Jones Loflin: Millennials Don’t Want Work Life Balance

By 2025, Millennials (those born between 1982 and 1993) will make up roughly 75% of the global workforce. Their presence is in the workplace has challenged almost every facet of how we function as organizations, and that trend will surely increase in the coming years. One area where so many organizations could improve their engagement with millennials is to recognize one simple fact: Millennials aren’t seeking work life balance. They ARE looking for a healthy work life blend.

“Semantics,” you say? I don’t think so. Millennials blur the lines between their work and personal lives more than any previous generation. As Evelyn Fiskaa, director of career development at Dominican College in Orangeburg, N.Y. stated in a USA Today article, “Millennials don’t mind working at home or the overlap between work and their personal life.”

I observed this behavior in my 20 year old daughter while she was home for Easter break. I noticed she could easily glide from her college class assignments to personal time and then on to talking with a friend… and then back again. I, on the other hand, covet having large chunks of time to use for either work or personal time, but don’t freely mix them like my daughter.

The desire for work life blend can also be seen in how millennials view vacation time. I’ll never forget the comments by one Generation X manager in a training program, talking about some of the millennials in his department. He said, “Every time they earn a vacation day, they take it. I’m saving mine.” Millennials value their personal time as much as their work responsibilities, and know that to be at their best, they need time outside of work-often.

Yet another example of millennial’s attitude toward the blend of work and life is revealed in what they value in the perks at their workplace. Free meals, recreation areas, and opportunities to informally connect with co workers (including executives) are all high on the list of millennials. Mindspark has attempted to create an engaging workplace for millennials with low partitions between workspaces, a putting green, and pool table. As Julie-Anne Selvey, head of projects, states: “Our goal is to keep employees happy.”

So what does all this mean for employers large and small who want to attract and retain this quickly growing demogrphic in the workplace? When it comes to work life blend, try building these three features into your culture and company practices:

  • Flexibility. How easy is it for your employees to transition from work to grabbing a few minutes of personal time? Does your “time off” policy give employees frequent opportunities for renewal? Do your facilities give them a chance to “get away” for a few minutes?
  • Focus on outcomes. Remember that millennials want to create quality results. Accommodate them by allowing work schedules (as much as possible) to match their creative energies and life events. Don’t look at how many hours they are working. Evaluate the quality AND quantity of their work outcomes.
  • Encourage collaboration. Millennials place a high value on the quality of their relationships at work. How often are they getting to interact with other “bright creative people” in your company?

In my opinion, millennials work just as hard as any previous generation in the workplace. They have a different perspective on how work gets done, and it’s counterproductive to expect them to acquiesce to outdated policies and practices. Give them opportunities to blend their work and life more easily, and you will find that you are well-positioned to achieve even greater success in the future.

How could you create a more “millennial-friendly” work environment?

About The Author: With a passion for success that is instantly infectious and a wit that will have you laughing from his first sentence, author and speaker Jones Loflin equips individuals with real tools to achieve greater work life balance (and blend). You can learn more about Jones at www.jonesloflin.com or contact him directly at info@jonesloflin.com.

 

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