A New Generation Makes its Demands

In 2012, The Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics (vol. 9(6) 2012) published an article about the working habits of Millennials. Three points stand out:

  1. “Many of this generation’s parents are affluent middle-agers who are now confronted with progenies who are drawn to the “softer” side of life: art, poetry, music, and the surreal world of games.”
  2. “While many of them excelled in high school and college, they don’t seem attracted to the current structured world of work out there.”
  3. “Many of them seem to explore their options, waiting for the right moment or opportunity to come along, and not in a hurry to proactively chase it.”

So, if you are building a company and hiring the younger generation of workers, how do you appeal to their sensibilities?

First, don’t focus on the traditional benefits that come with employment. Health insurance, stable income, and a promise of advancement mean very little to these 20-somethings. They’ve grown up in a world where Fortune 500 companies lay off thousands of people and Federal employees are sent home during systematic shut-downs. To them, no job is secure. Health insurance is available outside of the workplace. And there are endless freelance jobs to earn money from a living room couch or local coffee shop.

Second, don’t mention the 9-5 hours. In fact, you might completely rethink those hours anyway. Why? These Millennials, heavy with tech skills, will happily walk away from your company if you press them to work a traditional workday. They will work hard; but on their time. And if you don’t like it, find someone else. (And good luck with that.)

Finally, don’t expect them to work forever. You might spend endless hours seeking the right candidate, vetting all applicants, and providing company training only to find your Millennial opts to spend winter in Switzerland skiing. You spent three months hiring and only got two months of work out of your new tech employee.

It’s time to rethink some of the traditional constraints of employment. In fact, something as inconvenient as a long commute could dissuade your Millennial from staying at the job. Remote working (from home or an approved coworking space) could go a long way in keeping a good employee from disappearing at the first hint of snow. Or sun.

Millennials have been raised well, by overly protective parents. They don’t approach the world of work with much apprehension or fear. They are a confident bunch without much to lose. And the companies that learn how to adapt to their standards might find a competitive edge for future growth in all markets.

Wellness at Work

Work can be stressful; but your workplace shouldn’t be. The modern office has come a long way from the dull pallor of the grey cubicles and fluorescent lighting of the 1980s. To be fair, some work spaces seem to have gone too far… basketball courts and open floorplans might seem enviable — but could mean far too many distractions for functional workplace. The right approach to wellness in the workplace means creating a plan customized to match your location and meet the needs of your group of workers.

San Diego’s CyberTECH is embracing wellness with an initial, three-pronged approach: hydration, nutrition, and physical activity. Moreover, CyberTECH is partnering with emerging companies to bring these wellness activities into their co-working space.

To start, CyberTECH has partnered with Kona Deep to ensure its Members have the best water available throughout their working day. According to its website, “Kona Deep offers a very different hydration experience because of its unique blend of naturally occurring deep ocean electrolytes.” As an incubator space for entrepreneurs and tech companies, CyberTECH is a second home to many of its Members. Early morning meetings and late nights are standard in this workplace. Most of the Members will spend more (awake) hours in these offices than at home. And while tap water might be sufficient, proper hydration comes from drinking high quality water, like Kona Deep.

While CyberTECH has a great Banker’s Hill location with fantastic views of the San Diego bay and Lindbergh landing strip, there aren’t many places nearby to grab lunch. To encourage healthy eating, CyberTECH is soon to open Grind – Fresh and Healthy Choices Coffee Cart. The in-house cart will be using local coffee roasters and local food producers to offer Members a way to buy fresh food and coffee. Members will soon have an easy way to grab food and gather around a café table or conference table to discuss collaborative business opportunities.

CyberTECH is also going to expand its use of the interior courtyard at the First and Fir building by offering Feng Gong Relaxation. With the help of a Member organization, CyberTECH wants to help others at First and Fir reduce work-related stress with this Asian practice of stretching and relaxation.

CyberTECH will continue to expand and adjust its workplace wellness plans as Member needs grow and change. Possible future additions include a running club, morning yoga, and in-house benefits consultations.