Today’s young employees can’t be bothered with dressing up for work or hacking their way to the office through the crowded subway. Gen Z only needs a touch of their finger or the sound of their voice to transform their space into a well-connected home office.
However, it’s not all roses for this young workforce with their digital-first affront. Behind the screens, remote workers have to carefully resist and counter social isolation that may occur due to physical disconnection.
Companies all over the world have started accommodating flexible work setups in one way or the other. With a hard shove from the pandemic, even the most reluctant organizations have rid themselves of the compulsion for physical presence. However, Gen Z, many of whom graduated remotely and entered the workforce virtually, got the brunt of the situation the most.
Though Gen Z prefers freedom, around 43% report feeling isolated and disconnected from their peers. Young professionals working from home suffer from low commitment and engagement issues and often find themselves losing valuable career opportunities and promotions.
Let’s see how remote work might be failing these young employees.
Remote Work Pitfalls To Avoid For Young Employees
This generation doesn’t often get to connect with its peers face-to-face. If they don’t make the necessary effort to form meaningful relationships virtually or through physical interaction, they may fall prey to common remote work challenges, as discussed below.
Career Advancement Issues: Remote work can bar natural interaction between Gen Z and the management. As a result, in-office employees with more chances to interact with their managers may acquire more industry knowledge and come across opportunities to excel in their careers compared with remote ones.
Underdeveloped Social Capital: Since physical absence can limit communication, many young employees may end up focusing solely on the tasks assigned to them. In a rigid virtual environment, it can become problematic for remote Gen Z employees to nurture trust, empathy, and work friendships since they don’t have any prior experience in cultivating them in the first place.
Lack Of Influence: Senior employees are role models to listen to and follow. Virtual collaboration separates words from actions. Remote employees can listen to their advice and instructions but can’t see them walk the talk. As a result, their advice may not have a lasting impact, thus depriving the young workforce of learning from seniors.
Poor Professional Development: Many young employees who have just stepped into the professional sphere don’t get the chance to develop soft skills such as attitude, conflict and time management, decision making, communication, etc.
Engagement And Interaction Issues: Since many Gen Z remote employees don’t have office working experience, they’re sometimes unclear about their company’s management hierarchy and workplace culture. Both put them at a disadvantage when interacting with their work fellows.
Ways Companies Can Help Gen Z Employees Thrive
The remote work challenges the young workforce faces can affect its performance and growth. Companies can attract young talent and include Gen Z into the force without any misgivings by making minor policy adjustments.
1. Ensure Availability of Mentors
Since most Gen Z employees are beginning their careers, not having enough mentors to guide them is one of their biggest challenges when working from home. According to Cision, 90% of Gen Z prefer to have human interaction irrespective of their work setup preferences.
Gen Z individuals usually have long-term career goals, and they gravitate toward strong leadership so they can learn the skills they need to achieve their goals. Companies can implement mentorship programs for remote employees, conduct brainstorming sessions, organize in-house expert-led learning sessions or allow the best employees to participate in external team training programs.
2. Prioritize Digital Upgrades
Gen Z is both tech-proficient and tech-dependent. Logically, they will be more comfortable working with companies that have incorporated modern technology and a degree of automation into their processes.
Whether you offer them a fully remote position or require them to come to the office sometimes (hybrid work), make sure you use top-notch applications and the latest devices to provide a seamless experience.
3. Provide Flexibility For Work-Life Balance
Gen Z has always been a proponent of flexibility and the desire to achieve a healthy work-life balance. Even before the pandemic, they were inclined to work from home or roam the world as digital nomads.
As companies invite their employees back to offices after the pandemic, it’s essential to give your young workforce options to continue working from home or adopt other flexible models like hybrid or co-working setups. Companies should take heed from Linkedin, which allows their employees the complete freedom to choose the work setup they prefer.
4. Make Mental Health A Priority
GenZ and millennials consider mental health one of their top priorities. According to the 2021 American Stress Survey, 46% of Gen Z adults admitted that their mental health worsened during the pandemic. If companies want happy and productive young employees, they should engage telehealth services and hire mental health experts to oversee the psychological health of their workforce.
5. Promote Interaction And Socialization
Most older employees have decades of social capital under their belt. However, Gen Z workers entering the workforce just now and working from home don’t have the opportunities to mingle with their coworkers.
The companies should create meaningful opportunities for all the staff to get together physically or virtually. Zapier holds company-wide retreats to promote physical interaction. Charity Bike Buidathon is a fantastic example of team-building and learning experiences for the younger generation.
Gen Z is a relatively flexible, creative, and entrepreneurial generation. Companies should provide them opportunities to experience diverse challenges, which can foster their skills and engage them in healthy competition at their workplaces. As a result, they will feel more involved with the company matters, improve productivity, and feel fulfilment in their career.
This is a guest post by Karli Jaenike. Karli is a content marketer and founder of content marketing and SEO collective Wild Idea. With over 10 years in the marketing industry, she’s worked with brands large and small across many industries to grow organic traffic and reach new audiences. She writes on everything from marketing, social and SEO to travel and real estate. On the weekends, she loves to explore new places, enjoy the outdoors and have a glass or two of vino!