A global trend that’s here to stay
Redefining the work – life balance as well as the typical working day and environment is a phenomenon that has been sweeping across the globe for the past 5+ years. Driven by the fourth industrial revolution and a shift in people’s thinking, this trend is changing the way we think about our careers and leisure time.
In a world ruled by technology, where laptops and internet connections are ultra-fast, the professional and personal are no longer strictly separate aspects of one’s life. Rather, people are starting to think of the two more holistically, as two seamlessly blending parts of a balanced lifestyle.
Millennials in the workforce
Millennials, the natives of the digital workforce, are changing jobs more often than their parents and are seeking more than a stable job with a pay check. Growing up in a world of constant change, recessions and global cataclysms, this cohort learned to forge their own personal and career paths, create their own opportunities, and engineer all aspects of their lives according to their unique understanding of the world.
Thus, it is not really surprising that millennials are looking for a less traditional experience – one that doesn’t involve tightly defined 9-5 jobs, putting in long hours, or foregoing leisure time to further advance on the career ladder. What follows is a high-level summary of the ways, in which the workers of the future are redefining the world of work, along with insights on navigating this new order.
1. Smart working
The new model of work relies on technology to improve both employee productivity and their satisfaction from the work they are doing. Closely related to the concepts of teleworking or homeworking, the concept of working ‘’smart’’ values results over time spent on tasks, employee autonomy over tight control, and creativity over following strict patterns or rules.
2. Flex time
The idea that work can be done at any time, as long as it is done, is one of the underlying principles of smart working. It resonates well with the desire to control one’s daily schedule, seamlessly blending time for work, family, leisure and wellness activities.
When people aren’t tied to a specific work schedule, they have more time to take care of their kids, to engage in a sport activity, or simply relax. This, in turn, makes them better employees, who are more likely to stay with an organization that truly understands their needs.
Technology today allows teams to stay in close touch without being in the same office, city, country, or time zone. Employers can also easily track results and productivity without looking over the shoulder of every employee on their payroll.
As millennials and xenials are seeking more flexibility in terms of their workplaces and working hours, more companies are starting to offer the option to work remotely on differing scales, ranging from one day per week to going remote 100% of the time.
With the emergence of remote teams, self-employed professionals and digital nomads, a need emerged to create venues where these workers could go to work, have professional meetings and conference calls, and socialize with one another.
Co-working spaces are shared workspaces now available in most larger cities, which allow individuals and teams to rent out desk and meeting room space on a regular or temporary basis. This presents a more cost-effective alternative to permanently renting out entire offices, furnishing and keeping them running.
Many startups and remote teams have chosen to base themselves out of coworking spaces entirely, where they can exchange ideas and knowledge with others in similar fields, receive more visibility, and easily source freelance talent as needed.
5. Work – life balance
In a stark contrast to the pre-digital era, employers are starting to recognize the need for a better work – life balance that allows people to manage their family and personal lives in ways that don’t overwhelm them or affect the quality of their work. Awareness of the fact that workers are people rather than robots, has positively affected both the physical and the mental health of the workforce.
When people are given the time and the space to take care of important personal and family obligations, they are also more relaxed, focused and productive at work. The pressure and stress resulting from ever-growing expectations at the job, have directly impacted many, increasing the number of burnouts in white collar workers in the past 10+ years. The latter, in turn, lead to a higher number of sick days taken, lower morale and productivity.
6. Unlimited time off
As companies strive to obtain and retain the best talent, employee benefits continue to evolve and become more enticing. Offering flex work schedules and plenty of time off is one way to keep personnel happy and motivated in the long run.
Innovative employers are starting to offer those on their payrolls the opportunity to set their own holiday and vacation schedules. Even large companies like Netflix, GitHub and LinkedIn now offer employees an ‘’open vacation policy,’’ entrusting them with the ability to manage their workload and time off entirely on their own.
Does this all sound completely unrealistic? The truth is that these policies are already commonplace at many organizations and are becoming more acceptable at others. Employers who fail to offer some feasible combination of them will soon be at a disadvantage, struggling to attract and retain millennials and the generations after them, as they pursue more than professional and financial realization.
Copywriter: Ina Danova