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How Remote Work is Impacting Gen Z Employees

A young woman is tired from remote work with laptop

Generation Z (Gen Z) is the name for the generation of people born between 1997 and 2012. This generation is making its way into the workforce and by 2030, they will surpass millennials as the majority of employees in the U.S. workforce. This means employers need to start looking at this generation and determining what they’re looking for from their employers and how the latest trends are affecting them.

Who is Gen Z?

Gen Z is a highly social generation. They thrive on face-to-face interactions with colleagues and prefer open floor plans that allow them to move about freely and socialize more than closed-off, cubicle-style offices would offer. Gen Z are also observational learners—they learn best through watching the behaviors of others. So how is the latest trend in the workforce—remote work—affecting this generation of employees that craves in-person interactions? As it turns out, Gen Z feels stifled from remote working.

How is Remote Work Holding Gen Z Back?

38% of employees—including Gen Z—reported that ongoing remote work has a negative impact on their ability to collaborate and work in teams. However, 71% of business leaders and 59% of employees say returning to a traditional 9-5 in-office setting is not realistic for them. This is not exactly good news for Gen Z employees, who thrive on interpersonal interactions. Many Gen Z employees started their careers working remotely and are craving a traditional office experience because they feel they are missing this important aspect of work. 61% of Gen Z employees found it challenging to make friends at work when they were fully remote, and 39% said it was difficult to find mentors and network with other professionals in their field. These same employees are struggling with acquiring new skills and many of them feel disconnected from their company. They’re struggling to understand their company’s culture and what greater role they play in the organization. The bottom line? 58% of Gen Z employees are planning to leave their fully remote positions in the next year and are looking for hybrid options or in-person positions.

What Can Employers Do?

With a portion of the workforce saying they want to leave their remote jobs, this can be challenging for companies that are already struggling with retention after the Great Resignation. So how can employers help their Gen Z employees to avoid losing quality talent in waves? Here are some strategies remote employers can consider implementing that will help bridge the gap between remote work and in-person office culture.

  1. Hyrbid Option: Employers that are remote can offer a hybrid option, if they’re able, for those employees that want to return to the office a few times each week. This will allow employees to be in-person with each other when collaborating and can help decrease the feelings of isolation and increase team bonding.
  2. Review and Revise Remote Policies: Establishing new policies and procedures around remote work and remote onboarding can also help fill in the gaps for employees that aren’t able to have the same in-person experience as their colleagues before them did. Even though their onboarding may be virtual, employees should go through as much of the same steps in the onboarding process as they would if they were physically present.
  3. Virtual Meetings: Just because employees aren’t in the office, doesn’t mean they don’t need any face-to-face time. For example, companies can try to create in-person interactions, virtually. You can establish “good morning” calls with teams over video conference platforms to mimic the daily chats that would normally take place over a cup of coffee. This will help the team feel more engaged. You can use these meetings to go over the day’s priorities or do a quick pulse check on your employees before beginning the day.
  4. Save Time for Fun: Another option is to have meetings that are dedicated to non-work discussions. Most commonly known as “water cooler” talks, these are quick meetings you can have with your employees to just check-in. Additionally, you can set up team channels through your messaging platform that are dedicated to non-work topics. The company Peerfit has Slack channels for posting pet pictures and what shows everyone is binge-watching. Whether it’s a through chat or virtual meeting, these virtual interactions help your employees get to know each other on a personal level and break down the silos that can exist in remote work settings.

Whether you’re looking to increase retention or establish new policies and procedures for remote work, Human Capital can help. Human Capital’s full-service human resource solutions will give you the tools you need to help your employees adapt to a remote or hybrid work environment. Contact us to learn more about our HR services.


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