4 types of generations and their management of work time

Published on 05/04/2024

4 types of generations and their management of work time

Published on 05/04/2024
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4 types of generations and their management of work time

Currently, companies are composed of professionals from different generations, ages, cultures, and nationalities. In fact, with the possibility of telework, they have employees located abroad. This dynamic undoubtedly promotes diversity and inclusion, as well as work flexibility and work-life balance.

Work flexibility and generational diversity pose a significant challenge for companies: understanding time management during different work modalities.

Does generations diversity affect time management?

Time management has become a real concern for companies, and optimizing workers’ workdays so that they achieve maximum performance during the hours, minutes, and seconds they spend working is the aspiration of every human resources manager.

As the saying goes, “time is money,” although it doesn’t shine equally for all workers, nor in all moments, nor in all tasks. Not even in all ages.

At WorkMeter, we specialize in automatic time and workload measurement, understanding that the generational factor also influences time management.

“It’s not that there’s an age better than another to organize the workday or to get the best performance out of it. Actually, this depends on various factors, such as the type of task or the level of motivation. But it is true that there are certain situations or functions in which the generational factor clearly affects the time management of those workers, and depending on the life stage they are in, they will do it in a more or less optimized way,” highlights Joan Pons, CEO of WorkMeter.

4 types of generations: How do they manage their work time?

To try to establish and understand the strengths and weaknesses of workers when it comes to managing their time, we have analyzed different variables, including the data acquired through our Productivity management software.

We have analyzed the performance of more than 10,000 professionals belonging to nearly 200 companies, thanks to the objective and reliable data provided by Productivity management software about the functions and tasks of workers and whether they are more or less productive depending on a certain time frame, among other variables.

Baby Boomers, born between 1945 and 1964

They are the most veteran and, therefore, they “know it all” when it comes to time management, which is not always necessarily positive.

They can quickly identify situations due to their experience, so they don’t need much analysis to act; there’s no analysis paralysis in them.

Although they may sometimes appear to work more slowly than their younger colleagues, that’s not actually the case, as they progress steadily instead of zigzagging and circling.

They are also good at helping others manage their time better, as they can act as mentors and give good advice. In fact, it’s a role they usually enjoy and in which they can shine a lot.

A possible disadvantage of this generation is that they may lag in the digital aspect. Their learning speed in this field may be slower, and their response speed in digital projects or those without direct references may be affected; they could get stuck.

Lastly, the flip side of “knowing it all” about time management is that if they are not motivated, being already in the later stages of their careers, they may tend to let it slide, affecting their performance.

Generation X, born between 1965 and 1981

They are at a turning point in their careers. With plenty of experience behind them, lots of energy, and good years ahead.

They have enough experience to handle different situations well. For example, in personal relationships, face-to-face meetings, presentations, and client encounters.

They are technically resourceful and good at planning and executing projects. They are resilient, handle pressure well, and don’t freeze in stressful situations, which makes everything flow better.

Sometimes they may be overconfident or overestimate their own abilities, for example, when directing other professionals.

In some cases, they don’t know how to delegate, which will affect the time management of the entire team. Or they spend too much time supervising the work of their collaborators.

In fact, sometimes they don’t fully understand the role of the leader in remote or hybrid environments. Those who are not in leadership positions may tend to be individualistic and avoid working with other generations.

Generation Y or Millennials, born between 1981 and 1997

At the top of the wave. Millennials are attributed with the ability to transition from the old to the new economy, and they also bear the pressure to successfully complete the task.

Although they are not exactly digital natives (more like digital newcomers), they are very adept with technology and, in fact, they don’t conceive of a project in which technology doesn’t play a fundamental role.

They have been educated with an entrepreneurial component, which makes them good at multitasking and collaboration environments, where they make the most of their abilities. They have a great capacity for work and learning.

They are flexible and adapt quickly to changes. They are also bold and dare to try unexplored paths, which can sometimes open up interesting shortcuts to their performance.

Their multitasking skills can also be their downfall, as they tend to get distracted and not prioritize well.

Sometimes they can seem arrogant, essentially because they trust so much in digitalization that they underestimate, neglect, or outright disdain other valuable tools at their disposal, such as intergenerational relationships or the experience of their older colleagues.

Advice: If you ask them to do administrative tasks, don’t expect world speed records. They hate them and will take ages to complete them.

Centennials or Generation Z, born between 1997 and 2010

She is the youngest of the quartet and the last to enter the workforce.

This group is 100% digital, and their learning capacity in these environments is exponential.

They are very motivated at the start of their professional careers; they will try to learn as much as possible and make the most of every minute.

As was the case with boomers, they can also help other generations make better use of their time, for example, through reverse mentoring projects on digital issues.

However, they lack experience. This is not their fault, but rather inevitable and only cured by time. They will compensate for it with humility and a willingness to learn.

Their performance will be affected by that inexperience and should be evaluated, taking that into account.

They may tend to become easily demotivated and not tolerate authority well, something that will become a problem for them and their company if their response is to enter a mode of boycotting their own work.

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