generation z in office environment

Born between 1997 and 2010, they’re often referred to as Millennials and are very concerned about work/life balance.

We’re talking about Gen Z, a group of people who are still undervalued at a corporate level but who are estimated to represent 27% of the workforce by 2025. They are the first global generation to be born into the age of multiple digital communication tools, but they have a strong necessity to live and be present in the physical world.

The consequence? Companies need to start their own transformation (both in design and culture fields) to attract and retain new incoming talent.

The characteristics of Gen Z in the workplace

Before discussing benefits, it’s necessary to have a clearer idea of Generation Z and the traits that characterise them in the workplace.

Gen Z is an entrepreneurial generation that prefers to have its own workspace. They are digital natives who prefer offline communications in the workplace and a flat organisational structure.

Technological competence is a primary factor: young people are highly digitised and have a mobile-first approach in their daily lives. Paperless business is key. What does this mean? People will use their smartphones for all activities that can be done from this device.

In many cases, this brings with it some negative traits, such as less patience and greater difficulty in concentrating. On the other side, Gen Z has a greater ability to multitask, also (and especially) when using several devices at the same time.

From a human point of view, Gen Zers (as they are increasingly called) are very individualistic and competitive: they need to be motivated and helped to communicate correctly when working in a team. They also tend to look for employers with a similar on-demand culture and do-it-yourself mentality to explore alternative education options and communicate face-to-face.

Finally, they care a lot about their principles: the company they work for must have a clear and consistent mission and be close to their values.

What does Gen Z want from its employer?

When we talk about Gen Zers, it’s the little things that make the difference when choosing one company over another: contractual stability, paid holidays, paid maternity/paternity leave and basic health insurance are considered essential and necessary everywhere. Young people prefer multiple all-year-round micro benefits to salary increases, which include the obligation to work according to precise rules or schemes.

Here are the most common ones.

  • Agile working – Generation Z wants to work more freely, from the choice of their workstation to their working hours.
  • Face-to-face feedback with managers – Despite the demand to work remotely, Gen Zers seek real personal contact, especially with superiors.
  • Free snacks and drinks in the office – The work cafè, instead of the vending machine corner, is now a must-have. Unlike their Millennial colleagues, Gen Zers want to be able to take advantage of what is available in this area at their leisure, as is the case in large Silicon Valley companies.
  • Community benefits – Relaxation areas, games and video games, in-house gyms and much more: what young people are looking for is a third-place in the office where they can relax and socialise with colleagues. This place should be the connecting element between people and the area where frequent company events are organised.
  • Financial advice and agreements– For many young people the financial aspect is important but doesn’t have to be linked only to salary. While spending capacity has decreased a lot in recent years and especially during the pandemic, this new generation is aware of a lack of knowledge on their part of the financial world, also in terms of pension funds and savings. The solution? Being able to count on your company to help you learn how to manage your money better and to have advantages in affiliated structures (medical centres, gyms, training organizations).

To conclude, people under 25 years want a stable but flexible job, which allows them to manage their activities both from home in order to be more productive and in the office in order to socialise, benefiting from the company’s benefits to save money in their daily life.

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