Story image

Gen Z will fundamentally change the world of work

22 Sep 15

Generation Z will shake up the world of work as they approach jobs with a completely different mindset to their older counterparts.

“While the youngest are still being born, the oldest members of Generation Z are now 19 years of age and are making the journey from full-time education to the workplace.

“They are eager, digital natives with a unique approach to the concept of work,” says David Mills, Ricoh Europe CEO.

New research into the '4G Workplace' by Coleman Parkes, sponsored by Ricoh Europe, explores what impact Gen Z will have on businesses and how well prepared they are for accommodating four very different generations under one roof. The findings were surprising, according to Mills.

Gen Z is acutely aware that the lines between work and personal life are blurring. Work is a mindset for them, not simply a set of tasks to complete or objectives to reach. And with constant access to email and the latest collaboration platforms, most don’t switch off.

However, while conversations about this always-on workforce have focused on the technologies involved - the separation between work and personal devices becoming increasingly rare - little attention has been given to their mentality, says Mills.

The 4G workplace

Retirement ages rising and the health and fitness of older people improving, meaning many Baby Boomers are still working and some have 10 or more years of active work ahead of them.

At the same time, younger generations establishing themselves in the workforce. Generation X are now typically reaching middle or senior management positions, Millennials are starting to make headway and rise up through the ranks, and now, Generation Z are leaving the education system and entering the world of work, says Mills.

The report shows 65% of the people surveyed believe there are clear differences in how people from different generations work.

Making sure that these groups work effectively together and empowering them to thrive in their jobs is a challenge for every organisation, Mills says.

The biggest difference: Mindset

“The always-on mindset is almost inherent in the Gen Z demographic. As digital natives they’re not in awe of technology like their older counterparts.

“They’ve grown up in the internet age, with information and communication at their fingertips and this reflects in their attitudes to work and prospective employers.

“This is echoed in the decisions and thoughts around their future employment choices,” Mills says.

In fact, three times as many Gen Z respondents are attracted to companies that offer technology to enable people to work more efficiently compared to those from the older generations.

This isn’t necessarily a surprise, but it emphasises the fact that businesses who want to attract and retain young talent have to deploy the technology Gen Z expects - older systems won’t be tolerated.

According to Mills, Gen Z also have high expectations of their own positive impact on the workplace.

Most of them believe they will bring new ways of working, with exceptional technology skills, bright ideas and fresh thinking.

Findings suggest that businesses already struggling with Millennials face huge challenges if they fail to adopt new ways of working that complement all four generations.

“What’s particularly interesting is that it’s Millennials who are most excited and optimistic about the potential of technology, more so than Gen Z.

“This perhaps shows that Gen Z are immune to the novelty of tech, having absorbed it since birth.

“They’re accustomed to technology driving their personal and social lives, using it as the main point of all communication - and expect the same from work,” says Mills.

According to the report, businesses must embrace this unique mindset toward technology and the concept of work in order to harness Gen Z’s natural always-on attitude.

This will prove a key tactic to embracing digitalisation, improving agility and adopting new collaboration platforms across the business.

How blockchain will impact NZ’s economy
Distributed ledgers and blockchain are anticipated to provide a positive uplift to New Zealand’s economy.
25% of malicious emails still make it through to recipients
Popular email security programmes may fail to detect as much as 25% of all emails with malicious or dangerous attachments, a study from Mimecast says.
Human value must be put back in marketing - report
“Digital is now so widely adopted that its novelty has worn off. In their attempt to declutter, people are being more selective about which products and services they incorporate into their daily lives."
Wine firm uses AR to tell its story right on the bottle
A Central Otago wine company is using augmented reality (AR) and a ‘digital first’ strategy to change the way it builds its brand and engages with customers.
DigiCert conquers Google's distrust of Symantec certs
“This could have been an extremely disruptive event to online commerce," comments DigiCert CEO John Merrill. 
Protecting organisations against internal fraud
Most companies tend to take a basic approach that focuses on numbers and compliance, without much room for grey areas or negotiation.
Telesmart to deliver Cloud Calling for Microsoft Teams
The integration will allow Telesmart’s Cloud Calling for Microsoft Teams to natively enable external voice connectivity from within Teams collaborative workflow environment.
Jade Software & Ambit take chatbots to next level of AI
“Conversation Agents present a huge opportunity to increase customer and employee engagement in a cost-effective manner."