Gen Z May Never Work in an Office, but at What Cost?

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A growing number of young employees who graduated during the pandemic or got a new job as offices closed have never worked from an office. Many of them, most notably members of Gen Z, are seemingly okay with that arrangement.

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Time preservation is a key reason for wanting to work remotely, according to Gallup research. Not having to commute, the flexibility to balance work and personal obligations and improved well-being are the most popular reasons for preferring remote work, Gallup data suggests. However, research shows that there could also be drawbacks. 

Some surveys show that young remote workers may feel “unmoored and anxious,” The Wall Street Journal reported. According to professors Santor Nishizaki and James DellaNeve, who are writing a book about Gen Z and the future workforce, 69% of Gen Z persons surveyed in the fall of 2020 said they would like to work remotely at least half of the time. However, nearly half of respondents also reported an increase in anxiety and depression attributed to remote work.

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Researchers further believe that young workers may harm their personal and professional lives by missing out on traditional experiences related to in-person duties, such as learning from older colleagues, chatting with bosses, settling into the office workday or even just being face to face with others, The WSJ reported. 

Young workers have also voiced concerns about losing out on forming relationships with work colleagues, the ability to build a professional network and other career opportunities. The WSJ added that remote work could also lead to a career crisis because young millennials and Gen Z have less experience and less power at work than other age groups.

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“This is the cohort with the least amount of person-to-person interaction while growing up,” Dr. Nishizaki, professor at California State University, Los Angeles, explained to the WSJ. 

“There is a link there between depression and anxiety and how we constantly compare ourselves to other people, and then we are only seeing our best selves online and on social media,” he added.

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.
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