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8 Reasons Millennials Seem To Be Lazy At Work

8 Reasons Millennials Seem To Be Lazy At Work
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Millennials are challenging the traditional notion of work. As they become the largest fraction of the U.S. workforce, more and more businesses are struggling with the demands and work ethics of Gen Y employees. If you are struggling to understand their needs and find ways to engage with them, here are eight reasons why you might be failing and think of the whole generation as lazy and non-work driven, while the reality is quite the opposite.

1. They no longer value the traditional workplace rules

Strict dress code? Fines for being late for 10 minutes? Meetings for the sake of meetings? Millennials no longer deem such things important and often fail to compile with out-dated rules. They will not work for a company where certain things are done because “it’s always been done that way.” This generation has often been called the generation of tinkerers and shortcut-takers. They don’t want to get things done “just because.” They want to get tasks done in the most efficient, least time-consuming way possible and squeeze out the max results.

Next time you think a 20-something employee is just being lazy, have a closer look at his productivity time. He might just have written a simple code to do copy-pasting for him and now enjoys longer lunches while the job is still being done by itself.

2. They believe in life, not work-life balance

Work is not everything millennials want in life. They would like to have time for their friends, family, hobbies, and other small pleasures and pastimes. They work to live, not live to work. That’s why the concept of lifestyle business gained so much popularity in the last decade among these folks. Millennials want to combine their passion with profit and work long hours on projects they feel passionate about, rather than helping someone else reach their profit benchmark.

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In fact, think about this the next time you are nagging a millennial about why they don’t get a real job and how they should stop wasting their time shooting makeup videos or hunting for stuff around flea markets to sell it on Ebay or Etsy: These young and extremely successful entrepreneurs built their business around their lifestyle:

  • Michelle Phan started as a makeup blogger and YouTuber and now owns a company with an expected revenue of $120 million in 2015.
  • Tim Ferriss is a living legend, a highly successful author best known for “The 4 Hour Workweek,” and a serial entrepreneur, having launched a series of profitable businesses revolving around his hobbies.
  • James Khezrie launched his first menswear store Jimmy Jazz in Brooklyn that has now become a popular nationwide chain and an online store. He was fueled by his love for fashion and good music.
  • Marie Forleo is an extremely successful business coach running an award-winning show, “Marie TV,” and premium training program, B-School where she teaches how anyone can create the life and business they love, while earning a few thousand dollars per year.

3. They don’t want to be just another cog in the wheel

Yes, millennials have been bashed as “the entitled generation” too many times. Yet the reason for this is that millennials are not seeking a life-long career to pay the bills. They want a job with a purpose and to do something meaningful in life. According to a recent survey by Deloitte, six out of 10 respondents said a sense of purpose was the main reason why they chose to work for a certain company.

On the other hand, most companies don’t provide their young employees with the desired setting as 28 percent of respondents from the same survey admitted they feel that their current employer is making full use of their skills.

If you want to keep your millennial workforce content and productive, your company should focus on empowering workers and explaining to them why they should care, stressing how each team member contributes to the overall success, and praise more individual efforts rather than team accomplishments or managers only.

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4. They value intangible work benefits more

A millennial job seeker is armed with technology and the Internet. They can get to know all the tiny details about your company, including reviews from former and current employers, before committing to the job. They no longer want just a desk, fixed-working hours, pension plan, and annual bonuses like other generations did.

They are more attracted by intangible benefits like a friendly work culture, a lack of micromanagement and bureaucracy, sabbaticals, and more, along with some more palpable perks like a cool office space, permission to bring pets to work, or wellness benefits. There are numerous low-cost perks a company can offer employees to keep them content, loyal, and motivated, other than lucrative salary.

5. They are used to being flexible and doing things on the go

Millennials are used to answering emails, making calls, and solving problems on the go. That’s why they don’t feel the need to be anchored to their desk during traditional work hours. Why should anyone spend eight hours in front of the desk when they are already done with their daily plan and can answer a few late emails from the nearby coffee shop? They just don’t get why people get paid for simply showing up unless the job requires their physical presence.

This generation does not want to repeat the mistakes of their parents who spent over 60 hours per week at work; instead they want it all — a successful career and the life outside the cubicle. Being tech savvy, they have the ability to set up their office anywhere and work at their own flexible hours, while accomplishing even more compared to their peers stuck in the office.

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6. They are autonomous

Most of them learned to type and use Google earlier than they started writing properly. Millennials know how and where to find information they need and often take advantage of free online learning tools out there to gain lacking skills. Besides, they grew up hearing stories about 20-something tech entrepreneurs launching their multi-billion companies from a dorm. These stories help ambitious millennial workers feel like they have the ability to be successful too.

Young executives today don’t want to be micromanaged and preached to; they want to be actively involved in the decision-making process and don’t get why their voice doesn’t count. If your company seeks innovation and the urge to progress and develop further, let them speak and act. Allowing even the most junior person on the team to share an idea about the product can bring huge positive impact.

7. They want transparency

Millennial workers don’t merely nod and do as they are told by the manager, unless they see and understand the logics behind the decision. They don’t want to waste their time on things reasoned with “I’m the boss, I know better”. They want to know the “why” behind most important decisions made. .” They want to know why important are decisions made. They may not always agree with them, but they’ll appreciate the candidness.

8. They want to learn from experience

Most millennials are rather ambitious and won’t be satisfied with working as a middle manager for the rest of their days. They crave new knowledge and first-hand experience. They are focused on personal growth, and unlike older generations they don’t think their education is done the day they have graduated from college. In fact, they are often life-long learners. They opt for courses and training based on real-life experience, rather than pursuing another degree, certification, or diploma to hang in their office.

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Allow your Gen Y workforce to spend time on mastering new skills, watching courses, or listening to podcasts. In fact, encourage them and set up a tuition-reimbursement fund, occasionally invite speakers to your office, and send your employees to training sessions and workshops.

Featured photo credit: Sara Cimino via flickr.com

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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