Recent research shows that Generation Z is starting to show some sway in how workplaces operate. The insurance group Zurich found that by 2025, Gen Z (those born roughly between the mid-90s and early 2010s) will account for 27 percent of the global workforce, and Edelman found that 93 percent of employees are influenced by their coworkers in their 20s.
But what sort of things are they influencing, exactly? Much of it has to do with technology: 62 percent of Gen Z and millennials think that AI will have a positive influence on their work and want to see it integrated more often, compared to just 38 percent of Boomers who feel that way. But much of what Gen Zers focus on involves work-life balance—more than half of Gen Zers in a recent Microsoft survey said they prioritize "health and well-being over work," which means a lot of conversations around hybrid offices, flexible schedules, and other meaningful wellness benefits.
It’s no surprise that there’s pushback against familiar workplace standards—and that Zers get some eyerolls for it. Every rising generation gets accused of selfishness and refusal to get with the program. Boomers were "hippies" for resisting the rigidity of the Organization Man; Gen Xers were "slackers" for distrusting corporate buzzwords and uniformity; Millennials were "narcissists" for privileging fluid social connections over rigid team structures. So, the fact that Gen Zers get dismissed as lazy isn’t surprising.
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