Demand for Flexibility

By Deborah Rothberg  |  Posted 2006-08-24 Print this article Print

A third noteworthy difference in the way that Generation Y workers relate to their jobs is a demand for flexibility unseen in previous generations. "Twenty years ago, everyone worked in the office. Now people will expect to dictate where and how they work. Theyll ask for more work-life balance, and how much paid time off and [whether] vacation programs are in place," Lanzalotto said.
Dr. Rosen attributes this insistence on flexibility to a focus on products, not processes.
"They dont do progress reports," in spite of the frustration that causes their superiors, Dr. Rosen said. "Theyll get the job done on time, but resent being reminded to. Centrally, they dont feel they should have to conform to office processes. But, they work well on deadlines. They feel that as long as they completed their work—the product—their process isnt what matters." Because of this focus on output and not method, they want different things out of their schedules, he said. "As long as theyre getting their work done on time, they dont see why they shouldnt have the maximum flexibility: flex time, flex hours and working from home," he said. A fourth characteristic of Generation Y workers, one that seems likely to significantly change their workplaces, regards communication methods: They expect an open workplace where they can have their views heard without fear of retribution. "It used to be, if you saw the CEO walking down the hall, you sat straight up and tried to look busy. Now youll have people that will call the CEO if there is something they do not like. Theyre not going to be afraid to voice an opinion. Its a different mindset," Lanzalotto said. For example, Generation Y workers will be demanding about the technology used in the workplace. "They will not stand for substandard technology, especially when they often have a better way to do things at home, and they can bring the work in. Theyll expect computers to work a certain way because they know whats out there. Why dont we have this? theyll ask," he said. Rather than viewing all of these changes brought about by the next generation of workers as difficulties that must be overcome, Lanzalotto encourages the older generation to make the most of it. "Workplace diversity is not just about culture; its about the way people think. If you have people pushing and shoving and moving around, youll only have a better company for it." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on IT management from


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel