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.