Survey Offers Lessons Multigenerational Virtual Office Users
There are many considerations in a multigenerational workforce—especially in workforces that are becoming more mobile and more distributed. With a alternative workplace strategies gaining momentum, this is a topic that demands attention.
Think about it: Is your boss younger than you? Are you communicating well with each other? How does the distributed workforce impact the multigenerational workplace mix?
A new survey from Pitney Bowes reveals that 20 percent of the 231 attendees at the Direct Marketing Association’s DMA: 2011 Conference & Exhibition are reporting to a younger supervisor. Especially in creative industries, this is probably not all that unusual. But the truth is most workforces have a mix of Baby Boomers who are about to retire, Generation Xers at the peak of their career and Millennials who are just starting out.
"Companies are working toward creating a more inclusive work environment. This means equitable messaging for all employees, regardless of how and where they work," says Susan Johnson, vice president of Executive Succession and Diversity Strategies, Pitney Bowes Inc. "Effective diversity strategies now address regional, generational and even technological differences found throughout the workforce."
Notice that Johnson mentioned “where they work” and “regional” differences. With the rose of telecommuting and mobile workers, these are notable issues indeed. When combined with multigenerational communication styles, it’s important to understand the unique characteristics of each age group and know how to motivate and communicate with mobile and telecommuting employees in virtual offices.
Pitney Bowes offers some tips for companies with multigenerational workforces. If you are a telecommuter, virtual office user, mobile worker or road warrior, these tips can help you communicate more effectively.
The first key is to emphasize the strengths of each generation and instill these values into the workplace:
Baby Boomers tend to thrive on individualism.
Gen Xers often are drawn to entrepreneurialism.
Millennials may have an affinity for teamwork.
Next, consider communications channel preferences:
Baby Boomers are most familiar and comfortable with email.
Generation X is flexible and savvy with most channels and technologies.
Millennials are constantly connected and turn first to text or instant message rather than talking.
"As companies master customer communications management, they should also apply this strategy with their own employees,” Johnson says. “Sending the right message in the right channel to each generation in this challenging economic environment may lead to increased productivity and morale."
Check out this video on the multigenerational workforce: