Generation Z work
Image: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Not all generations point to tech in the workplace

21 Dec 2016

It might go X, Y, Z, but that doesn’t mean the generations are trending steadily in the same direction when it comes to their workplace preferences.

With the way the generations have evolved, it’s only natural to make assumptions. Baby boomers are the generation of a job for life, Generation X are the entrepreneurial types and Generation Y (or millennials) are the tech-savvy job hoppers.

Based on these simplified derivatives, you might think you’d be safe in assuming that Generation Z are even more technologically apt, more willing to adapt and change, less interested in face-to-face interaction and faster to move on from a job.

However, a recent report shows that Generation Z has a lot more in common with Generation X than with the millennials that came directly before them.

The report from 8×8 showed that one in four Generation Z workers preferred face-to-face communication, and they were most concerned with communicating messages clearly rather than quickly.

Generation Z graph

Graph from 8×8 report. Image: 8×8

Enzo Signore, the chief marketing officer of 8×8 Inc said: “We found that while millennials have encouraged the workplace to become more technologically advanced and remote-work friendly, Gen Z will bring more balance to the workplace through face-to-face communication and tools that will help them communicate more effectively.”

When it came to other forms of workplace communication, less than 20pc of Generation Z respondents said they were likely to use traditional email or landlines for work.

However, Generation Z were also least likely to use millennial favourites such as messaging and chat apps in the workplace.

Another area in which Generation Z were more likely to prefer traditional workplace styles was the office environment itself. Unlike its millennial predecessor, Generation Z was very much in favour of having a physical office (57pc).

While the newest workers did want the option of being able to work remotely as well as a physical office, it didn’t value accessing information remotely as much as the millennial generation. Only 67pc of respondents said it would be important to access data from any device compared to almost 80pc of millennials.

There is a lot of talk about millennials taking over the workforce, with many organisations re-evaluating their workplace systems and practices to accommodate Generation Y.

However, Generation Z is hot on the heels of the millennials, with 60m individuals heading to the workforce over the next number of years.

In light of the latest generation’s desire to have a more harmonious mix of old and new technologies and systems, it might be worth it for organisations to calm the rocket speed of new workplace technologies before deciding what’s best for the incoming generations, as well as the current ones.

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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