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How Millennials Are Changing the Workplace

Over the past decade, there have been countless lists and articles published about all the things that Millennials are killing. But seeing as how Millennials and Gen Z now make up almost 40% of the workforce (in 2016, according to Pew Research data, Millennials became the largest generation in the labor force) – and that number will be nearer 60% within the next ten years – it probably behooves us to take a bit more serious look at all the ways that Millennials are shaking up the status quo. One thing is absolutely clear: Millennials are killing the conventional workplace.

They’re Looking for More Remote Work

While Millennials are the core segment pushing this trend forward, in reality, remote work is an in-demand benefit for workers of all ages. In fact, we’re trending toward an expected 73% of businesses including remote workers by 2028, according to Upwork’s 2019 Future Workforce report.

Remote opportunities allow for job seekers to extend their search radius, but the benefits extend beyond just breaking down geographic boundaries. Remote work also means that businesses are able to extend their search to identify more qualified employees – and vice versa, for workers to find the positions that they are more uniquely qualified for.

The benefits of remote work are far-reaching and life-changing. Buffer’s State of Remote Report 2019 outlines the benefits of remote work – including a more flexible schedule, working from anywhere, more time with family, and more. But eliminating the need for telecommuting also has major benefits for the environment, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving air quality.

They’re More Open to Contract Work

The gig economy has been rapidly growing in recent history, and it’s not slowing down any time soon. As of August 2019, about 36% of all U.S. workers were engaged in the gig economy in some way, and it’s projected that by 2027, at least half of all American workers will be participating.

This doesn’t mean that Millennials are purely self-employed business owners. Some are, but plenty more are either accepting gig work on the side of their full-time or part-time jobs or are stringing together gigs from various industries like dog walking and contract customer service work and freelance graphic design to make ends meet.

Contract work is flexible, allowing Millennials to put away extra money (or pay off more of those prevalent student loans), and it allows them to call their own shots to an extent

On the flip side, employers are reaping benefits in terms of efficiency. You can hire more specialized professionals to take on overflow that may not justify an entire full-time position. In the long run, this is a more profitable hiring tactic for businesses, who are saving on benefits, taxes and training costs for their contract workers.

They Only Want to Work with Companies They Believe In

According to CEO Michael Bush of Great Place to Work, Millennials’ jobs with purpose and meaning drives their best work, benefitting the company as a whole. According to their 2018 report, when Millennials work at companies that they view as having a high-trust culture, they’re 22x more likely to want to work there and stay for a long time (versus 16x for Gen X and 13x for Baby Boomers).

Millennial turnover, according to Gallop research, costs the U.S. economy more than $30.5 billion annually. 21% of Millennials surveyed reported changing jobs within the last year, and a whopping 60% are open to a different opportunity. So it’s important for businesses to better engage their Millennial employees by offering more open lines of communication, and better benefits like flexibility.

They’re Demanding A Better Work-Life Balance

Younger generations want a different work-life balance. It’s part of the reason that remote or contract work is so appealing to them. They’re not saying no to hard work or long hours, but as one of the first generations to regularly share parental responsibilities, and with the advent of technology that has created an “always-on” work culture, Millennials are demanding more flexibility for remote work and a shift away from the traditional 5-day workweek.

According to Digital Pulse, one of the most crucial considerations for companies to support remote work is getting the technology right. So more and more businesses are looking into software and tools that support this evolving expectation, including virtual phone systems like Tresta, which allow teams to use their own smartphones for their business phone numbers and offer features like smart routing, user and department grouping, and virtual extensions.

They’re Reducing Redundancies & Increasing Tech

In-person meetings that take up half the workday and long conference calls that require everyone to dial in even if they won’t be saying anything can be an enormous waste of time for most people involved; Millennials know this, and respectfully request that you put it in an email instead.

Millennials may seem a little impatient, but that just means that they want to get straight to the chase. With a younger, more tech-savvy workforce, who are less willing to compromise their time, businesses can benefit in productivity, efficiency, and profitability.

Many workforces are now relying more heavily on technology to help streamline processes and speed things up while offering more functionality. This is why you’re seeing more chat-based communications, online training modules, and employee portals being used in businesses of all sizes.

Ultimately these changes actually improve collaboration instead of hindering it, so it’s another positive for your business.

They’re Highly Adaptable & Willing to Change

We all know that the modern workplace is changing at a rapid clip, as a result of digitalization. As job automation becomes more and more a reality, 96% of managers believe reskilling is important for their teams. According to The World Economic Forum, an estimated 54% of all employees will require “significant” reskilling by 2022.

Only one in 10 baby boomers feel that it’s their own responsibility to reskill as technology threatens the stability of their more traditional careers. Meanwhile, 30% of Millennial and Gen Z workers claim responsibility for their own skill development and proactively seek out self-development and training opportunities.

Businesses are also seeing benefits from offering additional training opportunities to younger employees, in order to support upskilling. Teaching current employees new, more advanced skills is helping to close the talent gap and give companies a more competitive edge – and Millennials are all for it.


Millennials want more flexibility, more transparency, and a feeling that they can actually contribute and be of value to the company they’re working for. A job isn’t just a job to them; they’re seeing the work they do almost as an extension of themselves, and they want it to be meaningful. These changes are impacting the workforce in major ways, so in order to attract and retain the top talent, consider implementing these changes sooner rather than later.