Flexible workspace is helping to enable a workforce made up of 5 generations

different generations working in a flexible workspace

Every generation has its very own characteristics. The work environment is by far the place where you’ll notice these differences. Coworkers from different generations can reinforce each other but are so fundamentally different that it could also clash. There is much being said about generation Y. This is the generation that reignites the flame about how we think work. How do all the generations differ and what can they learn from each other?

The alphabet of generations

Currently we count five generation as part of the workforce: the baby boomers (1940 – 1955), generation X (1955 – 1970), the pragmatists (1970 – 1985), generation Y (1985 – 2000) and generation Z (2000-2015). Of course, the first and last generation are a small section of the current workforce. The baby boomers are finishing their careers, whereas generation Z is waiting to get started. The millennials are part pragmatists and generation Y.

Working with or against each other?

The different characteristics between generations can lead to conflicts in the work environment. Every generation has a varied look on their career path. For the older generation it was a given to find long-term employment and gradually go up the career ladder within the same company. Generation Y and Z have very different views on this, they are less sensitive for hierarchy and don’t believe in the traditional organisation structure. For them it’s a given that responsibilities are shared.
Moreover there’s a lot to learned from each other that’s beneficial to all. Where older generations focusses more on process, the younger generations more on people, and the in-between generation on content. Working within these generations requires an open and flexible attitude, without any generation or age bias. Only then can you have cooperation and co-creation.

Finding common ground

According to the Global Workspace Survey by IWG, that is becoming more commonplace, across the board, is the need for flexible working for all generations. The Survey brought forward that 88% of respondents in Mexico believed that business will be able to employ a diverse range of workers when flexible working is on the table. Another hot topic among many different generations is the work-life balance, 82% of the respondents from the USA said that flexible working will improve this balance. Business leaders should take this into account when they look at their workforce; not just to keep but also attract happy and healthy employees from all generations.


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