Article (April-2018)


Millennials : Reshaping the Workplace

Moitrayee Das

Designation : -   Ph.D student

Organization : -  Tata institute Of Social Sciences, Mumbai


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The words work-life balance almost feels like a myth in most workplaces and it is an unsaid norm that is understood by everyone that work is priority and everything else comes second. What I find hard to understand is why can't we balance the two? Our work and life, after all who doesn't want to have both. In this context, millennials seem to have got their priorities straight and know exactly what they want. Demographers and researchers typically consider 'millennials' - the much talked about generation as having been born between the early 1980s to the mid - 1990s or early 2000s. It is believed that the millennials possess characteristics that are likely to have unique influence across industries, given the large population they represent.
Millennial workers, the group that companies say they are scrambling to attract and retain, are the most dissatisfied. Survey after survey, including the EY one, show that what millennials most want is flexibility in where, when and how they work. Millennials as well as men were most likely in the survey to say that they would take a pay cut, forgo a promotion or be willing to move to manage work-life demands better. Millennials attach the most importance to a good work/life balance. Companies that offer their employees opportunities to progress and a degree of flexibility (such as remote working possibilities) are also attractive to younger workers.
Yet the survey found that 1 in 6 reports suffering negative consequences for having a flexible schedule. Lack of flexibility was cited among the top reasons millennials quit jobs. And nearly 40 percent of young workers, male or female, are so unhappy with the lack of paid parental - leave policies that they say they would be willing to move to another country.
It is important to understand that when millennials say work-life balance they don't mean work less and enjoy more, they meanwork differently and more flexibly. There's a big difference. It is really sad that having a work-life balance is not the norm in most workplaces and companies would see it as making it an exception if they did so. The choice that one needs to make in the workplace is between financial success and personal success and that is not the right kind of choice on should have to make. It is important to have a life outside the office too and be able to give time and attention to those.
It remains to be seen how quickly work norms are changing. But there is power in numbers. The millennials are a huge cohort of workers who value flexibility more than previous generations and it won't be too far when things would change for the better.
Adaption has always been a tough process, but not an impossible one definitely. I strongly believe that if we keep our minds open to new ways of thinking and doing, instead of desperately clinging to old ways of being and thinking, millennials can have a lasting positive impact on the way the workplace functions.