Experts & Insiders 11/28/2011

E&I: The New Workday – To Office or Not to Office

Dana Swanson's Story

E&I: The New Workday – To Office or Not to Office

By:
Dana Swanson

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A recent survey found that more than 60% of college students and young professionals believe they should have the right to work from home on a flexible schedule. Cisco conducted the study of 2,800 young adults worldwide, and it’s worth noting that those 60% believed a flexible working schedule was not just a hope, or a perk, it was a RIGHT. Even more interesting, about 70% of those surveyed thought that coming into the office regularly was unnecessary, but only a quarter said that working from home was more productive.

So, what does this say about the upcoming workforce? Is this the lazy house cat generation who believes they’re owed everything? Or is this signs of a shifting work force?

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At first glance of the statistics above, my first thought it to turn into the kids-get-off-my-lawn old lady, darn lazy telecommuting kids! But, I run the intern program for our company and in getting to know a handful of college students semester after semester, a lot these kids aren’t lazy, they’re scared and worse yet, jaded. Many new college graduates are leaving school with thousands of dollars in debt, facing an unstable job market, where if you’re lucky enough to land a position, it likely won’t come with yearly “cost of living raises”, holiday bonuses or a pension plan. Many forecasts predict that these kids will most likely earn less than their parents, work well past 65 years old, never collect a social security check and change career paths multiple times. When you’re 20 years old, that future looks pretty bleak.

Coming from that perspective, working from home can be seen as the integration of work and home life. If you’re going to be working until you die, it might as well be convenient and enjoyable. If you’re no longer selecting a job primarily because of the size of the paycheck and the quantity of monetary benefits, that places more importance on skills, what you contribute and what you get back from the job you do.

What at first glance seems like a trend towards laziness is maybe more of a trend towards substance and away from greed. What do you think? What does that mean for the quality of products and services generated by future workforces? Will the office of the future be more likely to be your kitchen table?