear this change, clinging on to some deluded sense of control over their workforce, but embrace it with open arms – it is an unstoppable surge that will leave you behind in the blink of an eye. Implemented in the right way, the opportunity to increase productivity, loyalty and talent attraction with flexibility is huge.
Vive la revolution!