The pandemic has forced many, if not all, employees to transition to working remotely and relying heavily on technology for their work and consequent paychecks. Sure, working from home has significant benefits and most have been largely satisfied with going remote. However, for the digital native generation Z that had barely just entered the workspace when Covid pretty much just crash-landed on us, how has working from home been like?
Interestingly, most Gen-Zers find WFH problematic and would much rather prefer working from office for most part of their week. They are having a hard time adjusting to this nature of work, and it is only affecting their work productivity negatively.
Communication, an ever-important issue at the workplace, has been among the biggest challenges for younger remote workers. Even with the explosion of video conferencing, most Gen-Zers feel communicating with coworkers has become difficult. From simple status updates to delayed delivery of work over technical issues, communication for all of this has been observed to be severely disrupted during remote work.
Further, in spite of their ease with technology, Gen-Zers show more enthusiasm for face-to-face meetings over digital alternatives. In fact, in their experience, video meetings and email updates are turning out to be poor substitutes for in-person interactions.
Truth is, despite being constantly surrounded by digital technology, Gen-Zers are facing digital burnout much more than the previous generations. Perhaps it is their inability to switch off their mobile phones because of its addictive functionality, but this generation is feeling even higher levels of stress, anxiety as well as loss of personal relationships and love-life balance. And the 24/7 nature of work leaves most of us with no time to de-stress.
Essentially, working from home is not simply a matter of digital fluency. If it were, Gen-Zers and millennials would be navigating this uncharted territory with greater ease. Instead, their struggles point towards a more fundamental reality: remote work is an all-new way that requires more than just a reliable internet connection and video meetings.
In fact, technology is merely a first step. It cannot solve all the problems that employees face in working from home. A happy and productive remote workforce comes from mastering communication and culture that would make working from home both satisfying and successful. And that will take time and commitment to embrace this learning curve and truly shine through.