8×8 Study: Generation Z to Impact Business Communications

Generation z

Just as the channel is increasingly focusing on the technological needs of millennials, here comes Generation Z (Gen Z), with a different set of preferences for business communications.

A new 8×8 study, “Rogue One: How Generation Z Is Going to Bring Balance to the (work) Force,” found that the work preferences of Gen Z, in many ways, align more closely with Gen X than millennials. Gen Z will enter the workforce in earnest in 2017.

8x8's Enzo Signore“The study 8×8 commissioned shows that Gen Z has preferences that deviate somewhat from millennials and that will have an impact on how resellers and integrators both manage their employees and conduct business in the channel,” said Enzo Signore, 8×8’s chief marketing officer. “For example, Gen Z is really more focused on communications being effective, whereas millennials are more focused on convenience/efficiency. Channel companies should expect more of a focus on in-person interaction, and collaboration and video conferencing than the messaging/texting culture that millennials embraced. Gen Z also views email and desk phones as ineffective forms of communications, but considers the smartphone as indispensable.”{ad}

The study is based on a survey that includes 200 Gen Z respondents, 400 millennial respondents and 400 Gen X respondents, ages 18 to 50.

The findings suggest Gen Z are less tech-dependent than millennials, and more similar to Gen X when it comes to adopting high-tech devices and apps in their personal lives. Millennials are more likely to use wearables (39 percent), connected appliances (35 percent) and virtual reality (24 percent) than Gen Z or Gen X.

Also, Gen Z values face-to-face communications more than any other generation, with an emphasis on effectiveness over convenience — a major shift from how millennials prefer to work. While one in four Gen Z workers prefer communicating in person, millennials were most likely to respond that face-to-face communications will be less important in the future.

The majority of Gen Z workers want a physical workspace (57 percent) combined with the ability to work remotely (48 percent) and have flexible hours (73 percent). Additionally, when asked about the types of communications tools they want to use, most millennials want tools that will save them the most time. On the other hand, Gen Z wants to use tools that are the…


…most effective, even if it takes more time, demonstrating a desire to do a job well versus quickly, according to the study.

When it comes to traditional workplace tools, Gen Z brings balance between high-tech millennials and older Gen Xers, according to the study. Less than 20 percent of Gen Z respondents said they are likely to use traditional Gen X tools like email or landlines for work. However, Gen Z is the least likely of every generation to use millennial favorites like messaging and chat apps in the future workplace. Smartphones are the exception and are quickly becoming a hub of communication for all generations, but especially Gen Z. When asked which device they used to take the survey, twice the amount of Gen Z respondents (62 percent) used a smartphone over millennials (31 percent) and Gen X (28 percent).{ad}

“From a challenge perspective, companies who just shifted from a Gen X-era work style to accommodate millennials may start walking back some of those changes,” Signore said. “Companies may need to be more flexible to encourage remote work while maintaining a physical presence where employees can interact with colleagues and have more meaningful personal interactions. From an opportunity standpoint, we think that Gen Z’s preferences align more closely with historical IT preferences — giving employees the tools they need to do their jobs most effectively.”

The generations did agree on numerous points. More than half of all generations do not believe they will use email for work in the future, and nearly seven in 10 of all respondents agreed that at least some of their current jobs could be automated by bots today, with even more agreeing that bots will automate some part of their jobs in the future.

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