Stereotypes say that all millennials sleep with their smartphone within arm’s reach — and while that’s a generalization, studies are finding that the image of an ever-connected millennial isn’t that far off. However, it’s not just for personal interactions; millennials are reporting that they are constantly connected to their jobs.
60% of millennials say their managers expect them to be accessible during off hours
70% of millennials work up to 20 hours a week outside of the office
This demand can affect work-life balance and employee retention — though not always in the negative way you might imagine.
Work-Life Balance for Millennials
By now, most managers already know that millennials in the workplace are looking for hour flexibility — far gone is the standard, expected nine-to-five job of their parents and grandparents. In the RingCentral study, 50% of millennials said flexible work hours and freedom to work from any location improve work-life balance. So they’re keen on working from the subway or their home, and they don’t mind logging on after dinner or first thing in the morning.
The problem comes when managers see this as a one-way street.
Flexible hours doesn’t mean every hour is a work hour. Don’t take advantage of employees under the disguise of flexibility and freedom. For example, if a worker is up late solving an issue the night before, ensure they know they’re free to sign on later in the morning or log off early the next day. Just because they’re accessible at every hour doesn’t mean they are required to work at every hour. And it’s crucial that managers clarify that difference.
Retaining Your Millennial Employees
As is probably clear, managers that don’t heed the above advice are more likely to lose millennial employees. According to RingCentral, 78% of millennials say work environment impacts their decision to stay at a job. And “work environment” doesn’t just mean the environment where they’re literally doing the work. For example, yes, a millennial would probably appreciate the freedom to work from their back porch on a warm spring day, but the work environment isn’t that back porch — it’s also the people and job duties that they face in their role.
According to a report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 90% of senior business leaders say employees using paid time off cuts down on burnout, reduces turnover, and improves morale. On the flip side, overworked employees are more likely to burn out, be unhappy, and leave your company. And even if your top employee isn’t overworked, no millennial wants a work environment filled with burnt-out, unhappy coworkers.
Millennial employees crave flexibility in freedom in their job roles, but that doesn’t mean they should be required to work at all hours, from everywhere. In fact, managers that take advantage of millennials in this way, are more likely to lose them.