The media likes to point out that Millennials are at the bottom of the workplace food chain, but believe it or not Gen Z is now entering the field, and the two have a lot of differences. Gen Z kids are the ones that were born into the age of the internet and iPhone. Everything they have grown up with has been surrounded by Wi-Fi, a plethora of digital gadgets, and instant online access. Millennials grew up doing homework assignments on computers; Gen Z grew up using computers, smartphones, tablets, and notebooks all at the same time. They are a generation of multitaskers and quick thinkers. Their behavior is likely to shake up the way office life will look over the next several years.
Excessive Screen Time
With a childhood surrounded by technology and electronic screens, the Gen Z worker’s usage isn’t likely to decrease in the workplace. A variety of different electronic gadgets such as smart phones, tablets, and computers will be essential parts of everyday work life for these individuals. This change can have an enormous impact on an office environment. With everything being so accessible digitally, perhaps the need to commute to the office will be eliminated.
But how much is too much? How can a supervisor monitor all that is going on when an employee is using so many different gadgets? The answer is trust. Be aware and alert as to how the person is using the technology. If deadlines are being missed and negative patterns are developing, that could be a sign of inappropriate distraction and possibly even addiction to the devices.
Many parents and teachers try to teach children to limit their screen time. But regardless of age, excessive screen time is everywhere and becoming the norm of many people’s everyday life. This is why it is so important that individuals learn how to be responsible and stay focused in their work. This can be a real challenge when the boundless internet is constantly at your fingertips.
Smartphone makers such as Apple are starting to create built-in software that monitors app usage to help motivate healthier usage habits. You can set timers for specific apps and even “brick” (turning off all internet and smart capabilities) the phone or tablet during specific hours.
The key is to not worry about what will change. It’s healthy to adapt. However, precautions are always needed because too much of a good thing can be detrimental to individual health and workplace productivity. Millennials in the workplace have helped to spur the implementation of several new technologies that have led to an increase in telecommuting, video conferencing, and the rise in social media for business purposes.
How do you think Gen Z will impact the future of your office and everyday work life? Let us know in the comments below.