How to manage a multigenerational workforce in a hybrid working environment
Employee Experience

How to manage a multigenerational workforce in a hybrid working environment

People are able to work longer than before which is allowing for a number of generations to mix in at work. The understanding of technology, communication and management/leadership styles can sometimes create tension between generations.

March 22, 2022

How to manage a multigenerational workforce in a hybrid working environment 

What does it mean to have a multigenerational workforce?

A multigenerational workforce is a workforce made up of employees from different generations, providing a diverse range of perspectives and life experiences to the team dynamic and business operations.

Managing multiple generations in the workplace can be a challenge, with each generation bringing their own expectations, communication styles, and perspectives to the table. Providing your employees with the tools and strategies to understand each other and work together effectively will help navigate any issues that may arise, whilst helping harness their respective strengths. 

The 5 generations currently at work 

This is the first time in history that there are five generations currently active in the workplace, which presents a unique challenge for management teams. When the first Traditionalists first entered the workforce, it would still be a few years before the first computers were seen in offices, however, Gen Z, who are currently in the first steps of their career, have never known offices without them. Digital transformation has been so rapid that every generation has had to learn and adopt advancing technologies, from the introduction of computers, to the transition from fax to email, to a transition to digital led hybrid working, with the assistance of modern workplace management solutions like Nura Space.  

Traditionalists (born 1928-1945)

Most of the Traditionalists have now left the workforce, with their youngest being in their late 70’s. However, as people choose to retire later and later in life, it’s becoming more frequent to see Traditionalists still working, though there’s only 2% still active in the workforce. Traditionalists have seen the most amount of change of all generations when it comes to work, although they can still be unfairly perceived as old-fashioned, rigid and unwilling to change. When working with Traditionalists, it’s important to emphasise stability, and to acknowledge their long term contribution to the company. 

Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964)

Baby Boomers are competitive, focused, and goal oriented when it comes to the workplace. Many in this generation have started to retire, or are making serious plans to, with 25% still in the workforce. This generation began work during a time of significant technological and political change, and has been said to have slightly rebellious qualities towards authority. Baby Boomers thrive when placed in mentor-style roles, and when provided with specific goals and deadlines, without being over-managed themselves. There can be tension between Baby Boomers and the younger generations as Boomers view hard work and sacrifice as key to career success, and can sometimes see Millenial and Gen Z’s prioritisation of self-development and a work-life balance as selfish and lazy, and thus undeserving of career progression.

Generation X (born 1965-1980)

We have Generation X to thank for the push towards work-life balance. The first champions of diversity in the workplace, and of prioritising their personal-professional interests rather than the company’s interests, Gen X formed a new way of working where efficiency and balance were most highly valued. With 33% of Gen X still in the workforce, their influence is still being felt. Only 21.4% of Gen X workers wanted to continue working fully remotely as we emerge from the depths of the pandemic, but with many hearing the siren song of hybrid working and the work-life balance benefits it provides. Generation X workers value immediate feedback, flexible working arrangements, and opportunities for personal and professional development.  

Millennials (born 1981-1996)

Millennials are the largest segment of the current workforce, with 35% and growing rapidly, with 75% of the global workforce expected to be Millennials by 2025. Millennials are characterised at work by their willingness to change, which will potentially kill the concept of long service leave due to them staying at companies for shorter amounts of time, averaging just 2 years and 9 months before seeking new opportunities. Despite this, 82% of Millennials indicated that they felt a stronger sense of loyalty to companies that offered remote working options. Millennials are also motivated by the quality of their manager, the opportunity to do unique or creative work, and being trusted with responsibility. Millennials appreciate employers that get to know them personally, acknowledge the results of their work, and flexible work arrangements. Having grown up in the transition between technologies, such as from VCR to DVD to streaming services, and from landlines to mobile-first, and from dial up internet to NBN, Millennials take technological change in their stride, and can quickly learn and lead adoption of workplace technologies.        

Generation Z (born 1997-2015) 

With their youngest being just 7 years old, it’s no surprise Gen Z currently don’t make up a huge percentage of current workers, with just 5%. However, as they age into the workforce, that number is expected to skyrocket to 27% of the workforce by 2025, trailing only Millennials in terms of volume. Gen Z self-identify as digital natives, having grown up living and breathing technology. They value their independence and individuality in the workplace, and prefer to work under Millennial managers in innovating environments with new technologies. You won’t see a Gen Z requesting a document be printed for them to annotate or sign; this generation is digital first, always. 84% of Gen Z expect workplaces to provide ongoing training and opportunities to upskill, and they thrive when balancing multiple projects at a time, particularly when they can be independent and are being trusted to self-direct. Providing formal training, flexibility, and encouraging a healthy work-life balance are important factors for working Gen Z’s. 

Their attitudes towards technology

As the majority of the workforce becomes younger, with Traditionalist and Baby Boomers slowly stepping back from work, it’s key that companies embrace emerging technologies to help manage the hybrid working environment that is so in demand with younger generations. 

Technology such as desk booking, meeting room booking, wellness, and behavioural analytics will not only help manage a hybrid workforce, but are important to retaining and engaging younger staff. With Nura Space’s unified working platform, staff can stay connected and aware. With 40% of Gen Z wanting to interact with their boss several times a day, but still wanting to be independent and avoid being micromanaged, a desk hotelling system with a live map can support younger workers in having easy access to their boss, without having them over their shoulder.  

For older generations, a solid work management platform will help with the transition between home and office. With many Baby Boomer and Gen X workers not wanting to work remotely full time, but still enjoying the benefits of a flexible workplace model, providing easy to use technology that aids in a seamless transition to hybrid working and returning part-time to the office is key to maintaining employee engagement and positivity about the office. 

Approaching the challenges and benefits of a multigenerational workforce 

Look at any news cycle and you’ll see discussions about generations being pit against each other. From “OK Boomer” to “kids these days”, the world loves to talk about how every generation hates the others. Whilst there can definitely be some gaps in preferred communication and professional expectations, the challenges of a multigenerational workforce are far outweighed by the benefits of having such a wide scope of life experience and viewpoints.

Challenges of a multigenerational workforce:

  • Different communication styles: the epitome of the “this meeting could have been an email” argument, Baby Boomers and Gen X prefer efficient, instant communication, such as face-to-face discussions and phone calls. Comparatively, Millennials and Gen Z like communication that they can manage on their own time, such as Instant Messages, or emails, that don’t require immediate attention or response.
  • Tone etiquette: Exclamation points vs full stops, ‘regards’ vs ‘sent from my iPhone’, the nuances of how each generation speaks via technology can cause issues. For younger generations who grew up speaking through written technology, they go an extra mile to sound friendly and accomodating in emails and messages. They’ll liberally use emojis and gifs, even in a professional environment. This can lead to concern when their Baby Boomer and Gen X counterparts send short, sharp emails, thinking they’re angry, when really, they’re just getting to the point.

  • The ladder: How each generation views ‘success’ at work has changed. Where Baby Boomers and Gen X wanted to climb the ladder as quickly as possible, Millennials and Gen Z prioritise self-development, work-life balance, and flexible working environments. This can lead to a clash of values between team mates, as each generation will start to find other generations out of touch with what they consider front and center professional priorities. However, 77% of Baby Boomers, 78% of Gen X and Millennials, and 73% of Gen Z workers cited salary as their key source of motivation at work, no matter where they were on the ladder.   
  • Cliques: It’s natural for people of a similar age and life experience to gravitate towards each other in the workplace. However this means that teams can become divided if older generations and younger generations solely engage with the team members most similar to them. Conflict can arise by both groups potentially bonding in an echo chamber over the differences in skill set and perspective between team members of the other generation. Ensuring your team has opportunities to engage with the team as a whole and to collaborate with people outside their generation can help alleviate any cliquey mentality that may form. 

Benefits of a multigenerational workforce: 

  • Cross-generational mentoring: The more age diversity on a team, the more opportunities there are for your team to interact and learn from each other’s knowledge. Those with more years of experience can mentor younger employees on career development, and younger employees can help educate mature workers on current trends and technologies.


  • Unique relationships: A variety of age groups within a company can actually mirror a family structure, encouraging meaningful relationships that can help meet employees emotional needs. Building personal connections outside of one’s own generation is important to provide people with a variety of perspectives, along with helping provide a support structure in the workplace. 

  • A variety of perspectives: Multigenerational teams are better equipped to problem solve, by combining multiple perspectives and their diverse skills to drive creative problem solving. As each generation has been influenced by their experiences, this changes how they relate to and interact with others, helping provide varied insights and solutions, particularly around . Life experience influences how we relate to and interact with others to address challenges and conflict. As a result, teams with age diversity can offer a variety of ways to address problems. 

  • It strengthens your talent pipeline: Having a multigenerational team ensures you have a future-ready workforce. As the older generations begin to retire or semi-retire, having a strong, existing internal talent pipeline helps reduce hiring costs and enables you to focus resources on training and development of your current staff, creating even more opportunities for internal promotions and growth.

How the right technology can help multigenerational teams stay in sync 

Despite each generation's communication preferences and views on the ideal workplace, having the right technology available will help them work together effectively. Every generation currently in the workforce has faced rapid technological change, and can adapt quickly to new tech. This was proven by the uptake of video technology such as Zoom at the beginning of the pandemic, where everyone had to pivot and adjust to new technologies in order to continue their work. Now, as workforces return to the office in a hybrid working capacity, new technologies to help teams feel connected is crucially important.

Working platforms like Nura Space can help multigenerational teams work effectively and stay connected. By providing easy to use technology to help teams locate each other, collaborate effectively, and maintain an overview of activity and movement in the office will help hybrid teams feel connected. Smart analytics provided by Nura Space based on your individual workplace data can help managers ensure their workplace is working for their team, no matter what generation they’re from.  

Despite the differences between the generations, at the end of the day, every employee wants the same thing; to be engaged with their work, to feel valued as part of their team, and to feel appropriately equipped to do their job to the best of their ability. By remembering to treat every member of your team as an individual, rather than as a stereotype of their generation, and by providing technology to best support their working environment, your multigenerational team will thrive. 


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