Within the next decade, millennials will make up as much as 75 percent of the workforce, according to the Brookings Institution. Roughly defined as the generation of adults now ages 18 to 34, these early-career professionals are known for being ambitious and idealistic, with a global outlook on life. As the first generation of “digital natives,” they also tend to be tech-savvy.
Recently, Plantronics took a look at the work styles of this generation as part of a new in-depth global study of 4,000+ knowledge workers. The study revealed some distinct patterns about the way millennials work and communicate:
- Around the world, millennials are increasingly using communication methods for work like video calls, instant messaging, and texting.
- Millennials tend to shun desk phones in favor of relying on smartphones or their PC for calls.
- They report performing work-related tasks while commuting or traveling more than peers from other generations.
- While nearly 40 percent of Millennials identify as office-based, more than 60 percent report working more flexibly.
These trends reflect a single generation, but they can be seen as an indication of future patterns across the board. In fact, millennials from the United States, Germany and France have more in common with adult workers across a range of ages in growth markets including Brazil, China, India and Mexico than they do with older peers in their own countries. These patterns are likely to continue as members of Gen Z, which are now between five and 17 years old, enter the workforce.
Insights like these can be helpful to businesses in shaping their IT strategies for both the present and the future. But it’s important to avoid over-focusing on a single generation, or to think these traits are confined to one particular demographic group. There are, after all, three generations currently in the workforce with another on the way. And it’s also important to note that of the 7 key work styles identified in the Plantronics research, millennials could be found in each one — they just tend to occur in higher numbers in work styles that are more flexible. So having a strategy that encourages mobile collaboration will be a strategy that naturally appeals to millennials as well.
It’s clear that we are experiencing a transformation in how we work with our teams and get stuff done on the job. But as this data indicates, a one-size-fits-all approach to IT is no longer an option. Today’s workforce has different needs depending on their roles, tasks and preferences. While a person’s generation may influence these preferences, it’s far from the only important factor. A person’s needs and pain points are shaped just as much, for example, by how frequently they work out of the office or while on the move.
Tech savviness may be seen as a millennial trait, but it’s not exclusively millennials who want to be more productive, work more flexibly and communicate on their terms. Whether born in 1985 or 1955, today’s workforce needs to be equipped to be productive regardless of where they happen to be working. And enabling this productivity requires understanding how to support an increasingly mobile workforce for success on their terms. To learn more about flexible work styles and how to design a successful mobile collaboration strategy, visit plantronics.com/mobility.