Explaining Your Flexible Work Environment to Your Mom

By: Anneken Tappe · October 04, 2023 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

Tradition vs Transformation

Ever since the pandemic, companies offer greater flexibility in when, where, and how employees work. But not everyone is on board with the new normal.

The U.S. is seeing a generational clash over how the workplace should operate. While younger generations are racing to embrace changing norms, many in earlier generations insist the old way of working still reigns supreme.

Redrawing the Lines

For most of their lives, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers navigated structured, 9 to 5 work schedules. Hard work and long hours in the office seemed necessary steps toward bonuses, promotions, and financial stability.

Younger Millennials and Gen Z employees, meanwhile, are embracing all the hallmarks of the new workplace: gig economy jobs, remote work, disruptive productivity technology like artificial intelligence, and Zoom (ZM) calls on-the-go. For these workers, maintaining a flexible work-life balance and prioritizing mental health is the key to a rewarding career.

For many families, parents and children are falling on separate sides of this divide, and it’s playing out at family dinner.

Who’s Right?

Finding an objective right or wrong answer is hard to do. But one thing is for sure, different generations of workers have different motivations for their preferences.

For example, workers under 40 had their first work experiences through the financial crisis, and the economic roller coaster that was the pandemic, including 22 million Americans losing their jobs. To be sure, older generations also lived through these crises, and then some, but they may not have been as formative in their work life. So, regardless of whether you lean team office or team remote, it’s worth celebrating the increased freedom to be either in today’s workplace.

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