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Embracing The Change: Challenging The Norms of The Workplace & Workforce

Change can be scary.

We’ve all been there…things are about to change and we know that change is, on the whole, difficult for people. Sometimes this can be down to laziness, whilst other times it can be due to the lack of control or uncertainty.

The workplace is going through one of those changes at the moment.The introduction of co-working spaces, gig economy workers and digital disruption is changing the workplace at a dramatic speed. This is both in terms of the physical workplace as well as the make up of the workforce.

A lot of the change is being blamed on Millenials, but that is not entirely fair. The younger generations have made the rest of the world sit up and take note that the world is changing whether you like it or not.

Yes, their attitudes are different and they tend to favour a positive work/life balance over a ‘job for life’, but why is that perceived as a bad thing? Is this vocalisation of ‘wanting more’ not just what everyone would like, but is afraid to say?

I believe the real reason for the resistance by some, is that it challenges the norm. Questions the status quo. The traditional methods which have been adopted and in place for years, are no longer as attractive or necessary.

The opportunity to determine your work schedule (agile / remote working) along with placing greater emphasis on contentment and ‘having time’ shuns the typical eomployment structure. Therefore, is it not the responsibility for companies to provide an opportunity for these individuals to flourish rather than quash it.

Let’s take the taxi industry for example:

Technology is evolving and digital disruption is coming whether you like it or not. Had the London Black Cabs embraced technology in the beginning, Uber would have had less of an impact. But as it stands, they are fighting technology, and I believe, they won’t win. Fine, ban Uber; but Lyft will arrive. Ban Lyft, and another company will take their place.

The point is, why not embrace change and see which parts you can adopt or include, and be aware of the rest.​

By shunning change, you are destined for a seat alongside Blockbuster, HMV or Toys R Us in the scrape heap of history.

So coming back to the Millenials…

I believe they have positively challenged the norm and here’s why:

  • They want more of a work/life balance
  • They want more inviting working environments (think WeWork / The Office Group etc)
  • They want flexibility for both location and work
  • They will move if they are not being satisfied

And the impact of the above is:

  1. Throwing money at the problem i.e. people will not fix it
  2. Many businesses do not know how to manage remote and flexible workers
  3. It conflicts with traditional management expectations such as Presenteeism (which is ONLY a good thing)
  4. Business models are being seriously challenged.

As someone who could be classified as a “Zillenial”, I grew up without the internet or a mobile phone (Generation Z), but am comfortable with being constantly connected [Ref: LinkedIn] (Millenial), so have a foot in both camps.

By embracing this change means I have been exposed to this ‘new world’. Having time, flexibility and contentment has been a revelation, but lead to enormous contentment.

So why should everyone not have this?

It may not be possible for this change to be adopted wholeheartedly, as there will be resistance and situations where it does not work. And that’s fine. The issue, for me, is that minds should be open to it. From there, an objective and constructive dialogue can be maintained which (hopefully) benefits everyone.

In the current age of ‘instant gratification’, we need to get better at dealing with change because it’s coming whether you like it or not. The question is will you fight it, or embrace it?

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