Millennials Know Better
Who are the overall decision-makers in the office place today? Millennials. They do not make up the majority of CEOs in corporate America, but with millions of startups being launched each year, they make up the majority of startup founders/CEOs. Millennials are “the next great generation”, as stated by notable names like Neil Howe and William Strauss. Within the next 10 years, 75 percent of the workforce will be millennials.
Who Are Millennials?
Millennials are those selfie-taking hipsters born between the years of 1980 to 1995 known for a few things, most of which are not positive. Simon Sinek has found that millennials are often described as “entitled, narcissistic, self-interested, unfocused, and lazy.”
I too have heard a variety of comments about my generation being lazy, coddled and prone to move back in with mom and dad. However, they are quickly becoming the very people employers must listen to in order to stay ahead and be relevant. Like it or not, this generation is in control of changing the way we work and live.
What Makes Millennials Different?
USA Today called this generation the “Generation: Ideal.” Here are a few things millennials care about:
- A meaningful job
- Being “Green”
- Social justice
- Craft Beer
The largest differentiator in this generation is their love and adoption of technology. Millennials not only see the impact that technology has had on the world, but they cultivate, innovate and collaborate like no other generation before them. As Renji Bijoy mentioned in his article, “Restructuring Civilizations With Virtual Reality,” humans are apt tool builders.
Millennials could quite possibly exemplify this “tool builder” mentality more than any generation before. A Bentley University study says this in speaking about the millennial advantage: “There is no question millennials are seizing on the new platforms of the digital era — the Internet, mobile technology, social media — at a pace and depth that older age groups simply do not match.” With tools like GitHub and ScreenHero, collaboration and open source allows millennials to keep pushing the boundaries of technology and progress far beyond their predecessors, but the biggest change is yet to come.
Where Will the Change Come From?
You’ve probably noticed the massive resurgence of people flooding back into cities all over the country. This is quickly changing the landscape of urban real estate, both literally and in price inflation. Who is driving this change? You guessed it. People who were born between the years of 1980 and 1995. This shift to the city is not only hip, socially and ecologically responsible, but it also has birthed a new type of city culture. A culture that says, “I want to be in the city drinking P.B.R or nitro cold brew with a diverse group of people who also like all of those same things.”
Millennials don’t want to live in the suburbs or commute to work. They value their community, but they also value a meaningful job with a great employer. What do you do if your community doesn’t provide a meaningful career? Do you move? Drive an hour twice a day? Maybe, but that just sucks.
With thought leaders like Mr. Money Mustache paving the way for millennials, the next big change in society will be a drastic one involving the evolution of the workplace infrastructure. The advancement of virtual reality collaboration tools will help people to have in person collaboration from any part of the world giving companies the ability to erase office building expenses from their balance statements. This means office workers will never be tied down to a specific place because of their company’s location.
The Iron Triangle of Work
You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
The picture above represents the dilemma millennials are facing. Logic says that you can only choose two of the three options. Could this be why millennials are so known for job hopping? They seem to value the top of the triangle — where you live — over the other two sides.
Therefore, they will rarely find a meaningful job they love. Technology is giving us a new answer: work remote!
Millennials are the drivers of change. NY Times found that 43 percent of American workers worked remote for part or all of their job. The adoption and improvement of video chat and screen sharing have taken remote work to new heights in the US and around the globe, but it will not stop there. Virtual reality will be the next big wave of technology to carry remote work to the next level.
Remote Working Today Isn’t Perfect
I’ve been speaking with leaders in the Chicago tech scene who work on distributed teams. Here are the two biggest issues they have overwhelmingly voiced:
#1 Lack of community.
WeWork is one company doing a great job of allowing remote workers the opportunity to have community during their 9 to 5 without a commute. These affordable and technologically advanced offices are popping up in every city.
#2 Lack of physical collaboration.
Current video chat and e-white board tools can’t bridge the gap in productivity and communication.
How Immersed Bridges the Gap
Immersed is a tech startup out of Chicago with ideas that are disrupting the remote collaboration tool industry. They give teams the ability to collaborate and work in virtual reality from anywhere like you are in the same room. I would encourage you to check out their insane demo video. Immersed is not like video conferencing which only brings your hands into a screen, but with their joint recognition technology allows your entire body to be immersed in VR. Collaboration and community have never been stronger than it is with Immersed
Enjoy it while it lasts
Enjoy those long commutes and oversized office buildings while they last. With tech-heavy 30-somethings at the helm, I believe innovation of the outdated work system is just on the horizon. Millennials will be working hard to bridge the gap between an ideal life and an ideal job with the help of technology.
“What’s comin’ will come, an’ we’ll meet it when it does.”