At Works, we are proud to have a significant number of millennials and representatives from Generation Z in our workforce, alongside our experienced members from Baby Boomer and Gen Xer generations who remain invaluable to our team. Although longer life expectancies and a growing desire for sustained productivity are major factors in this, it poses a challenge as team members may have diverse views on how work should be approached based on their backgrounds and age.
To make decisions that benefit their organization as a whole, leaders must find a harmonious balance between its technological requirements and overarching goals. While younger generations tend to favour text communication, senior employees may feel more comfortable with alternative methods. Additionally, some clients may prefer instant messaging over email. How can we best align our expectations for regular interactions in this modern workplace?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to this challenge as different teams and their leaders must take several factors into consideration and tailor their approach accordingly, including planning for upcoming technological advancements.
This article offers a comprehensive analysis of the different aspects of technology in the workplace, and provides guidance on ensuring that all employees, regardless of their age, can use it efficiently.
Age-Related Differences in Preference
As technology has progressed, it has brought diverse workplace experiences for different age groups, leading to varied viewpoints on its use. Below, we have highlighted the typical technology preferences among different generations.
- Having grown up with digital technology, Generation Z individuals are more reliant on and at ease with it.
- Generation Z employees tend to favour various working environments and are more open to shared office spaces.
- Generation Z workers who use their personal devices for work are concerned about their employers accessing their private and sensitive information.
- Generation Z employees prefer virtual meeting places over physical ones.
- Research suggests that working from home may reduce productivity but improve job satisfaction among Generation Z employees.
- Generation Z workers are more likely to benefit from teamwork-oriented strategies and resources, rather than individuals working alone.
- Generation X workers prefer remote work and are more comfortable with it compared to earlier generations.
- Generation X employees value efficiency and the tools that facilitate it in the workplace.
- Generation X workers are more prone to quitting their jobs due to inadequate technological resources.
Generation Xers and Millennials
- Millennial and Generation X workers can sometimes feel uneasy with the latest technology.
- Generation X and Millennial employees focus on both their objectives and the methods to achieve them.
- Compared to younger generations, Generation X and Millennial professionals are more experienced and comfortable with remote work arrangements.
Additional Factors to Consider
Aside from age, several other factors affect how individuals utilise technology in the workplace. These include job role, geographic location, employment tenure, and financial security. Educational attainment and disposable income also play a role in a person’s technology usage habits. For example, employees earning an annual income of over £150,000 are more inclined to use macOS laptops for work purposes.
Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed how individuals perceive the use of technology. People who previously felt uncomfortable being on camera are now participating in numerous daily Zoom calls with ease.
Managing Technology in a Multigenerational Workplace
Establishing a successful approach to introducing new technology can be a challenging task that involves various stages and factors. This piece offers several essential suggestions to assist you in navigating technology management in a multigenerational work environment.
Avoid making assumptions.While it is beneficial to understand how different generations view various issues related to technology, it should not be the sole consideration when making decisions on individuals’ technology requirements. To gauge the extent of the issue, reading informative resources like this article can provide valuable insight. It is then advisable to conduct a staff survey to compare the employees’ views with the overall opinion.
Create personas to represent different employee demographics.Once an internal survey is completed, personas can be developed to represent employee groups who share similar attitudes and behaviours. For instance, a persona named ‘Lisa’ could represent Generation X workers who favour remote work arrangements, texting over calling, and an Android ecosystem over Apple hardware. Incorporating personas enables us to answer questions such as “How will this change affect Lisa’s ability to perform her role?” when weighing up technology solutions.
Offer employees choices.While some actions can have a significant impact on everyone involved, it’s still possible to provide some level of flexibility. For instance, several organisations have implemented a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, allowing staff to utilise their personal mobile devices while at work. It’s crucial, however, to enforce strong security measures to safeguard against potential cyber threats.
Offer training.Often individuals may dislike a particular technology because they lack knowledge about how to use it. For instance, prior to the pandemic, many individuals of all age groups had minimal familiarity with Zoom and had to learn how to employ it for virtual meetings. Providing guidance on any sophisticated technology can be useful in motivating individuals to become comfortable with the device and, in turn, appreciate it.
Stay organised and track your progress.Formulate a plan for integrating technology based on your comprehension of your staff’s preferences and other relevant factors. Avoid expecting immediate triumphs following implementation; instead, monitor the results of your decisions to pinpoint any areas requiring improvement and adjust your approach accordingly.
Be empathetic.It’s natural that, despite being thoughtful, receptive to feedback and providing a variety of options, some individuals may still not be satisfied with the choices made. In such instances, it’s critical to display empathy and assure them that their concerns will be considered in future decision-making.
Technology Can Unite Diverse Generations.
Despite variations in technological preferences among generations, everyone can reap rewards by employing it to attain their objectives. Furthermore, there are several comparable outlooks on technology that extend beyond the various eras that we have scrutinised.
It’s evident that specific attributes hold significance for all generations, such as keeping up-to-date on technological advancements, optimising available resources, embracing flexibility in scheduling and work arrangement, and efficient communication. Consequently, it’s crucial for leaders not to place excessive emphasis on preconceived notions about diverse age groups, such as the notion that Millennials are too immersed in social media or that Baby Boomers lack familiarity with technology.
Rather than perceiving the contrasting technological habits among individuals of varying age groups as a disadvantage, we should interpret it as a chance to gain knowledge. Comprehending these tendencies can enable us to establish a work environment that is ideal for all staff members.