Gen X workers introduced the mantra of work-life balance. They wanted their employers to give them flexibility in their job so they could still devote time to their families and personal wellbeing. Millennials have morphed that idea into work-life blending. Instead of switching between professional mode to personal mode like Gen Xers, Millennials are always in both.
At work, Millennials want to have the freedom to access social networks, take personal calls, chat with friends via IM, use their own tech devices, etc. Outside the office, they’ll take work calls at home, check their work email as often as their personal email (even during off hours), and view coworkers as friends.
This new view of the workplace is reflected in the findings of a new study from Millennial Branding and Identified.com. The survey, which examined the profiles of 4 million (90% American) Millennials’ Facebook pages, found that, on average, Millennials are connected to 16 coworkers on Facebook. “The day is over and they’re still connected to work,” says Dan Schawbel, Founder of Millennial Branding. “They’re negotiating a new employee contract” to incorporate work-life blending.
It could be this demanding attitude that has other generations labeling Millennials as entitled, but they have some leverage to get what they want. They’ll represent three-quarters of the workforce by 2025.
Another interesting finding from the study is that “Owner” is the fifth-most common job title they list, following Server, Intern, Manager, and Sales Associate. It’s not clear whether the company they own grants them a full-time gig or if it’s just a side project, but either way, Millennials’ entrepreneurial spirit is strong. They are entering the workforce at a time when small businesses are thriving and anti-corporation sentiment is high. Only 7% of Millennials list a Fortune 500 employer on their Facebook page. “Fortune 500 companies have not yet adapted to Millennials style of working,” says Schawbel. To find the sort of work environment they want, they’re turning to small businesses or starting their own.
Many Millennials are just entering the workforce and learning the hard way that blending their work and personal lives can sometimes lead to trouble. For example, says Schwabel, “Don’t announce that you’re looking for a new job on Facebook because of that coworker connection.” Similarly, posting about after-hours action can become the subject of office gossip because coworkers can see it. But as Millennials mature professionally and learn from these mistakes, they’re becoming savvier about how to mesh their professional lives with their personal lives.