I know, I know, much has been written about remote work, hybrid work and returning to the office. Heading to popular business news and information sources, you’ll find arguments for and against any one of these. But here we are, a small agency (of around 30 people) in Stellenbosch, and we are thinking to ourselves – if we could give our employees the choice, what would they want to do? The answer surprised me; they all wanted to return to work.
Can Millenials make up their minds?
I’ve reached a point in my life where I’ve made peace with the fact that I am a Millennial, in fact, I’d actually say that I’ve embraced it. At Lumico, probably 90% of the workforce are classified as Millennials with a few Gen Z cusps. Safe to say, that when we think of ourselves currently, we identify as Millennials.
Reading up on Millennials in the workplace (not even taking the last year and the pandemic into consideration), many different sources allude to the fact that Millennials do not really see a distinction between their job and their life. As an older person, you’re probably looking at this thinking, ‘these poor kids’, while the younger generation probably wants to live and work as an influencer, rendering this statement quite relatable.
“[Millennials] expect flexibility and work-life balance, and they will quickly bail on companies that don’t meet their definition of a life well-lived. Trying to adapt established workplace norms to millennials — or adapt millennials to established workplace norms — hasn’t been easy or especially successful”, reports Gallup. What is even more interesting is that Hubble reports that when asked, 77% of Gen Z and 70,5% Millennials expect the company they work at to have an office.
What have we learned? Millennials see their job as an extension of their everyday life, and they would expect the company they work at to have an office, but they also insist on work-life balance and flexibility. Exhausted yet?
At Lumico, we started transitioning back to the office in November 2020. In May 2021, we moved into our new premises in Techno Park. Now it is up to us, Millennials, to figure out what a work-life balance looks like – is it a Friday braai? A beer at 4pm? Puzzles and games in the lounge? The autonomy to decorate your team’s office? Preparing lunch together at the office? Our famous Dota 2 leagues and leisure games? Or just from a management side realise that sometimes more freedom translates into commitment.
Probably, all of the above.
You know Covid is still around, right?
Yes, of course we do. Therein lies a big responsibility, because as we opened the new office we also had to make peace with the fact that sometimes we’ll have to close due to exposures, or send teams home to isolate, or for a while adapt a 50% model to make sure everyone gets a turn at the office.