Work patterns are going through some serious changes in the twenty-first century. While traditionally employees of any age or level would be contracted a fixed nine to five working day, a new generation in the workforce has been demanding something different.
Millennials are most often recognised to be those who were born between the mid 1980s to the late 1990s. Research has found that millennials are a driving force in the implementation of flexible working, as traditional fixed contract hours are perceived to be outdated.
Being a millennial myself, I relate to this demand for flexible working in an effort to sustain a good work-life balance. And this is not isolated opinion: research has shown 92% of millennials place flexibility as a top priority while selecting employers. In my personal experience I have continuously witnessed the demand for flexible working from a student’s perspective.
Recently in one of my Human Resource Management lecture the teacher, while discussing the topic of flexible working, asked students to raise their hands if flexible working was a priority to them when looking for employment in the future. Twenty-seven out of thirty raised their hand, all of whom millennials.
Interestingly, the three students who didn’t were mature students. When questioned about their reasons for not prioritising flexible working, one of the three essentially responded saying that she’d always coped with the 9-5 day; ‘don’t fix what isn’t broken’.
However, this is the problem; it is broken! Research has proven flexible working makes business sense, as it increases productivity and improves output. Despite the business benefits of flexible working, one still may be swayed to ignore them and stick to tradition. However, this stagnant attitude may have damaging consequences for businesses; soon enough millennials will be the largest proportion of the UK workforce – therefore employers must listen in order to maintain their competitive position.
It is clear that millennials are driving the agenda of flexible working. This leaves the choice to businesses to either join them in their journey to create the new normal or be left behind in an age of innovation.
by Kimberly Curley