Age Influences Desire to Work Remotely – but Now How You Might Think

By Rachel Puryear

It probably won’t surprise you to know that in terms of the desire to work remotely versus preferring to come into a physical workplace, there are some generational gaps.

However, how that differential breaks down along generational lines might surprise you. You might assume that desire to work remotely diminishes with age.

Instead, there’s an inverse relationship between worker age, and desire to work in person. The youngest workers want to work in person the most, with the oldest workers having the greatest preference for working remotely.

A group of young workers sitting at an outdoor table, collaborating together. By Helena Lopes.

Despite younger people tending have a greater comfort level with current technology and online interaction than their more senior counterparts, they don’t necessarily want to work that way.

And if we look at the reasons why, it makes sense. It seems multiple age groups are seeing a lot of benefits to doing something differently than what they’re used to.

Note: “Gen Z” refers to the youngest adult workers, those in their late teens and early to mid twenties. The oldest Millennials are pushing forty, and the younger ones are getting close to thirty. Gen X are now between their early forties and late fifties. Youngest Boomers are now about sixty, and the oldest ones are in their late seventies.

Young Workers Want to Go Into the Office

Gen Z – the youngest adult workers – mostly want to work in person, rather than remotely, according to a new study.

In looking more closely at their reasons why, it makes a lot of sense.

Some of these people finished high school remotely, and spent their senior year on Zoom. Remote work has been a necessary scenario for a large chunk of the years they’ve been in the workforce, in contrast to workers older than Gen Z.

Accordingly, the youngest workers are much less enthusiastic about remote work than their older counterparts.

Instead, the youngest workers want mentorship, networking opportunities, and chances to move upward. They also want meaningful work. All of that sounds reasonable and understandable.

They’re just beginning their careers, and still establishing their professional networks. Going into the office will help them accomplish these goals much more than working at home will.

Therefore, Gen Z workers want to work in person, because it’s best suited for their needs.

Older Adults Want to Keep Working Remotely More Than Many Think

Despite a stereotype that Baby Boomers are tech-phobic and old school, they actually want to keep working from home the most of all, according to a recent survey. Many of them don’t see a reason to return to the office.

Older couple working on a computer together from home.

This makes sense, too. Older workers, unlike the youngest ones, have already long established their careers and built their professional networks. They are much more likely to be mentoring someone else than to be seeking mentorship for themselves.

Furthermore, older workers are more likely than younger ones to want to increasingly pursue personal interests outside of their work, and they view remote working as a way to facilitate that.

Older workers also likely have less tolerance for office politics anymore, having put up with it for many years already. Same thing for the daily commuting grind.

Desire to Work Remotely or In-Person, By Generation

According to the study referenced in the previous section; 27% of Gen Z respondents said they wanted to keep working remotely, compared with 28% of Millennial respondents, 33% of Gen X respondents (woo hoo, Gen X got mentioned! 😀 ), and 41% of Baby Boomer respondents.

Thank you, dear readers, for reading, following, and sharing. Here’s to work situations that take workers of all ages into consideration, and have something for everyone.

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