In a new study by Diskette Behavioural Research on attitudes toward working environments, it has been shown that executives and department heads put more value on workplace perks such as free coffee, comfortable facilities, and workshops, than younger members of staff. This turns the notion of millennials preferring superficial aspects of the workplace on it’s head, with their older counterparts indeed placing a higher emphasis on these ‘creature comforts’.
The study shows that the idea of younger staff members requiring a table tennis table, social events, or other workplace gimmicks are unfounded. In fact, in this study, it was the more experienced members of staff who valued these luxuries, rather than the millennials. When asked what is most important to you in a working environment, 8.3% of department heads and executives ranked these extra perks as most important, as opposed to only 5.4% of 26-35 year olds.
In addition to the misconception that young professionals want gimmicks, the study also found that it’s the higher ups that prefer or would like greater flexibility and remote working opportunities, rather than millennials, who are commonly reported as the generation who are transforming the workplace into a more remote one. The study found that whilst 58.9% of 26-35 year olds have considered working remotely, 62.5% of department heads and executives have responded in the same way. Additionally, this is with a higher amount of department heads and executives already working remotely in either a part time or full time capacity (20.9% vs 12.5%).
So, it appears that the remote work change is already being championed, but not by who we originally thought. With this being the case, why is not more being done to move towards a more remote, less frills approach to workplace culture? Traditionally, it was assumed that it was just the junior members of staff that were trying to change the workplace, but with department heads and executives on board, workplace environments can actually change. In a world where businesses are continually trying to set themselves apart to target the best new talent, why not keep it simple - keep the unnecessary perks and make life more flexible, and communication easier.
When asked the most important factor when choosing a working environment, 26-35 year olds stated easy access to the team as the most important, whilst department heads and executives rated it the second most important, behind having a quiet space to focus on tasks. It’s a simple request: to have a quiet space, within reach of your co-workers (physically or digitally), where you can get on with your job. So why are we spending all our time and energy trying to reinvent the workplace wheel? Being reasonable and allowing your team to work flexibly, as managers and executives increasingly seem to be doing already, is the simple way to improve the working environments of the entire team. Who even uses a table tennis table at work anyway?
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