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Millennials and Gen Z favour flexible work


12 Jan, 2022

Conversations about flexible work didn't begin (and certainly won't end) with the pandemic. For the past decade, new research has pointed to flexibility being the new currency in the modern working world. And unsurprisingly, it tends to be younger voices leading the call for change. 

In fact, a whopping 92% of young workers were already appealing for more flexible working solutions as far back as 2017, according to Timewise. But while young people are the ones demanding more flexibility in terms of where they work, their means to work outside of the office are often lower than more senior staff.

A 2020 report by Savills Office FiT, an organisation set up in response to the pandemic to examine the role of the office, showed that only 7.5% of workers aged 18-24 had access to a suitable work space at home. This meant an overwhelming majority were working at dining room tables, in lounge spaces, or even in their own bedrooms. This news is especially concerning as experts have warned of the problems that come from not separating work from leisure. “Working from your bedroom can be disruptive to your sleep because your bedroom becomes associated with being alert and awake, especially if you already find it difficult to switch off from work at home,” says clinical psychologist, Dr Brian Wind.

Over half of NearU users are Millennials or Gen Z

Plagued by sleep troubles, bad wifi, and noisy housemates, it's no wonder that younger workers are flocking to coworking and on-demand spaces. We know that for many of our younger users, NearU is a lifeline. 

“I share a house with two other people and working from home during the pandemic was challenging at times due to space and lack of privacy for confidential meetings," says Lola Randles, Brand Partnerships Manager for Influencer Marketing agency, Fanbytes. "At times I felt isolated and really missed the culture of office life and socialising. So Fanbytes told me about NearU, and I used it to find workspaces where I could meet up with my new workmates... Now once a week or once a fortnight, a few of us catch up and work [at The Worker's League] in Shoreditch. The commute is easy and I'm finding the experience very pleasant, especially on a Thursday when the drinks trolley arrives.”

The stats don't lie either. New data from NearU shows that over half (54%) of users on our platform were born after 1980, making them either Millenials or part of Gen Z. This news confirms what we've already been hearing colloquially - young people crave job flexibility. And this extends beyond where they work too.

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67% want a better work-life balance

Despite graduate jobs being famously hard to find, it's clear that younger generations are still prepared to play hard ball when it comes to negotiating contracts. According to a 2019 study by Workforce Institute, a third wouldn't tolerate being forced to work when they don't want to, not being able to use vacation days when they want to or an employer who gave them no choice in their work schedule.

The pandemic has only bolstered these beliefs. Deloitte's Global Millenial survey of 2021 revealed that 67% of millennials felt flexible and/or remote working would provide a better work-life balance.

But why do young workers seem to favour flexibility over any other job perk? It's clear many have been inspired by the rising popularity of the 'gig economy'. For those not in the know, a gig economy is "a labour market characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work, as opposed to permanent jobs"

Most under-30s will be familiar with (or might have have their own) side hustles or 'gig work'. But while taking the plunge as a full-time freelancer is too daunting a prospect for most, younger generations are instead adopting gig practices in their permanent jobs (and thus forcing employers to change too).

Ultimately they want a better work-life balance. When asked how employers could achieve this as part of that same Workforce Institute study, participants said flexible working hours (37%), paid vacation (34%), paid sick leave (32%), and paid mental health days (31%) were all key priorities.

To attract young talent, flexibility is an absolute must

Flexibility should be more than just a perk afforded to senior workers as a reward for loyalty. If you're hoping to attract top young talent, it should be a flat-out essential for any employee. Millenials and Gen Z are prepared to vote with their feet when it comes to finding a job that suits their needs, a trend we've never seen before on such a large-scale. And businesses better catch up fast, or risk falling short.

Looking to offer your employees the flexibility to choose where they work? NearU list hundreds of workspaces around the world to suit every need. Whether it's a quiet environment that helps you thrive at work, or a bustling community of creatives to inspire innovation, we've got you covered. And the best part is, our platform is completely pay-as-you-go. No contracts or sneaky overheads. Just download the app from the App Store or Google Play and simply search, book, and work. Or alternatively, book a demo with one of our Sales team to help you find a tailored solution.