Watch out — Gen Z is about to take over the office. Born between 1997 and 2012, the new generation of employees is entering the workforce. And they’re causing quite a stir. Favouring a better work-life balance over typical priorities, like salary, businesses will need to keep up if they’re to appease their future team members. How best to please generation internet? With the right communication technology.
A LinkedIn survey from January 2022, reported by one of LinkedIn’s own recruiters, found that 72 per cent of Gen Z employees left or are considering leaving their jobs due to inflexible work policies. That’s in contrast to 69 per cent of Millennials and half of Gen X. Further research by workplace analytics platform Firstup finds that Gen Z-ers favour qualities like brand reputation and a better work-life balance over traditionally common boons such as job stability and having a good income.
Predicted to make up over a quarter of the workforce by 2025, there’s no denying that the next generation will drive a shift in workplace priorities. They’ve grown up with technology, the internet and social media, so how can businesses keep their tech-savvy staff on side?
A hybrid future
Gen Z isn’t alone in its wish for flexible working. 80 per cent of UK workers who worked remotely during the pandemic now plan to split their time between home and the office, according to ONS figures.
While COVID-19 triggered the ‘virtual age’ of working, we are now entering the ‘personalised age’, where employees can choose where to work and how to split their time to maximise convenience, productivity and wellbeing. To keep employees happy and attract fresh talent, employers must now consider how to incorporate flexibility into how they run their business. That may mean a change in office hours, allowing employees to invest more time into personal hobbies and interests, as well as a change in technology approaches to facilitate more flexible business communication.
No more phone calls
The past two years have forced us to communicate in ways we’d have never imagined. There’s been office Christmas parties, company-wide meetings, even weddings, taking place over video call. Research suggests that traditional business technology, such as landlines and desktops, are no longer the core of a worker’s tech kit.
More than three quarters of UK adults own a smartphone, up from 52 per cent in a decade ago. But the number of people using their phone to make traditional voice calls is falling fast. In fact, research carried out by Ipsos Mori for Deloitte found that just three quarter of mobile phone owners make at least one call a week — with a quarter rarely making calls on their telephone at all.
That doesn’t mean people aren’t communicating. Instead, younger generations prefer keeping in touch using multiple platforms, be it social media, instant messaging or video call. In parallel, traditional office landlines are ageing. We’ll all be switching to digital ways of making calls by 2025, when the UK’s old analogue lines turn off for good. Businesses need to adopt ways of futureproofing now, while appealing to their workers’ changing preferences.
A unified approach
Businesses need a communication system that favours flexibility, enabling employees to communicate over multiple mediums and make the transition seamlessly between the office and home.
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) integrates all business communications into an easy-to-use unified interface. It is simple to integrate into existing infrastructure and provides a reliable service to boost company productivity, bridging the gap between the office, home and anywhere else in the world.
The future is indefinitely VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol. VoIP describes any voice call made over the internet. This could be a single application on a computer or a complex unified communications implementation that works across an entire office’s handsets, desktop and laptop computers and mobile devices. Not only does implementing VoIP help businesses get ahead of the public switched telephone network (PSTN) switch off, but its ability to facilitate multiple communication tools in a unified platform means VoIP can help businesses build a communications strategy to suit all workers.
As businesses cannot ignore that the working landscape is shifting, they cannot close their eyes to the changing priorities of their workforce. While the way younger generations prioritise and communicate their work responsibilities changes, what remains constant is that communication is king. Offering the next generation of workers the flexibility and choice they desire will not only boost employee satisfaction, but will also ensure your business is futureproofed for the technology shifts all industries face.