Tag Archives: Millennial

Why Do Millennials “Demand” Workplace Flexibility?

Something that I hear or read all the time about Millennials is that we want “flexibility” when it comes to how, when and where we work. While this may be true, I think that the reasons why this is an apparent growing demand should be explored a little bit more.

First, I want to quickly point out that there is no way that only Millennials are asking for more flexibility, I just think that this is the first time a generation hasn’t waited until they’ve had kids before asking for it. We’ve all been in work places where there is no question that a parent gets a level of flexibility when it comes to working around their kid’s schedules. Rightfully so, but it’s worth mentioning none-the-less.

Rather than pursue that tangent, however, I’ll accept the statement that we’re the first generation to ask for more flexible work schedules. What is the reason for this?

Could it be that we’re selfish and lazy? Perhaps, but our overall volunteerism and support of causes may counter that.

Do we just want to slack off when the boss isn’t around? I don’t think that being a slacker is a generational thing, they are everywhere. Looking around at who I know, I don’t think this is the reason either.

What’s never talked about is how the demand for flexibility may be due, in part, to employers themselves. I think that this is a definite possibility.

In world we live in now, more and more employers are able to (and expect to) be able to reach their employees well outside of what would be considered traditional work hours. While this may or may not be acceptable, which is a topic for another day; it’s something that’s happening.

So is it so far-fetched to speculate that this rise in employers’ ability and expectation to access workers outside of work hours could have something to do with the demand to have flexibility within work hours?

Through my employment, I have worked all across the continuum: Rigorous set hours, near limitless flexibility and a few places in-between. I can honestly say that I can see the pros and cons to both, and that when choosing a job it should be a bigger consideration than some people make it.

Be warned that sometimes “flexible work environment” is a euphemism for “always on call” and if you’re not prepared to work like that, it may be best to seek employment elsewhere. At the same time, some jobs will not explain expectations, which could end in dissatisfaction, as well.

Fully understanding how rigorous your potential employer is about work hours can be a very important consideration.

To employers, next time you’re considering an employee’s request regarding the work-day, remember to think about what you demand of them outside of normal business hours.

Millennial Entrepreneurs

Last week a friend sent me an article about how Millennials are twice as likely as the general population to want to start their own business in the next year. While I’m sure that there are many factors that contribute to this statistic (where they are in their life cycle, unemployment double the national average), but I think that there is something more hardwired than any of the more macro reasons.

This is more of an observational statement, but it is something that I’ve heard so much of that I can’t help but start believing it: The Millennial generation, my generation, thinks that they (we) are entitled.

This statement typically raises my ire, because as with all generalizations, it obviously doesn’t apply itself to all individuals. However, when I’m forced to take a long hard look at how I know that peers of mine have acted (and I sure hope that I haven’t), I can definitely see where that conclusion can be drawn.

Since university and beyond I have known people that think they should have a job with complete autonomy and flexibility, along with a six-figure salary with the title “Social Marketing Guru” upon walking into a company. And don’t even get me started about any entry-level position with “Guru” in the title.

Although someone may be able to find this, I would wager a bet that it would be the exception, not the norm. That is exactly the issue, though, we have been taught all our lives that we can do anything and are special, therefore we always identify with the exception, rather than the rule.

So this entitlement, I think, is a major reason that Millennials want to go into business for themselves. After being in the job market for a few years they realize that they can’t do everything that they want (making what they want) right away, but realize if they are their own bosses, then it’s completely in their control. Or so they think.

I tend to think that once many of the people saying they want to start their own business give it a try, it’s not going to be what they had thought it would be like. Often, especially as a starting entrepreneur, your time is not your own. You have to do tasks that you would rather not, but have to get done. Your time isn’t as flexible as you think it will be, because you are usually working as the service provider / product maker, as well as operations manager and sales person. Basically three full-time jobs for one person. And if you think huge money is coming in year one, I would think again.

So if you want to start a business and have romance in your eyes, it may be prudent to speak with a few business owners. See what it was like during their starting years and determine if it’s in line with what your expectations are. If it’s not, it may be worth it to start your business as a side-gig to see how you like it. Or to continue to be an employee for a few more years, because there is nothing wrong with that.