Work as a lifestyle, Generation Z vs. Work Traditions
The next workforce will redefine what a work career is. Those that were born between 1996 and 2004. This is Gen-Z, bringing a different mindset than the Millennials who are aging into senior management positions. In the next 5-10 years they will comprise the productive workforce that drives our economies. Better connected than previous generations, they communicate with facility on a global basis. Less influenced by the incumbent workforce, and more interested in making work part of a lifestyle, not a separate endeavor to which you arrive and exit on a set schedule.
Gen-Z cares about the balance they can create, must be able to create, for their own wellbeing. It is not simply income and brand significance that drives them. Lifestyle advantages, flexibility and community are in the forefront of their goal setting.
A sense of community, both within the work environment and in the daily world they occupy are paramount. Work should not detract from participating in a fulfilling life. They expect to communicate with co-workers in person and virtually. These communication channels are considered essential to productivity and relevance.
A recent survey by Firstup found traits that define Gen Z. Healthy lifestyle, well-being, positive and active social involvement, a global sense of purpose; all play into what a Gen Z person expects when proving their skills to a business entity. They demonstrate that success comes from hard work and perseverance offline. A Wall Street Journal article claims “One thing is unquestionable about generation Z employees, and that’s CREATIVITY. They want to stand out through innovation.” Accepting things as they are is not what any employer should expect from any new hire in this generation.
Gen Z has a significant sense of skepticism. Their trusted sources of information are not traditional in any regard. They have no news at 6 PM; no Walter Cronkite. Nor do they seek one. They want access to reality brought forth by transparency, straight from the top decision-maker, delivered to them on their platform of choice. This is a present challenge for the way most businesses, large and small, operate. Secrecy is valued in the current model. Secrecy is suspect in the Gen Z world vision.
Authenticity is expected in their assessment of what is good and what should be disregarded. So, with these characteristics as defined by the Firstup study, how can productivity thrive? What changes are likely to occur due to meeting the new labor force requirements?
A recent study by the Stanford Center on Longevity observed that with the current average age of retirement at 62 years, following a work life of 40 years, most people cannot imagine adding another 20 years. But there is an absurdity the study pondered that makes a compelling case for the Gen Z lifestyle argument. Why put off enjoying your life until you are in your declining years? Wouldn’t it make better sense to enjoy and explore and experience the things life has to offer while young?
The study was conducted by Laura Carstensen, Director of the Stanford Center on Longevity. The later years become consumed with caring for aging parents, retirees own health issues, and residuals of burnout from the rigors of a 40-year dedication to work. The ability to enjoy retirement is hampered or put-off entirely.
On a grand scale, how would a 60-year career be any better? The idea is that taking time off in the earlier part of the career provides more time for hobbies and friends, which helps ward off burnout, the fatigue many have as they cry for relief at retirement. Plans like maternity leave, paternity leave, and sabbaticals provide the lifestyle reinforcement that leaves more energy in a later life. It also delivers well rounded and worldly workers.
The Baby Boomer generation has proven that a longer and productive worklife is possible. People are healthier in the 60’s and 70’s than prior generations. If they are not burned out, not fed-up with the work grind, have enjoyed more things from raising their young children, travelling, learning, and socializing with friends and extended family, the 60-year career seems both attractive and possible.
Will it happen? Gen Z is the determining force. They will need to make it work and maintain productivity for a longer period of their lives. Their reward is a more fulfilling life throughout their working life.
Learn more from the mouth and mind of a Gen Z. Rita Estevinha Silva won the Intergraf Young Talents Award. In this INKISH episode, you can learn moreabout her mission and her fellow Gen Zers. – https://inkish.tv/inkish-video/rita-estevinha-silva/