Millennials possess the power of adaptability. This is due to the fact that they were born and raised in a dynamic environment that has learned to embrace change simply because it is inevitable. In many cases change actually excites millennials. According to The Daily Muse, the desire for flexibility in the workplace is attributed to four main reasons: “work-family balance, continuing skills education, the disappearing corporate office, and the company’s bottom line.”
Millennials, just like anyone else, are involved with their families. Whether caring for their children or their parents, millennials are occupied by personal responsibility. Many are also perusing a degree while working. Graduate or undergraduate, this generation is continuing their education. In fact, companies occasionally pay for schooling for their full time employees. Often, millennials report that working in the morning and taking classes at night is the only option for pursuing a graduate program.
Collaboration is also embraced by millennials. Many meetings are conducted virtually due to the continued growth in global business. Companies often have contract employees in other countries and on other continents. Businesses and individuals have realized traveling halfway across the world to attend client meetings is unnecessary when technology can often facilitate the same communication (Skype, Facetime, etc.). This saves both time and resources.
Millennials are constantly in search for work with a purpose. They want to make an impactful contribution the world around them. This desire is what often leads them to smaller companies and startups. In fact, millennials often explain that working for a startup or creating their own is their dream job. When one hears the word startup, they often think of company equity, flexible hours, an energetic atmosphere, and having a voice. Startups are notorious for their reputation of having relaxed environments. They often offer complementary food, drinks, an on-site gym, ping-pong tables etc. Why is this? Newer companies promote an entertaining and interactive workplace to attract top talent. Startups dismiss the traditions of a suit-and-tie workplace in favor of a more relaxed and self-expressive environment.
Many millennials also work multiple jobs. Therefore, flexibility is imperative to their financial stability and professional future. According to The Washington Post, lack of flexibility is a leading reason why millennials have quit their jobs. Ernst and Young found that millennials want flexibility and to still “be on track for promotion.” For millennials, flexibility is an expectation rather than a reward.
Stanford economics professor Nicholas Bloom concluded from a study that working remotely actually increases productivity. Over the duration of nine months, Bloom observed 250 employees of a travel website. Half of the employees worked from home, and the other half worked in office. Bloom found that by diminishing the time it takes to physically commute to work and eliminating the distractions of an in-office environment produced a measurable and positive outcome. Bloom found that the out-of-office employees increased their overall performance by 10% compared to their fellow employees in office, saving the company $1,900 per employee. In addition, not only did their productivity increase but as did their overall job satisfaction.
It is important to understand that employees are the most expensive part of a company. According to Forbes, 87% of companies report a cost between $15,000 and $25,000 to replace each lost millennial employee. Employment Network Hourly, recorded that “full-time telecommuting can save companies between $20,000 and $37,000 per employee per year.” TIME Magazine pointed out, by the year 2025, Millennials will comprise 75% of the global workplace. If companies want to save money and retain talent it is clear that they will have to embrace this change in work culture.