Millennial Series: Work-Life Balance + Flexibility

Family-centric Millennials seek work-life balance, flexibility

Thus far, the blogs in our 5-part Millennial Series focused on best practices related to recruiting, retaining and promoting Millennials. We now know that Millennials are motivated by purposeful work + innovative environment and best perform for a team-oriented employer who invests in shared learning. They’re also big on professional development + leadership skills.

Research shows that Millennials are family-centric, seek a work-life balance and assign a high value to flexibility. And believe it or not, they are willing to sacrifice higher pay for these values—something which may feel foreign to their Boomer or even Gen X leadership.

Family Comes First

It could be said that previous generations were often willing to forgo time at home to succeed in their work life. This is not the case for Millennials. They are “willing to trade high pay for fewer billable hours, flexible schedules and a better work/life balance.”

Data suggests that Millennials, even those without children, “usually prioritize family over work.” And studies have also shown that the Millennial generation is more closely tied to their parents than previous generations. Some companies, like LinkedIn, have embraced this fact and invited family members to corporate activities like Bring In Your Parents Day.

Work-Life Balancing Act

With a “work hard, play hard” mentality, Millennials seem unwilling to sacrifice personal satisfaction to further their careers. To recruit and retain these employees, communicate that your company supports work-life balance by detailing what events, benefits or charities you sponsor or promoting fitness, health-related or volunteer programs. Also consider providing opportunities for flexible schedules or telecommuting.

Why is work-like balance so important to Millennials? An Inc.com article states, it’s partially how they define a good job: “16.8 percent evaluate career opportunities by good work-life balance.” Another reason is “millennials are the first generation to enter the workforce with access to technology that enables them to seamlessly work remotely, which 75 percent of Millennials want to do.” And lastly, 78 percent of Millennials have a spouse or partner who works full-time, making work-life balance even more difficult to achieve and, therefore, a priority for the Millennial worker.

Adapting to a Modern Workforce

Since Millennials seek a healthy work-life balance, it’s not surprising then that they want flexibility. In fact, 77% believe a flexible schedule promotes productivity. Managers may need to accept that the once-ubiquitous 9 – 5 work schedule is fading and trust Millennials to actually do the work—even if that means during non-business hours.

Some Millennials desire the flexibility to set their own schedule so they can work at “peak times of creativity and productivity,” believing work should be about quality, not quantity. One article provides options of how companies can offer flexibility:

  • Telecommuting: working from home or a remote location
  • Part-time schedule: work fewer set hours; selects different hours each week
  • Flexible schedule: work part- or full-time; hours based on core times or time bands
  • Alternative schedule: work outside the traditional 9 – 5 schedules
  • Freelance work: work on projects as a self-employed individual with no strict schedule

Millennial Maintenance

To attract Millennials and keep them happily employed, embrace the fact that they are family-centric by supporting their work-life balance efforts and offering flexible schedule options. As long as they perform and produce, this approach may be worth a shot and could even improve your bottom line.

Next up, our final blog in this series will focus on Millennials’ work experience. A Millennial’s resume may be peppered with different jobs, but this varied experience could be more valuable than you may think.