The Pandemic and Millennials Are Reframing Work, and Gen X and Boomers Are Grateful

by Adam Felts

AgeLab Director Joseph Coughlin writes in Forbes on changes in workplace cultures brought upon by the pandemic - and by the preferences of younger workers:

"In those 550+ days [of the pandemic,] new ways of working were discovered and adopted. Zoom-like communication is now part of everyday work, life, and idiom. Fighting morning traffic congestion has been exchanged for morning workouts. Okay, realistically, workouts for a few, perhaps sleeping through former travel times for the rest of us. The phrase, “heading out,” in response to a phone call from a loved one at the end of the day, was replaced with a short walk down the hall from a makeshift home office corner to the family kitchen counter. The norms of work were not just suspended over 550+ days, they changed ...

Despite the work-from-home hype, COVID did not introduce new work values. The pandemic served as a propellant accelerating once nascent values about quality of life and where work fit into our lives to the forefront of employee decision-making. In a 2019 survey, a year before the pandemic, 82% of American Millennials said flexible hours and work from anywhere flexibility was key to their career planning. 

Read Dr. Coughlin's thoughts in full here.

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About the Author

Photo of Adam Felts
Adam Felts

Adam Felts is a researcher and writer at the MIT AgeLab. He conducts research on the experiences of family caregivers and the future of financial advice. He received his Master's in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Boston University in 2014 and his Master's of Theological Studies from Boston University in 2019.

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