By Aoife Barry
Earlier this year, Eurostat - the statistics agency of the EU - found that almost six out of 10 enterprises with 10 or more employees or self-employed persons offered remote access to email, documents and business applications/software, while 91 per cent of companies with over 240 employees offered the same.
The benefits of remote and hybrid working are manifold, including access to a better work-life balance and less time spent commuting.
But there can be drawbacks to not being in the office with your team as much as before, or not at all; one of which can be a loss of intergenerational relationships.
Building intergenerational relationships can offer a viewpoint from colleagues younger or older than you, which can widen your way of thinking about the world and about work.
Older staff who have been in the industry or company longer can explain the rationale behind why certain things are done, or show newcomers the ropes.
In contrast, younger staff can have fresher attitudes towards the way a company works, and ask important questions about why things are done in certain ways.
The organisation Generations Working Together explains that there is such a thing as “intergenerational practice”, which is inclusive and reciprocal. Some of its benefits include improved social connections, and enhanced learning and development.
In today’s workplace, there’s a welcome focus on diversity and inclusion. Fostering a multigenerational workplace can play a role in challenging stereotypes around age and experience, which can help combat ageism.
In a 2017 Lee Hecht Harrison Penna poll in the UK, employees said that ageism was the most common cause of workplace inequality, while just this year in Ireland, a survey by Matrix found that inequality in relation to pay and age (30 per cent) was the most common form of discrimination.
Studies have been done into how intergenerational relationships affect ageism; one by Martine Lagacé, Lise Van de Beeck and Najat Firzly gave older workers a questionnaire about this topic and the results “suggest that a healthy intergenerational workplace climate exerts a significant and positive impact on perceived ageism in the workplace”.
Mentorship can be a big part of intergenerational work relationships, with older employees taking newcomers under their wing and nurturing them as they progress up the career ladder. But the opposite can also be true.
After all, the workplace is only getting older. According to the OECD, by 2050 there will be one person aged 65 and over for every two persons aged 20 to 64, compared to one for every three today.
Meanwhile, the share of the population aged 50 and older will increase from 37 per cent in 2020 to 45 per cent.
Attitudes towards work have also changed in recent decades. Social media trends like “lazy girl jobs” and “quiet quitting” show us that some sections of Gen Z are not obsessed with the idea of a long-term career with the same employer.
This generation could teach older generations about when to focus on work, and when to focus on life outside of it.
According to the OECD, there are several business benefits of a multigenerational workforce: These include increased productivity, a stronger talent pipeline, greater diversity of skills and outlook, better retention of experience and know-how, increased resilience and better access to multi-skilled teams.
If companies were to take these findings into consideration, they should ensure their job applications encourage diversity. They should also encourage people to apply for jobs despite their age.
Looking to make a career change? Here are three companies hiring on the Euronews Job Board.
HR Business Partner, EBA Clearing
HR plays a huge role in ensuring a company has a multigenerational approach. EBA Clearing is looking for a HR Business Partner based in Frankfurt who will assist the head of HR in developing the company’s HR strategy. They will consult and empower line managers in managing people-related issues, and help promote a healthy workplace. All the details can be found here.
Senior Android Engineer, Thermondo GMBH
Thermondo works in the German energy market and is involved with energy transition and CO2 reduction. It’s looking for a Senior Android Engineer in Berlin who will work on the tech team and manage seven people. The company has a strong team culture and there are flexible working hours. For all of the details on this role, see here.
Desktop Support - Florence, WorkSet EU
WorkSet is a leading IT support company based in Germany, providing level one to level three desktop support services to businesses worldwide and is now looking to onboard multiple new technicians for Desktop Support positions in Florence, Strong knowledge of user account management, including setting up and managing user accounts, groups, and permissions is essential. See the full job description now.