Gen Z Is Transforming the Workplace. Here Is What We Can Learn
STORY INLINE POST
With more than 2.5 billion people being part of it — meaning almost one-third of the world's population — Generation Z (born between 1997 and 2012) are starting to enter the workforce and they are bringing with them a new set of values, behaviors, and expectations. They are tech-savvy, diverse, and look for flexibility and purpose in their work.
Members of this generation are changing the rules of work, and personally, I feel more aligned with their way of thinking than with previous generations. They seek practicality, clarity in their activities and goals, and the ability to have time for their personal lives in addition to work.
Even when many of us share aspirations with Generation Z, such as a better work-life balance, flexible benefits, and the opportunity to make a positive impact on the world, the difference is that they are actively and continuously pushing for these things. To attract and retain members of this generation in our companies, we must be willing to adapt and evolve our current policies and practices.
Some of the most relevant characteristics of Gen Zers are:
Remote and Hybrid Jobs Are Their Priority
Gen Zers have grown up with technology and are used to being connected at all times. They value flexibility and autonomy in their work, and remote or hybrid jobs align with these. Being able to work remotely most of the time can also open up a wider range of opportunities for them, as they are not limited by geographical location. They can work from anywhere and explore different options that may not be available in their current location.
Work-life balance is their top priority and remote work allows them to have more control over their schedule. This gives them the freedom to structure their day as they see fit, allowing them to achieve a greater sense of work-life integration. Additionally, they see remote work as a way to reduce their carbon footprint by not commuting daily, especially in huge cities such as Mexico City.
Everything Is About Tech
The integration of technology in the workplace has created a divide among different generations in the workforce, with those who grew up with technology, like the millennials, having an advantage over older generations. Generation Z, however, is set to widen this divide even further. Being digital natives, they possess an innate ability to learn and adapt to new technologies, giving them a distinct advantage in the workforce. This generation will play a key role in leading the way toward a more technologically advanced workforce.
To keep Generation Z employees engaged and motivated, companies need to provide them with access to digital platforms and tools that enable them to be productive, the use of tools such as Google Docs, Slack, and Loom has become standard for them. However, to meet the expectations of this tech-savvy group, companies must also be proactive in offering them and letting them share innovative ways to be more efficient, such as AI, no-code solutions, and automation.
Mental Health Is One of Their Concerns
Generation Z is more aware of and open about mental health than previous generations. They have grown up in a time when mental health is more widely discussed and there is more understanding of the issues surrounding it. They have seen the effects of stress, anxiety, and depression on their peers and family members, and the effects of social media and online bullying on their friends and personally.
Recently, they have been exposed to traumatic events, such as the pandemic and wars, which can also contribute to mental health concerns. They are also facing the pressure of being successful and having a competitive edge in the job market, which can be hard on mental health. All these factors have made them more sensitive and proactive about taking care of their own mental health and looking for help when they need it.
They Look for Multiple Sources of Income
The gig economy is characterized by short-term jobs or freelance work; this trend has become more popular in recent years as a result of digitization and the need of having multiple sources of income. The instability in the job market, the rising cost of living, and concerns about future financial security have shaped this trend, particularly among Gen Zers.
This trend’s rise is causing a shift in the way companies approach hiring and the traditional eight hours a day work schedule. Rather than hiring employees for long-term positions, companies are now able to have the help of short-term or freelance workers. This trend urges us to rethink the way we do job descriptions and may lead to a future where full-time positions will no longer be the norm.
In my opinion, the way that Generation Z is transforming the workplace has been very positive. They are more aware of what can be done in less time, they look for a sense of purpose and push for flexibility and remote work options, so they can have a better work-life balance.
I believe that by adapting our work models to what this new generation brings, we can make significant improvements not only for them but everyone.