How will Gen Z fare in 2023? Focus on providing an office

  The status of Generation Z as ‘digital natives’ aligns them most closely with flexible working. But they are also pro-office and want a safe work environment that supports their mental health

This year has seen unprecedented focus on Gen Z (born 1995-2015), the newest entrants to the job market and the first generation of workers to have never known the world without the internet. Their entry to the workplace has been like no other, with many hired, onboarded and inducted during lockdown without setting foot in their companies or meeting their colleagues.

So, what are their prospects for 2023, and what should employers be prioritising for them?

Although Gen Z are considered to be the most digitally engaged group in the workforce, impressions can be misleading. The Work lab podcast highlights that Gen Z are not just interested in tech and instead are prioritising human connection in the workplace alongside wanting the flexibility of working from home.

‘Gen Z may be digital but they also the most pro-office generation in the workforce…’

Research shows that 77 per cent of Gen Z want their company to still have an office, making them the most pro-office generation. But why is it that they want to be in the office so much? Put simply, offices connect people. Through interacting as a group, team spirit is boosted and workplaces can foster a positive environment that helps turn professional relationships into personal ones.

Enabling in-person collaboration also helps the mental health of workers because it eliminates the feeling of isolation that was experienced throughout the pandemic. Versha Sharma also points out that empathy and compassion costs nothing and that mental health should be prioritised in the workplace.

Mental health agenda

With the rise of social media, Gen Z are more aware of their mental health and through raising awareness, it is now just as important as looking after their physical health. 82 per cent of employed Gen-Z workers want mental health days, which are designed for employees to take a break from the stresses of their job. It is important that companies take this on board as this statistic highlights a demand from workers that they may be struggling to juggle their mental health with their work life.

‘82 per cent of employed Gen Z workers want mental health days…’

The global pandemic is responsible for amplifying the mental health issues of this generation, with one in four Gen Z respondents to surveys conducted by McKinsey reporting more emotionally distress. Implementing mental health days can bring about many positives for a company. Allowing workers to take a day to themselves benefits the company in the long run as workers return to the office refocused and energised, which can enable them to increase their productivity.

Although Gen Z desire flexibility in the workplace, they are a generation that is eager to have the full experience of working with their colleagues in an office. This can be achieved through supporting their wellbeing to ensure they feel safe in their work environment, which will also benefit employers as it will increase productivity and reduce anxiety in the long term.

Alice Edwards is a researcher and writer with WORKTECH Academy.
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