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The Evolving Office Workspace - Managing the Baby Boomer Generation

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Baby Boomers are those born in the post World War II years, from 1946 through 1964. This group makes up 26.5 percent of the current workforce per the Age and Sex Composition from the 2010 Census Briefs compiled by the United States Census Bureau. These workers bring unique work styles into the work environment and require different management styles on the part of superiors. Currently they hold the majority of leadership positions in the workplace. 

Like the veterans born before 1946, this group did not group up with technology as part of their childhood. Even during most of their higher education, computers were huge things that read punched cards or difficult to program units that could do less than our phones do today. Baby Boomers are, however, excited by technology and find adapting easier than the older generation. Most Boomers reach out for training to incorporate the newest techniques into their skills. 

Baby Boomers value respect for their long service, skills, knowledge and managers will find recognition for Boomer’s wisdom is a key to successful integration of these workers and managers into the profitable organization. Managers of Boomers should honor the history and memories brought into the work environment because past experiences can bring understanding to current situations, providing positive outcomes. When policies are placed in a historical perspective, employees can often understand and accept more easily. 

Baby Boomers find recognition extremely important. Whether recognized personally or publically, motivate Boomers through recognizing their accomplishment and clearly expecting superior outcomes from their efforts will help ensure happy Boomers. Embrace their best ideas and implement those into processes and methods. 

Boomers tend to have conflict between their desire to compete on an individual basis and their desire to be part of a team. Encourage these workers to focus on the team in the short-term as an effective means to bring personal recognition and success for themselves in the long term. 

Boomers also find conflict with the generation born before 1946 because the older generation tends to feel entitlement to perks on the job. Boomers often have the false feeling that those employees have not paid the dues they have to gain their positions. They also tend to find conflict with the younger generations coming into the workplace with high levels of technical expertise and feel they are unfairly competing with this generation that they view as “coddled”. By placing Boomers in mentoring positions, managers can often mitigate these negative feelings and generate feelings of teamwork and workplace “families”. 

Next we will look at managing Generation X’ers, the group of workers born between 1965 and 1980.

By: James Osgood

Flexible Workspace

The Evolving Office Workspace - Managing the Veteran Generation

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There are two groups in the workforce today who were born before 1946. Veterans of the Second World War make up about 13% of the employees, including managers, comprising the current workforce according to the Age and Sex Composition from the 2010 Census Briefs extracted from the census by the United States Census Bureau. This workforce group, sometimes called the Silent Generation, Greatest Generation, or Paper Agers, requires special management considerations. 

The workers in this group were largely not exposed to technology and computers until these methods became a necessary part of the employment. Often they feel that due to their impending retirement they should not be required to move into the computer age. Because the work methods used early in their career were low-tech yet workable, they want to continue to use printed paper trails and other more familiar methods that they are comfortable with. Yet, the work environment has moved into high-tech and these workers are forced to adapt. Technology is the major hurdle for the generation of workers born prior to 1946. This can cause conflict between the Silent Generation and those born into the age where technology was part of their lives from childhood onward. 

Paper Agers often feel that any information not presented in hardcopy has little meaning and find it difficult to conform to the paperless workplace. Their strong work ethics and “get it done” attitudes can add strength to teams and tasks assigned to be worked alone. This group of workers has no room for failure and drive toward success. They strive to please superiors in all their efforts and they do fine ways to adjust to technology when presented with training opportunities. 

Often, veterans born prior 1946 find themselves in management positions because they are long-term employees and tend to be upwardly mobile in the organization chart. Their structured backgrounds lead them to have strong respect for hierarchy.  They build strong relationships based on loyalty, structure and time. They work well in management positions because they have been long exposed to experiences where information was provided on a “need to know” basis. This makes them able to keep information to themselves where necessary and provide information to the right parties when necessary. Their frugal natures make them capable of adhering to both budget and schedule. 

It can be very difficult at times for younger managers to relate to the workers from this era. Frustration arises when the high-tech manager has to deal with their lack of native technical expertise, but they can excel in technical positions when provided necessary training. The younger manager may have grown up with high-tech and resents the cost and time required to train these workers in technology. Yet, the long-term work experience and lessons learned gained from these workers can lead to creative ideas that generate greater profit for the organization. Therefore, younger managers should be trained to value these workers and utilize their skills while providing growth opportunities through technical training. 

In the next post we will look at managing and working with Baby Boomers, the generation born between 1946 and 1964

By: James Osgood

Flexible Workspace

Office Lease Checklist - Get it done Right!

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We are pleased to announce that OfficeFinder has just added a new up to date Office Lease Checklist. The checklist was prepared by one of our OfficeFinder tenant representative members who has reviewed hundreds of office leases. The office lease checklist covers the most important items to consider when evaluating a lease agreement. Also available from the office lease checklist page is a professional office lease review service that includes a complete lease review, analysis and recommendations for only $395. The review is intended to provide tenants with the information they need to successfully negotiate with their landlord.

Visit the Office Lease Checklist

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By: James Osgood

Lease Negotiations , Office Leasing Tips , Office Space Design , Office Space Negotiations , Tenant Representation

HD Video Conferencing in the Rise?

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As the workplace morphs to absorb the Gen X and Gen Y work-styles we are likely to see an increasein the use of HD video conferencing for remote workers, allowing them to stay in touch with the office. One of the key traits of the newer workforce is their desire for the ability to work independently from the corporate office enviroment. Business like this too since it will allow them to reduce the amount of office space they need to lease. Seems like a win-win.

Some of a recent press release:

LifeSize, a division of Logitech (NASDAQ:LOGI) (SIX: LOGN), is joining forces with Regus (LSE: RGU), the world’s largest provider of flexible workspaces, to bring LifeSize HD video conferencing to businesses and the public at more than 240 Regus locations worldwide. Regus customers can now easily communicate with colleagues around the world via video or conduct business over HD video while traveling.

A wide variety of video collaboration scenarios including:

  • Seamless video calling with customers and partners, regardless of their video platform
  • Remote candidate interviews, connecting candidates to interview teams through local Regus offices
  • Data sharing and collaboration with colleagues while traveling

 

One of the keys to the potential success of the LifeSize program is that it is compatible with multiple video platforms. In other workds, folks at teh head office could be using the LifeSize platform whil the remote worker could be using a basic platform. It will allow for easier integration for eveyone involved.

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Four Generation Workplaces: Why Different Management Styles are Necessary

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For the first time in history, managers are faced with the requirements to effectively manage four different generations in the workplace. The future will likely continue to contain four generations even as those generations move along the timeline of life and business. 

What Generations are Working Today?

According to the Age and Sex Composition from the 2010 Census Briefs compiled by the United States Census Bureau, the generational breakdown of employees and managers today fall into these categories:

1. Veterans born prior to 1946: This group makes up 13 percent of the workforce at the time of the census data collection and reporting in 2010. 

2. Baby Boomers born in the post-World War II years: This group is defined in the reports as those being born between 1946 and 1964 and make up 26.5 percent of the workforce. 

3. Generation X members, aka Gen Xers: This group of workers were born from 1965 through 1980 and comprise 19.8 percent of the , are considered to be the segment born between 1965 and 1980 and make up 19.8 percent of the total workforce today and

4. Millennial or Generation Y, frequently shortened to Gen Yer, is the workforce members born after 1981 through present and total 27.7 percent of the total. 

As time passes and the older generation disappear an additional, a younger generation will come of age so business will find it necessary to remain in touch with the remaining worker generations and develop ways to effectively work with the newer generations. Each generation has its own work style and life style.  Mangers need to understand what they need to do to encourage employee productivity. In the future and right now it is critical to learn to deal with the workers currently in the business world. This is crucial to producing profit and growth in any form of business.  

In future posts, we will look in depth at each work group and how these workers can effectively be managed. 

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