Millennial Memo: I AM Working

Blogger: Jonathan Nadeau

Recently I’ve noticed that I work differently than my other non-millennial colleagues. Similar to my office, my colleagues in the same Millennial age bracket appear to keep very little on their desks.

I work in an office and I am a part of the 22% of Canadian Millennials who work with some people my age, but where most coworkers are older than I am. I’ve grown accustomed to the occasional stare to see if I’m actually doing work.

Let’s face the facts, Millennials work differently than other generations.

On any given day I have my computer, my smart phone, my iPad, a sticky note or two and the office phone (which would have a thick layer of dust if it wasn’t cleaned every night). I utilize my computer for most of my work, and I have at least two other different devices feeding me with information.

Let’s say I get an email asking me to do some background research on a subject, which is what I do most days. I typically would start taking notes in a document on my computer. I would then do a search on my iPad (Internet and books) and type up notes, adding links and highlighting important stuff as I go. This would get shared in our common folders, the research would be done and everyone who needed it and wanted to add to it would have it. All done while simultaneously answering emails about other projects, and reading tweets and so on, on my Smartphone. Not once do I need to place a single paper or book on my desk, thus leaving it empty.

This work style stems from a few generally accepted Millennial traits:

One This is considerably more Eco-friendly than printing hundreds of pages of research, highlighting and annotating them, just to amalgamate everything into one word document.
Two It allows us to stay constantly connected, we do not have to bury ourselves in a book and miss a tweet or message that now pops up as needed.
Three We multitask, everything we need is in one place and we don’t have to spend much time looking for the information we need.

The thing is Millennials don’t really need desks, or offices for that matter. I recently read an article in USA Today, it talks about online retailer Zappos. They have 1,300 employees and only two in-house lawyers have permanent desks in an office. The rest of the employees work from where ever they choose, they let ear buds act as separators when they need to focus.

I like this idea of working without a desk, I think it fosters better productivity, and more collaboration. It doesn’t take a millennial to see that it’s hard to work with someone through a wall. We are a generation of hyperconnected people, who are used to a nonstop flow of information. We don’t want to take the time to search through a stack of papers on our desks to find an answer that we can look up in less than half the time.

Keep in mind, when you’re looking at a Millennial’s empty desk, that stack of papers you’re looking for has most likely gone virtual. This helps us get our work done, stay in touch and maximize our time.

Jonathan Nadeau is an Analyst at Abacus Data, a Telfer entrepreneurship student, and a self proclaimed Cork Dork working on his Sommelier certification.

Contact Jonathan Nadeau:

T: 613-232-2806



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