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Brett Caine Headshot

To the Class of 2011 -- Welcome to the Old World

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Congratulations, class of 2011! To quote the famous Dr. Seuss, "Oh, the places you'll go!" Whether it is backpacking in Europe for a few weeks or straight home to scan job boards, soon enough it will be time to find that place -- a workplace of course -- to start the next chapter in your journey. And we have been waiting for you. We've all heard a lot about how your generation -- aka the Millennials -- is changing the world of work: introducing flexibility, dynamism, collaboration and a healthy disregard for the status quo. We hear that you're not bound by our traditional conventions of the 9-5 workday and that you work when and where the mood suits you and inspiration strikes. Excellent. You're tech-savvy and know how to use mobile technologies to keep you productive whenever, wherever. We love it!

If only that were the reality!

Contrary to popular belief, a recent study just published by our company shows Millennials are not shaking things up as much as they'd hoped. In fact, they're being forced to work in the same rigid way their predecessors did: in the office, during standard business hours. What's the deal?

Well, according to the study this is what you should expect as you prepare for your first day at work:

  • You'll be commuting to work during rush hour, probably driving solo in your car. A whopping 78% of workers will be joining you too!
  • You'll dutifully be at your desk during standard business hours so that your manager can literally oversee your work.
  • Your boss totally understands that inspiration can strike at any time, not just between 9 and 5. That's why he'll let you take your laptop home so you can work in your own personal time too. Just be sure to turn up at 9 am the next day.
  • Don't expect to see senior management around the place too much. They are able to work from home a lot as it's a perk of the job.
  • There's also some wonderful new social enterprise technology that helps business people collaborate more effectively. You'll be allowed to use it too when you've got a few years under your belt.

Yes, that's right, only 2.3% of the population works away from the office on a regular basis. And the average workshifter is not a young Millennial changing the way we work, it's a 49-year-old in a management or professional position. It's all too obvious that the ability to work virtually is still regarded as a perk in most companies, and not one that's typically afforded to the newer members of the organization.

In my opinion, it is not just the employees who miss out but companies too! The real benefits of workshifting are to be had in improving motivation and productivity, hiring the best people regardless of location, diversifying the organization and even reducing overheads like facilities costs. None of that comes about if only a select few are allowed to work away from the office.

So, class of 2011, will you let them clip your wings and confine you to a 3x4 cubicle? Or will you fulfill your destiny and help us all discover a new enlightened way of working?