Millennials are the most tech-savvy, collaborative, and socially-minded generation in human history. Millennials have grown up using smartphones, Facebook, and the cloud. They can navigate the web like the back of their hand. Millennials realize the future belongs to them. They are determined that today’s workplaces match their expectations and ideals.
In a nutshell, Millennials seek work environments that foster connectivity, meaning, and social purpose. They seek work hours and arrangements, which reflect their desire to balance career goals with their family and personal aspirations. In particular, Millennials view work as an “activity,” not a physical place. Therefore, they look at flexible hours and telecommuting as prerequisites. They want the workplace to reflect their values and ideals. In short, they want work environments that provide the technological and collaborative opportunities they expect. Five collaboration technologies that Millennials want at work include:
1) Video: Traditionally, business people have opted for in-person meetings as their preferred method of communication. Millennials value face-time, but they have embraced video-conferencing as an ideal tool for conducting meetings, saving time, and enhancing collaboration.
2) Huddle Rooms: Millennials want to flatten and dismantle hierarchies. They dislike and distrust command-and-control environments. They are more interested in team-building than individual status. In this regard, huddle rooms are an ideal way to tap the creative energies of Millennials. What is a huddle room? Essentially a huddle room is a space where a small number of workers can gather to discuss or tackle a common agenda. Huddle rooms are an alternative to large, costly, and less intimate conference rooms. Huddle rooms typically involve a display, such as a flat screen monitor, a table or workspace, and a webcam that facilitates video or teleconferencing with outside parties. Huddle rooms vary in size, as do their specific features, depending on the needs of the organization. But basically huddle rooms are designed to foster and tap the creative energies of small but nimble teams focused on common goals. Millennials distrust top-down environments. Instead, they value work environments where teamwork and horizontal relationships are more prominent. Innovative working arrangements, such as the huddle room, facilitate the kind of work experience Millennials expect.
3) Social Media: Technology is the air that Millennials breathe. They are accustomed to using services like Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-in on a daily basis. They utilize these platforms throughout the day (at home and on the go) and they expect to use them at work as well.
4) Telecommunication: By 2025, about 40% of the workforce is expected to work from home. Millennials value flexibility, comfort, and family time. Millennials view commuting and the nine to five workday as anachronistic. Milennialls see working from home as natural. Indeed more than 90% of Millennials want to work from home, and more than 85% want to work according to their own schedule. Millennials want to work, but they want technological options that will allow them work from remote locations and according to their own schedules.
5) Gaming Apps: Millenials have grown up in the world of videogames. They want work to be fun and exciting; not boring and frustrating like the jobs their parents endured. According to Adam Penenberg, companies are responding to this reality by developing “gamification applications,” programs and systems that turn the work experience into a something of a game.
Millennials are going to shape the future of work. Like previous generations, Millennials value work, but they have a different idea of how to get work done than their predecessors. Millennials value transparency, collaboration, and flexibility. They believe corporations need to be less hierarchical and more socially accountable. They want to telecommute and set their own schedules. They also want work to be creative and fun. Millenneials will embrace tools that foster collaboration and other ways of interacting creatively with their peers and their work environments.
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