Millennials in the Office: How to Adapt to Different Working Methods

Millennials are often said to work differently than the generations before them. If you need evidence of this, you don’t have to go too to find it. 

Consider the San Francisco 49ers. This football team consists almost exclusively of millennials—all talented athletes in their prime. According to an article published in The Wall Street Journal, the traditional ways of coaching were no longer working for the team. After consulting with Stanford University researchers, the 49ers coaching staff implemented a few changes to better suit these millennials' preferred working and learning habits. These changes are all aimed at helping millennials to train and perform better. 

Why is it important to note what this NFL team is doing? Soon, millennials will account for the majority of the workforce, and helping them to work at their best will be in the best interests of all employers. Here are a few strategies you can implement to help those with different preferred working and learning habits:

Make Meetings Shorter

One of the first changes the coaching staff made was to trim their standard 2-hour meetings into 4 30-minute meetings with breaks between each. Chances are, many workplaces could benefit from shorter meetings. In fact, too-long meetings are one of the most common grievances among employees, no matter what industry they work in. 

A good way to judge if meetings are too long or perhaps too frequent is to take stock of your meeting culture. Also, make sure your meetings end with each team member having targeted action items to complete. This ensures meetings will be productive and can also help keep team members on task and organized.

Give the Option for Breaks

Breaks have been proven to help with the productivity of all employees, not just millennials, so this change is bound to help everyone. Whether it’s having a coffee bar area set up for workers to take a break and refuel or encouraging employees to take a quick walk when they feel overwhelmed, having a space where taking a break is tolerated and not looked down on can really help employees feel more refreshed and be more productive. The 49ers saw better focus and performance by instituting more breaks—even if the athletes did not always take said breaks.

Allow Access to Information

The millennial generation has also been dubbed “the iPhone generation” for a reason—they like being connected and feel the need to access instant information. Allowing millennials to access cell phones and the internet can help them feel inspired and motivated. Constant access to information doesn’t have to be distracting when combined with the freedom to take a few short breaks here and there.



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