As we’re coming halfway through 2022, a lot of knowledge workers are still working under a remote or hybrid model. But one thing to take note of is the fact that most of these knowledge workers are people that have already tasted what it feels like to work in the office.
The benefits of remote work, such as increased productivity, better work-life balance and flexibility, are too big to be ignored and it’s not likely that we’re going back. And for those who already reaped the merits of working in the office to the fullest, the remote work model is too good to be denied.
Yet, we’re forgetting about one big question mark. What about the people who had no experience in working in an office? Is working remotely as beneficial for them?
What Gen Z Might Be Missing?
Gen Z have just entered the business scene and it’s very likely that they’re taking either remote or hybrid positions as 90% of employers have reported adopting hybrid work models for their employees in 2022. This indicates that a huge portion of Gen Z workers will be lacking full-time office experience.
But on what grounds working full-time in the office was effective?
After working remotely for more than two years, we may have forgotten about the effective aspects of working in the office but the truth be told, there were some advantages of being in the office as well.
First of all, Gen Z will face the risk of being undertrained. In the office, when you’re exposed to a crowd of your peers, seniors and managers, it is much easier and faster to learn, grow and improve. Now away from everyone, Gen Z might not have the same learning curve as in the office.
Secondly, they will be deprived of side perks of being in the office, such as small talks by the coffee machine, lunchtime with their coworkers or “after parties”. Although these kinds of activities can sometimes be overlooked, they actually hold a special place in creating a sense of belonging for the employees. And for Gen Z, this sense may not develop in the same manner.
And thirdly, they face the risk of missing out on networking opportunities. In the office, you don’t only communicate with your team members but also a variety of people from different projects or departments. Keeping interacting with a variety of people can play a big role in advancing an employee’s career.
So, being stripped of these advantages of being in the office can play a negative role on Gen Z’s business world experience. But, it doesn’t go to show that there aren’t things to be done in the remote work model, to compensate for the missed opportunities of an office environment.
What Can be Done?
Although Gen Z probably won’t be making the best out of on-site working, it’s very unlikely that they would prefer working in the office over the remote work model. Gen Z loves the flexibility and freedom that the remote work model brings. They just need to be supervised more diligently.
Coaching of Young Workers
Managers should prioritize the coaching of young workers. Remote work doesn’t strip us of holding coaching sessions or providing opportunities for employees to learn and improve their skills.
Managers can hold one-to-one sessions with their young workers or delegate someone experienced with the same task to ensure that young workers are making their way through. Organizing online education for groups of people can also be effective in improving more than one person at the same time.
Another mechanism that can go a long way for helping young workers to grow is providing feedback. Maybe in a sense, providing constructive feedback is the best teacher for remote workers because it allows them to see where they went wrong and what the accurate approach can be.
Providing feedback can also help Gen Z to feel valued and involved in the company. So, seniors and managers should take their time in providing well-organized feedback to keep their young workers in the game.
Being transparent about their position in the company and keeping them aware of the growing opportunities can make up for the Gen Z’s lack of experience in working in the office as well. Remote workers, especially the ones that just started, would care about learning how well they’re doing in the company because it has a direct effect on their motivation.
Creating opportunities to grow for your young workers will also allow them to feel involved in your business. If people know that there are opportunities for them to further in the company, that can definitely increase their motivation and productivity.
Maintaining personal relationships with remote workers plays a big role in keeping them in the game too. After all, one of the challenges of the remote work model is being deprived of personal communication in the office and the most effective way of recovering from that is transferring it to the online platform.
By holding regular video conference meetings with your young workers, you can allow them to create personal bonds with your company.
So, as we’re moving forward with the remote work model, we should be aware of the fact that for Gen Z, it might be the only work model they get to experience. To prevent them from distancing themselves from the company, managers should take charge of making the necessary effort.
As a summary, these can help companies with young remote workers to make them feel involved:
- Holding coaching sessions to help them grow
- Providing feedback to create a two-way communication
- Being transparent about their position in the company
- Providing opportunities for them to progress in the company
- Hold regular meetings to improve personal communication