Recent surveys confirm that the working habits between older generations and younger generations are a key creator of stress and frustration between coworkers.
- A new survey shows that Baby Boomers prefer constant memos and in-person conversations, while Zoomers prefer flexibility and remote work, according to News.com.AU.
- Zoomers find it annoying when older employees constantly need help with technical matters or “Reply All” to every email they receive.
- Boomers also approach work with a different temperament. Yelling at employees, enduring harsher company cultures, and indulging workaholic tendencies are behaviors that Zoomers consider a toxic workplace, according to Study Finds.
- As we previously reported, Zoomers tend to challenge the traditional nine-to-five workday, push for remote and hybrid work options, and rely on digital communications rather than in-person meetings.
Why It’s Important
The tensions between older generations and younger generations are not new. The millennial generation has been infamous for being lazy in the workplace and lacking ambition, needing more direct instructions while putting in less effort than their coworkers. However, with the economy facing renewed recessionary fears, a declining job market, and productivity declines, the current workplace changes that are most amenable to Zoomers are among the first that corporations have sought to curb in their rush to cut corners and increase profits.
Not all Zoomers share the same attitude toward dedication to their work. Many are highly intelligent and entrepreneurial, well suited to fitting into traditional corporate cultures and being fully dedicated to their work. General trends like “Quiet Quitting” have highlighted that younger generations are less committed to the daily grind in the way Boomers are, with many business leaders arguing that these tendencies are negative and need to be cracked down upon.
Valerie Sokolosky is a Dallas,Texas-based leadership coach who runs programs for corporate leaders. She tells Leaders Media that how generations denote each others’ temperaments and tendencies is reductionistic and does not solve the actual problems in how they communicate. She says that many of the Zoomers she has met are brilliant, learn fasters than their colleagues, and have a great deal to teach their coworkers, but both generations grew up with different values. Both generations are used to different family, college, and work dynamics, and this inability to communicate through them raises tensions.
“I recently worked with a design firm doing team building and leadership development, and on their team, there’s a Gen Z employee. This young woman was one of their best designers and had alot to teach some of the other team members who were Boomers. What did I encourage them to do? They had to go out and pitch their designs to companies, and I encouraged them to bring a variety of ages to make the pitch; then, the client was hearing from different perspectives with the client in mind. And it helps them win new business,” she says
Sokolosky says the advice she has given to employees is to use “grace.” Zoomers and Boomers need to have grace with each other and for each other—to not merely dismiss others who grew up in entirely different environments. The solution is greater communication and relationships. There need to be more conversations, team building, and grace for each other.