Gen Xers “thrive” on digital work as millennials struggle

Adobe’s Workfront has released a report on the impact of COVID-19 on employees, the importance of technology in the workplace, generational differences among workers, and more.

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Due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizations around the world have adopted remote work policies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. On Thursday, Adobe Workfront released its annual state of work report for 2021, which states “how COVID-19 has changed digital work,” generational differences among employees, the importance of useful technology in everyday workflows, and more.

Overall, the report compares the results of two studies conducted by the Center for Generation Kinetics. The first survey was conducted in February and March last year, and the second was conducted eight months later in November and December. Each study involved 1,000 respondents who “worked on a computer and collaborated with other people” and were employed by a company with at least 500 employees, the report said.

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In the age of telecommunications, remote teams used a wide range of technologies to enable collaboration from afar. The number of respondents who said technology was “very important” for collaboration increased by 10 points, and the number of respondents who said technology was important for “doing the best job” increased by nine points, the report said.

The authors explain that “teleworking has exposed the boundaries of outdated technologies,” noting that the number of respondents who felt “old technology” made more work difficult increased by five points.

Prior to the start of the coronavirus pandemic, about a quarter of workers said they left the position “because technology in the workplace makes their job difficult,” the report said.

In the coming months, the report said the number of people who quit their jobs because of technology that inhibits their “ability to do well” jumped to 32%, and nearly half of respondents said they were likely to leave their current position “if dissatisfied or frustrated with the technology “used in their daily work.

Part of the report breaks down data sets by age group; focusing in particular on millennials and Generation X workers. Compared to “pre-COVID-19 measures,” the number of people who said they left the position due to “bad technology” jumped 13 points for Gen Xers and seven points for millennials.

“Mem would be that the millennial generation is technically smarter than the X generation [generation], so you wouldn’t expect the Gene X generation to have such a visceral response to bad technology. So I think it was the one that popped in as a meme for me, if you will, ”said Alex Shootman, vice president and CEO of Workfront, Adobe.

The number of respondents who said they turned down the position due to outdated technology increased by 12 points, and digital workers who said they applied for the position “because they heard the company’s employees use great technology” jumped by seven points, according to the report .

“I believe we will all go back to physical experiences. I don’t think we will all just be completely virtual, so I think those physical experiences will be important, but we have to spend as much time thinking about the technological experience as we spend thinking about the physical experience,” he said. Shootman.

Overall, all respondents felt as if their daily contributions at work were “an even bigger impact on the success of their companies than before the pandemic,” but Gen Xers believes “their contributions are much more valuable,” jumping eight points from millennials. three -increase), the report said.

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Digital workers are more comfortable with “various core work elements,” but Gen Xers “seems to be making progress,” the report said. For example, the number of millennials who said they were comfortable with communication ideas and expressions of opinion increased by one point, while Gen Xers reported an increase of eight points in both categories.

In terms of a person’s ability to “build and strengthen trust in the workplace,” the millennials ’comfort level dropped by three points, while Gen Xers reported a four-point increase

Overall, both millennials and General Xers have become more comfortable “dealing with job conflicts and difficult conversations,” but the comfort of older employees in these situations has increased by 10 points compared to three points for younger workers.

“We are inclined to assume that, since younger workers have grown up as‘ digital natives ’, they have a very comfortable workplace with technology and do not need additional support,” said Laura Butler of SVP and people from culture at Adobe’s Workfront in report. “But younger workers have not had the opportunity to build collective resilience to a national disaster, are still developing their professional networks and have not reported for so many years absorbing all the nuances of corporate culture,”

“Apart from all this, they are more likely to have small children at home that they try to take care of and go to school during the working day,” Butler said.

The report concludes with a series of “takeovers” for business leaders, which includes treating “technology as a critical workforce issue”.

“Technology cannot be separated from the people who use it. When making technological decisions, leaders must put at the center of their thinking how and whether technologies empower or belittle their workforce. Investing in new technologies is important, but investing in the right technology is even more critical “, the report states.

It also suggests that leaders should “personalize the employee experience,” which includes enabling employees to “work there and be the most creative and productive” and using investment in the technology ecosystem to offer “shared spaces for information and collaboration” while allowing workers to use their preferred “tools of choice”.

The latest removal focuses on leaders not taking “engagement for granted” when it comes to the workforce, and the report states that “employee engagement cannot just be a matter of human resources, but must become a strategic and multiple imperative”.

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