Loving Millennials in the workplace? Now get ready for the Centennials

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Workplaces around the world have spent a lot of effort in the last couple of years getting used to Millennials – digital-savvy workers born in the 1980s and after.

They love flexible working, they like to move on in their careers and they absolutely adore technology, so Millennials are a genuine force to be reckoned with in our offices.

We can cater for their demand for hot desking and collaborative workspace space by using meeting room booking software, providing access to it via mobile devices and Outlook integration.

They need as much help as they can get. Research shows that 40 percent of Australian millennials – like their cousins elsewhere in the world – say anxiety is their number one personal issue.

But now we’ve got things perfectly set up to make Millennials fully productive in their work, there’s an even younger generation coming along. And guess what?  They’re different again.

Centennials, born post-1996, will be 25% of the global workforce by 2025. Their entire lives have been supported by technology – they may even find it difficult to believe that the internet didn’t always exist. To Centennials, phones have never been anything but smart.

They’re not really aliens from Planet Weird, though.

Every workplace manager is going to have to prepare for dynamic group of young people, and it’s going to be crucial to understand what helps them to do their best work.

So here’s the 5 best ways to welcome Centennials to the workplace.

1) Support mobile working: 

Centennials are glued to their mobile phones, just like Millennials.

They are the generation most reliant on social media, but when your Centennial colleague is on their mobile all the time, they may actually be working – communicating with colleagues by text and taking notes in meetings.

This makes it even more crucial to give them access to important workspace technology such as meeting and desk booking software via a mobile device.

Good workspace scheduling tools are now available as cloud-based options, allowing workers access from wherever they have an internet connection.

2) Enable their agility:

Nearly everyone appreciates a sense of control over their own working day – a survey by FlexJobs in 2015 showed that 85% of Millennials actually want to telecommute 100% of the time.

So organizations who don’t provide the opportunity for flexible working will probably not be able to attract or retain the newest talent.

But putting flexible working into operation in an efficient manner doesn’t just mean creating hot desks. It’s important that workers have access to desk and resource booking software so they can identify available workspace online easily and book it.

Modern workspace scheduling systems make use of occupancy sensors that can show when desks and meeting space are free, displaying it in real-time so staff can book an appropriate place to get down to work.

3) Appreciate multi-tasking skills: 

This youngest generation finds it second nature to shuttle between devices and locations. Make the most of their multi-tasking abilities by providing them with easy access to all the resources they require.

Don’t resent what seems to be a short attention span – these young workers are actually keeping track of many things at once. The fully connected workspace is their natural element.

4) Encourage their collaberative tendencies:

Centennials, even more than the slightly older Millennials, have been weaned on social media. When you add this to the always-on culture that has been engendered by smartphones, it has given them a genuinely collaborative nature that is hugely productive at work.

Many offices provide collaboration tools including video and audio conferencing but sometimes their staff don’t use them because they feel they are difficult to use and organize.

Technology can overcome the obstacles. For instance, scheduling software makes it easy to book everything for a video conference in a range of locations or even countries.

If any of the arrangements change, the software automatically informs the invitees – and if no-one shows up, it releases the space for booking, meaning fewer rooms or desks stand empty.

5) Hang onto their unique talents:

Centennials (like Millennials) are renowned for moving from brand to brand – and they extend that free-ranging attitude to where they work.

So creating a workspace that’s fulfills their sense of independence is well worthwhile, promoting wellbeing and satisfaction in their job. It’s an impressive way to encourage recruitment and helps to retain the services of talented staff.

And don’t forget – not everyone is this young:

Everyone is working for more years now, and Centennials could be working alongside many older generations.

Happily, what benefits them will also benefit their co-workers, because a properly connected workplace is an enjoyable, collaborative and productive place to spend time.

In 2017, analyst Deloitte examined global human capital trends. “The successful organizations of the future will likely be those that can move faster, adapt more quickly, learn more rapidly, and embrace dynamic career demands,” they found.

It looks like everyone needs to be a little more Centennials when it comes to our workspace ambitions…

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