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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

1 response to “The Evolving Office Workspace - Managing the Baby Boomer Generation”

  1. Sandy Jones Says:
    I wrote an article that fits in with this on 7 Ways the Job Market Differs for New Grads Versus Baby Boomers.