New Gen Seems ‘Right at Home’ when Working From Home
No office? No problem! First Rate shifted to a totally remote workforce effective Monday March 16th. The BPO team that I oversee made the transition to remote work quickly and seamlessly. What surprises me, though, is that they also made the transition effortlessly as well.
As I have reflected on this transition, I’m reminded that I oversee a group where the majority of team members is under the age of 30. This is a very interesting peer group to say the least, and it’s possible that they are uniquely gifted for remote work.
I didn’t study psychology, or sociology, or other disciplines that examine behavior. I did, however, spend over 20 years from the last 1990s through the late 2010s volunteering with young people, and with high school seniors specifically. I also parented two children through their teenage years, with both of them now young adults. My experiences with these young people over this unique time period (with the rise of technology and specifically social media) gave me plenty of anecdotal evidence that this group would bring new behaviors and expectations to the workforce.
I graduated from high school in 1992. That means I turned 16 in 1990. May of my peers in the business world graduated within 5 or so years on either side of this window. We viewed turning 16 similarly: turning 16 meant gaining a driver’s license. A license meant driving a car. A car meant freedom, and we spent that freedom leaving home to be with friends.
Fast forward to 2015, when my son turned 16. He did not get a driver’s license on his birthday. He didn’t even ask about it. This wasn’t uncommon based on my interactions with hundreds of teenagers in recent years. He didn’t need to leave home to be with his friends; his friends were always with him, no matter where he was. He didn’t need to go to a friend’s house to play video games with them. He simply needed to go to his room, turn on his gaming console, and start playing a game “with” them online. They were together, they just weren’t in the same place. My daughter turned 16 a year later in 2016, and the same was true for her. She didn’t need to leave home to be with her friends. They were constantly interacting on various social media platforms whether they were together or not.
Young adults who have grown up in the age of social media and multi-player online games are now in our workforce. They have spent a significant amount of their lives being in “community” with others even when separated. This gives them a unique advantage in operating in a remote work environment where teams are completely distributed in various locations.
When we transitioned to a remote workforce, I had my doubts in the back of my mind with how effective it would be. However, with over 50% of my team under the age of 30, it never dawned on me that this setup may actually benefit them, and that they may operate at an even higher level inside of this new normal. So far, the results have been exceptional. These workers feel right at home by staying right at home!
Rob Bethmann joined First Rate as the firm’s 10th employee in 1998. He has served in multiple business units in the company and currently serves as a Director and General Manager in First Rate’s Service Bureau. In this role Bethmann manages a staff of analysts and focuses on the delivery of our outsourced offering as well as growing the business in the future.