April 2, 2018
Why this Gen Xer loves a Millennial work schedule
It’s Friday afternoon and I’ve left work around 3:30 to pick up my son. He’s not a grade schooler anymore and daycare is far behind us. He’s in high school and is leaving for a band trip in the wee hours of the next morning. We’re behind the eight ball with dirty clothes to be washed and a bag to pack before a jam-packed evening. The next time I see him, we’ll be in the car well past midnight.
My work for the week is done, so I feel good about leaving a little early.
But if it wasn’t — done that is – I would be working from home over the weekend to finish or start a project, e-mail a colleague, or look over information for a Monday a.m. meeting. And that would be fine with my boss and my co-workers. Granted, working from home is not a new phenomenon. However, leaving early, coming in late or working the hours that YOU decide, definitely is. But not for long.
Now more than ever, Millennials are requesting flexible schedules and opportunities to work from home. But let’s face it, with some getting used to, it feels pretty good to people my age as well.
Before you naysayers jump to the conclusion that employees are taking advantage, not earning their keep, etc., etc., consider that institutions like Stanford are doing research on the subject – and recent data shows that productivity, overall work hours and employee satisfaction, actually improves with workplace flexibility.
And I have to agree.
Don’t we all feel better when the pressure of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. sharp is gone? For Millennials that may mean leaving early, then working from home late at night when “their brains are sharper” – for me that may mean getting up early and working in my pajamas for a couple hours. With coffee.
Of course, technology keeps us in constant contact. Even 10 years ago, I would not have had access to my co-workers’ personal cell phones, or would have texted them about work issues. Today, it happens almost daily. Some would call that an annoyance, but most of us would call it a necessity. And for a flexible schedule to work, communication is key and so is accountability. Being present for in-person meetings, and being reachable throughout the day (and beyond) HAS to happen.
Nick Scott, president of Silver Oaks, and a Millennial, says, “as the workforce changes again, we want to make sure we’re changing with it. Millennials and Gen Y want more flexibility – and technology coupled with changing business philosophies is helping to make that happen. With that comes a sense of personal responsibility and professionalism. But in the end, it’s all about happy, productive employees who want to stay.”