Nearly one-third of U.S. millennials are still living under their parents’ roofs (and that’s a fact, not a snide remark), but that’s not stopping them from rocking the long-established boat of American work culture. The nine-to-five office gig is getting old, and remote work, apparently, is going to be its bold, new successor. Yes, they may be still getting grilled cheese sandwiches hand-delivered to them from mom as they hang out in the basement playing Grand Theft Auto V, but millennials are simultaneously managing to shift the foundational plates U.S. companies have found themselves firmly rooted on for the past two centuries and then some. Get ready for the big one, because it’s been a long time coming, and things are about to get all shook up.
What Millennials Want
Aside from an active Tinder account and a healthy number of Twitter followers, there’s something else that millennials really want: freedom. Maybe it’s because Western civilization has long promoted the idea of “the individual” and everybody gets participation awards just for showing up, or maybe it’s not, but regardless of its origins, polls taken of millennials and recent postgraduates show strong leanings towards freedom and flexibility in the workplace — and perhaps most significantly, no workplace at all. Here are the numbers to prove it:
68% of millennials are more interested in a job that can be worked remotely (AfterCollege)
64% of millennials would like the opportunity to work from home (PwC)
82% of millennials say they would be more loyal to employers if they had flexibility (FlexJobs)
From these three statistics alone, it becomes pretty clear that millennials are on board with a work culture that doesn’t take place in an office. It also becomes crystal clear that they’re willing to leave a job with no flexibility for one that offers it.
Why Employers Had Better Start Putting a Premium on Flexibility
Regardless of whether you want to accept it, the best and the brightest are always coming from the newest generations. That’s the deal with evolution. The other deal with evolution, is that majority rules. Because of this, employers had better start paying attention to the demands of millennials, because the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2030, 75% of the workforce will be made up of them.
Of course, there are plenty of reasons for employers to want to go the route of remote hiring, from cutting back on opportunity costs to having more productive employees, but with the inevitable handover of the job market from Gen X and baby boomers to tech-savvy millennials, shifting to a remote business structure is proving to be a necessity for companies wanting to stay afloat. And if they don’t? Well, then some kid in his late 20s will just take the idea and start anew.
The Climb Continues
Fortunately, it seems that businesses are catching on quickly, and despite IBM’s recent dismantling of their work-from-home policies, other big names in tech, health, and even travel have clearly gotten the memo and are running with it. Companies like Adobe, Mozilla, Grubhub, ZenDesk, and Cisco are just a handful of companies that are hiring remote workers, and thanks to the advancements of technology made over the past twenty-odd years, more and more are hopping on the bandwagon.
As for the workforce, a whopping 43% of employed Americans were working remotely in 2016 according to a Gallup survey, and that number is projected to increase for 2017. Who knows, maybe the older generations are finally done pointing their fingers at “kids now of days” and shaking their hands instead. It seems that they’re on to something good, after all. (Maybe we should all move back into our parents basements).
Image: Atlas Green/Unsplash
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