Young People Are Going to Save Us All From Office Life

www.nytimes.com

Gen Z-ers and millennials have been called lazy and entitled. Could they, instead, be among the first to understand the proper role of work in life? The nature of work is changing. The idea of life revolving around work, as has been the norm for the last century. The norms of what ‘work’ means were defined in an era pre-internet, pre-cell phone world with clear distinctions between work time and non-work time. Despite the increased connectivity and ability to get work done from anywhere, these norms have persisted. Now, a generation that has grown up perpetually connected, is asking why? Frankly, a question that should have been asked and addressed years ago. A change toward finding work-life harmony and its flexibility is coming, but is not without its challenges.

Some older employees may think new hires should suffer the way they did, and employers benefit from having always-on workers. Even those that are offering more flexibility might be doing it because unemployment is so low and they’re competing for workers, which could change if there is an economic downturn. 
Also, it’s a luxury to be able to demand flexibility in the first place. Those who can tend to have college degrees and white-collar careers, and can afford to take a pay cut in exchange, or be highly selective about their jobs. 
That’s a kind of freedom that people in vast sectors of the economy don’t have — and often, it’s given to highly regarded employees on a one-off basis, but not to everyone at a firm.

Flexibility and selectivity shouldn't be limited to those in white collar positions. The ability to care of life's tasks, whether child care, medical visits, miscellaneous errands and more, and the flexibility to find work that accommodates life should be possible for all. A number of companies are trying to address these needs. Lots more to come here, I'm sure.

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