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Gen Z workers see digital tools as a way to win in the office

New research showed that 40% of 16-24 year olds in London jobs find it easier to volunteer for important tasks and ask questions when working remotely.

It has become one of the unwritten codes of the new hybrid office: that younger employees who work from home have fewer opportunities to network and learn at work. The problem with that analysis? Younger employees don’t believe it.

New research from King’s College London found that 40% of 16-24 year olds with a workplace in the British capital find it easier to volunteer for important tasks and ask questions when working remotely. Conversely, their older peers are more likely to view working from home as a barrier to learning and networking.

“Younger workers are more likely to see the positive potential in how using technology can flatten hierarchies so they can ask questions, put themselves forward, and make connections,” said Bobby Duffy, director of the university’s Policy Institute.

“This could be because younger workers don’t realize what they’re missing — but it could also be because older workers are stuck with an outdated view of how development can happen.”

The survey found that opinions differ with those who are just slightly older. Workers between the ages of 25 and 49 are less likely to take on key tasks or ask questions than their younger peers, the data shows.

The research points to a generation gap at the heart of the hybrid work debate in the UK. Calling back to the office, managers regularly argued that personal work is the key to learning on the job, making casual connections, and getting up in the office. But younger workers — who should be most concerned about taking advantage of those benefits — see things more nuanced.

About 20% of young workers say remote working actually helps build connections with colleagues, the survey found. That sentiment was mirrored by just a fraction of those 50 and above.

Hybrid working can also be a money-saving strategy. Those who work from home can live in cheaper places and cannot afford travel expenses for at least a few days a week.

The findings could also point to problems ahead for employers looking to force everyone back into the office. A majority of London workers would rather quit than go on a work schedule they don’t like, the survey found.

Other studies of the changing nature of work have also revealed tensions within office hierarchies. The latest Future Forum Pulse survey of employees in the US, UK, Australia, France, Germany and Japan shows that nearly 40% of executives want to work in the office three to four days a week, compared to a quarter of executives. non-executives.

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