Generation Z, also known as Gen Z, which accounts for people born between 1997 and 2012, includes those who graduated from college in 2019, 2020, or 2021. Many of them have only known remote work. One in five or 20% of Gen Z employees have never worked in person.
The big question is what effect this will have on their ability to develop as employees? Is it putting them behind in finding mentors, learning new skills, or networking with other professionals? What does this mean for their careers and the future of work?
For Gen Z employees who are starting on the career ladders it’s important to be in a position to share and learn from those in their industry sectors who’ve been successful for a while. The first 3 months of a job can be crucial to setting yourself up for achievements down the line and for establishing an office social life. Networking is one of the most important aspects from a first job, and it’s something most successful people do in their first month on a new job. It’s proven to lead to more opportunities, increase knowledge, and spur faster advancement and authority. Data indicates that Gen Z workers could do with some additional training and have a mentor/mentee type relationship when starting out in the world of work.
The new study from Skynova is fascinating because it shows a young, tech-savvy generation eager to get back to traditional office work. As many have never had that experience and crave the benefits of in-person work. For new hires, interactions with co-workers might be vital for understanding the company’s culture, getting to know their team members, or integrating into a new position.
For instance, 61% of Gen Z workers said it was challenging to make friends when they worked fully remote. And 39% of the same respondents found it difficult to find a mentor and network with other professionals in their field. This is especially true for younger workers, who don’t yet have the solid circle of connections that many of their older colleagues do.
Being in an office is, in a sense, like having membership to a club. In a physical space, you have things like an ID badge and desk that demarcate your belonging in that culture and organisation. For those who work permanently from home may not have the same sense of belonging in an organisation. They may also lack the same sense of loyalty that is built through that sense of belonging, basing their commitment to that company solely on a pay check and not company ethics.
The pandemic has clearly shifted work habits for some companies and their employees and, in turn, has increased the need for hybrid working but it is also vital for the development of staff to have more time in the office than out. For new employees, who might lack a sense of teamwork and belonging in the company the best way to keep them in the loop and help with their continued professional development, face to face meetings and working onsite still has its place in the world of work.