PRESS RELEASE: 8×8 released a new study that highlights how Generation (Gen) Z, which will enter the workforce in earnest in 2017, will change the workplace, especially as it relates to business communications. The report, titled, “Rogue One: How Generation Z is Going to Bring Balance to the (work)Force,” surveyed full- and part-time employed Gen Z, millennial and Gen X workers, and found that the work preferences of Gen Z, in many ways, align more closely with Gen X than millennials.
For instance, the survey findings suggest Gen Z are less tech-dependent than millennials, and more similar to Gen X, when it comes to adopting high-tech devices and apps in their personal lives. Millennials are more likely to use wearables (39 percent), connected appliances (35 percent) and virtual reality (24 percent) than Gen Z or Gen X. Additionally, Gen Z values face-to-face communication more than any other generation, with an emphasis on effectiveness over convenience–a major shift from how millennials prefer to work. While one in four Gen Z workers prefer communicating in person, millennials were most likely to respond that face-to-face communication will be less important in the future.
“Our goal with this study was to benchmark for the first time how Gen Z communication and work preferences might impact the workplace, especially when it comes to adoption of newer technologies,” said Enzo Signore, CMO, 8×8, Inc. “We found that while millennials have encouraged the workplace to become more technologically advanced and remote-work friendly, Gen Z will bring more balance to the workplace through face-to-face communication and tools that will help them communicate more effectively. We believe this will start to have an impact over the next 12 months.”
A Balancing Influence
In general, millennial work styles and communications preferences differ from their Gen X predecessors, but Gen Z preferences are more a hybrid of the two. The majority of Gen Z workers want a physical workspace (57 percent) combined with the ability to work remotely (48 percent) and have flexible hours (73 percent). Additionally, when asked about the types of communications tools they want to use, the majority of millennials want tools that will save them the most time. Adversely, Gen Z wants to use tools that are the most effective, even if it takes more time, demonstrating a desire to do a job well versus quickly.
When it comes to traditional workplace tools, Gen Z brings balance between high-tech millennials and older Gen Xers. Less than 20 percent of Gen Z respondents say they are likely to use traditional Gen X tools like email or landlines for work. But on the flip side, Gen Z is the least likely of every generation to use millennial favorites like messaging and chat apps in the future workplace. Smartphones are the exception and are quickly becoming a hub of communication for all generations, but especially for Gen Z. When asked which device they used to take the survey, twice the amount of Gen Z respondents (62 percent) used a smartphone over millennials (31 percent) and Gen X (28 percent).
Other Key Findings
The generations didn’t disagree on every response, finding common ground on the importance of some technologies to the future workplace. There are also some interesting findings as they relate to other newer technologies like bots and connected appliances. These include:
Email on the decline: More than half of all generations surveyed do not believe they will use email for work in the future.
Bots are here to stay: Nearly seven in 10 of all respondents agreed that at least some of their current jobs could be automated by bots today, with even more agreeing that bots will automate some part of their jobs in the future.
Connected home will impact work: On average, 55 percent of all respondents agreed that connected devices, such as cars, fridges, etc. could be used for work in the future.
No more lines between personal and work tech: The majority of all respondents (56 percent) would prefer to use the same tools for work as in their personal lives.
About the Survey
8×8 partnered with Koski Research to field a survey of full- and part-time employed workers in November 2016. Koski Research collected a sample of 1,000 respondents across the United States who use a computer or phone for their everyday work. The survey includes 200 Gen Z respondents, 400 millennial respondents and 400 Gen X respondents, ages 18 to 50. The sample size is statistically representative of working Americans, including gender, age, income, race/ethnicity and geographic location.
To explore the key findings in greater detail read the full report.