This post is from guest author Daphne Stanford. Daphne is a DJ for Radio Boise. She writes poetry, nonfiction, and lyric essays. Other ways she enjoys spending her time include hiking, piano, singing at inappropriate times, and good conversation with friends & family. Follow her on Twitter.
Millennials are transforming communication in the workplace by altering the nature of what is considered typical—typical office environment or remote working location—as well as altering the extent to which technology is becoming an integral part of a typical company’s workday. The flow of meetings, instant messaging, editing, and collaboration are becoming faster and more digitally connected in nature.
Read on to learn about a few ways you can utilize your experience with technology to advance your career—whether it be in the for-profit business world, government, or the nonprofit sector.
Technology Equals Opportunity
Due to the necessity that practically every industry these days—from manufacturing and retail to finance to nonprofit and government sectors—has an online presence, the ability to be well-versed with platforms such as WordPress, Slack, Skype, and Google Docs is essential. Moreover, the typical workplace is rapidly changing, and it’s due, in part, to millennials.
This oft-maligned generation’s fondness for technology and collaboration are fundamentally changing the way we communicate, in the workplace. Whether it be through team communication platforms like Slack or via video conferencing, the increasing speed and preference for convenience is spurring greater levels of motivation—as well as innovation. Tools like video conferencing are critical, allowing participants to feel more prepared and engaged than traditional phone conferencing.
Moreover, according to Elizabeth Dukes, millennials value technology over flexibility—often since smart offices naturally foster more flexible work environments. In fact, Dukes cites a study finding that 60 percent of millennials would feel more productive at home than in a traditional office setting. This enthusiasm for flexibility comes with a caveat, however: personal connections are also placed at a high premium by many younger employees.
A new study by business communications provider Fuze found that 69 percent of 15-18 year olds believe it’s important to meet people face to face if you work with them, suggesting that a sense of community and well-structured goals and guidelines are also crucial to motivating employees to work together as part of a successful team. Perhaps the influence of the instant communication, social media, and news-driven culture is part of the reason why it’s so crucial that employers provide consistency in communication and fairly regular check-ins via chats, conference calls, or meetings.
A recent Gallup study seems to back up this theory, finding that 44 percent of millennials who have regular meetings with supervisors feel engaged, and thus happier in the workplace, allowing them to concentrate on developing their roles at their current place of work, rather than looking for new positions with companies offering more advanced technology, in the workplace. This finding also finds, again, that millennials value a structured work environment with key objectives and goals explained clearly and directly—rather than the loose, unstructured environment perhaps more valued by Gen Xers and baby boomers.
If you’re eventually interested in an entrepreneurial or management position, practice your remote communication skills on a regular basis and implement them into your life philosophy, as well. Janet Friday, Director of Environmental Sustainability at Merck and Marylhurst University MBA graduate, argues for the benefit of remote work for both business and the environment: “Remote work offers several benefits—for both the business and for the environment… Because I am not commuting to an office on those days, I avoid having to drive my car (lower emissions) and I have more time to devote to my work activities.”
Continuing Education & Business Sectors
If you’re interested in management but also interested in a career in nonprofit administration, public policy, or government, you may want to look into Master’s level public administration or public policy programs. Increasingly, graduate level MPA programs are beginning to offer different attendance options ranging from part-time to full-time. For working professionals who don’t happen to live in the same area of the country, some have fully online options as well.
This kind of convenience is also highly appreciated by students living outside the college’s metro area who would prefer not to have to make the long commute to the city. By taking classes online, students are able to save both time and money. In addition, numerous programs—Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, for example—now offer dual-degree programs like MPA/MBA or JD/MPA programs that take three years, instead of four.
Furthermore, experience with private sector business can lead to roles in government, public policy administration, or nonprofit management. The possibilities are endless and many overlap in fields like healthcare, public communication, and public policy. You might specialize in environmental law and work as an administrator or grant writer for a nonprofit sustainability group, for example; or you might want to become an entrepreneur and focus on developing an app to address a gap in the healthcare app market.
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The future of work is connected, flexible, and operates at hyper-speed. How do you plan to take advantage of this brave new world? Share your thoughts about how you plan to contribute or utilize your knowledge to change the next generation in the comments section, below.