Generation Y Will Change Office Life in 10 Years

September 22, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. workforce (n.) 
[work fawrs, fohrs] –  total number of working people in a population or in  a country
Example: A survey said the company’s workforce is satisfied with the benefits they receive.

2. baby boomer (n.) [bey-bee boo-mer] – a person born between 1946 and 1965
Example: According to a study, baby boomers are strict and disciplined employees.

3. engaging (adj.) [en-gey-jing] – easy to get one’s attention, liking or interest
Example: Young people hope to find an engaging workplace with many social activities.

4. setting (n.) [set-ing] – the environment, place or time where something happens
Example: The business partners looked for a more casual setting for their meeting.

5. distinctive (adj.) [dih-stingk-tiv] – having a unique quality that helps identify something or someone
Example: The company president has a distinctive style of delivering speeches.

Read the text below.

In less than 10 years, the workforce will consist mostly of people from Generation Y. Senior Director Michael O’Neill of Knoll Inc., an office design company, predicts that the new generation will be making big changes in office life.

Generation Y, or those born from 1979 to 1997, will comprise a big percentage of the workforce as baby boomers retire.

A report published by Knoll says that by 2020, the workforce will change, from being composed of 50% baby boomers and 25% Generation Y workers, to 25% baby boomers and 50% Generation Y workers.

O’Neill studied 15,000 employees of different generations across 40 countries to see how the generation shift could affect the workplace.

He discovered that Generation Y puts the highest importance on an engaging workplace that combines personal life with business. Work areas should remind employees of home. Furthermore, this generation has a distinctive habit of using technology for communicating in the office.

In contrast, baby boomers do not like workplaces that feel like home, and prefer organized and formal settings. They tend to separate personal lives from work and would like their offices to be functional.

Author Alison Maitland said that Generation Y’s idea of work is not just a place but an activity. A Generation Y employee likes having some freedom to move around and work wherever he or she feels suitable.

Maitland stresses, however, that the generation shift is only one factor that will change future office life. She says developments in technology, economy and businesses should also be considered. 

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Should office life be casual and comfortable instead of strict and formal? Please explain.
·         What kind of working environment do you prefer? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         Is the way you think or feel very different from people in the older or younger generation? What makes you say so?
·         How can good working relationships be developed among different generations?

September 22, 2012