An office environment can be compared to a country with diversity. You may be working with people of different ages, races, religions and other cultural backgrounds. More importantly, you may be working with people who think differently and work differently. Generational differences can increase the gap further, making an impact on how employees work together and what they think is appropriate career and office etiquette.
To study the impact created by these variances, CareerBuilder surveyed employees of different age groups to examine what they think about working with colleagues of other generations.
Here is what the study reveals.
When monitored by a millennial
As per the survey, 38% of people said they worked for bosses who were younger than them. Among those, 22% worked for bosses who were younger by few years, while 16% worked for bosses who were younger by 10 years or more.
91% of those surveyed said age difference was never a problem in their working environment. A minority of those who were unhappy with their younger managers gave the following reasons:
a) 55% said my boss believes he knows more than me while I am more experienced.
b) 38% said boss favors younger workers more.
c) 42% said boss turns defensive when his/her decision is questioned
d) 34% said boss makes a presumption that I do not know certain things
e) 21% said boss makes a presumption that I do not know certain technologies
Workplace then and now
The modern day office would look totally different from a workplace 30 years ago. Do employees of the older generation think younger-generation workers have better facilities? Well, the survey says 63% of employees above the age of 55, said yes. According to them, younger employees have better work situations and more advantage than they had at their age.
The following are the reasons stated by them.
a) 54% said the technologies enjoyed by the younger employees of today never existed years ago.
b) 27% said modern day workers have more flexibility with their work schedule
c) 25% said younger employees were paid much better relative to the economy.
d) 19% said they could move up the career ladder faster
e) 18% said they had better training
f) 14% said there is better work-life balance today than in the older times.
It is important to dissolve generation gap in your workplace as quickly as possible. Otherwise, it could be a barrier to your growth level.
What to do if you belong to the younger generation?
Based on the survey, here are some useful ideas to overcome generation gap.
1) As someone who belongs to the modern age, you must respect the men and women who have seen the world years before you. Never overlook their ideas/opinions. Sometimes, traditional and old-style ideas work better. So think twice before turning down their points.
2) If you still feel their ideas wont work, explain it to them. Show them demos to prove that modern ideas / technologies can do things better, faster and more efficiently.
3) Teach them the art of using modern technology. You must know and understand that they are much older and will take more time to learn.
What to do if you belong to the older generation?
1) The first and foremost thing to do is to realize that - past is past. There is no use comparing or complaining about modern developments. You must try and live up to the changes of the modern workplace.
2) Never hold back on sharing your ideas. But you must also learn and understand modern ways of working, using technology or dealing with things.
3) Never try to match with a youngsters speed or thinking process. Instead use your own experience to good effect.
As an employee, you must realize that it is a blend of youth and experience that work in an office environment. You must respect each others age in order to have a happy working environment. The best way to love each other is to kill the ego clash, superior or inferior feeling and positional differences. After all, every man goes through young and old age.