Writer Rant: No More Work Life Balance: Finding a Work Life Blend for the Millennial
Welcome to Writer Rants–where every Friday a writer just lets loose on whatever the heck is bugging them this week. Enjoy.
Millennials are hitting the workplace in full force and are set to make up 75% of employees within the next ten years. As we come on board, it’s important to note the generational differences that set us apart from the Baby Boomers before us.
One key point I’ve noticed is the shift from work-life balance towards a goal of work-life blending. Millennials want jobs that integrate with their daily lifestyles, not necessarily ones that are wholly different. The lines become a lot more blurred.
Though it comes with both pros and cons, the Millennial generation is comprised of natural multitaskers. As far back as 2011, Mashable reported 80% of consumers are using some kind of device while watching TV. We are used to multiple devices and projects inundating our worlds. While some have argued that these technological engagement levels have impacted our ability to stop and smell the roses, it is still a factor in how we live and operate.
A Millennial is less likely to mind if he or she gets a work-related email during non-office hours, and likely to expect a fast brand response on social media, even during night or weekend hours. Of course, Millennials also value breaks in the workplace more, as well as flexibility to work remotely. My generation craves short, sporadic breaks rather than the long, traditional breaks our parents envied.
One USA Today writer noted:
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.
We Redefine Value
Value has suddenly shifted from extrinsic rewards to intrinsic ones. Author Daniel H. Pink wrote Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, where he describes the shift from carrot-on-the-stick mentality to the desire for autonomy, mastering a skill and purpose in the workplace.
“Typically, if you reward something, you get more of it. You punish something, you get less of it. And our businesses have been built for the last 150 years very much on that kind of motivational scheme.” – Daniel Pink
The intense, daily grind of the nonprofit sector was exactly why I became a content writer. I love working, but I also crave flexibility and would prefer to multitask during my day. Who wants to be forced into a 9-5 productivity schedule? Personally, my most focused and productive work hours of the day are from 6am-10am and 9pm-12am right now. A strict office job would stifle that.
We Crave Perks Beyond Wage Increase
Fair pay is, of course, the first element of every job. One of the struggles for many would-be teachers, is the long hours they put in for little monetary reward. Professions like these force employees to get secondary jobs or require both parents to work in order to supplement the basic living expenses without living paycheck-to-paycheck each month.
But, a great job for a Millennial goes beyond this. Millennials are likely to consider free meals in the workplace, additional time off and professional development opportunities benefits that they want to see in their workplaces. Companies, like Google, have wrapped their workplace reputation around understanding these important desires of my generation. We are willing to work hard, and work under pressure, but we also want the company to acknowledge our value and provide intrinsic value in rewards that enrich our lives.
Writer Bio: Alethea M is a writer at WriterAccess, covering topics that range from marketing and design to photography and chiropractic care. She loves pulling out interesting facts from her corporate blogging research to impress friends at dinner parties.