Does Collaboration Change with 4 Generations in the Workplace? [Infographic]

Companies are using teched out offices for everything from boosting productivity to attracting talent and engaging workers. Visual communication technologies can be as flashy as a video wall in your lobby or as understated as the reliable setup you have in your huddle rooms for video conferences.

The modern office is visual, connected, and device-friendly. Formerly manual tasks are digitized and automated. However, the fact is that not everyone works the same way. Some work styles and methods arise from habit or preference, while others are tied to your work experience. There are currently four generations of employees working side by side in the enterprise—Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Z (although the latter’s name is still up for debate).

Brad Sousa, Chief Technology Officer at AVI Systems, said “For the first time in the history of IT, we have four generations working in the same environment, trying to communicate and solve the same problems. Each of these generations has a unique perspective on how to share information and arrive at a solution.”

The Workplace of 4 Generations | AVI Systems

Generation Gaps 

Identifying generational differences is useful when trying to modernize the workplace because generations, as a whole, interact with work technologies differently. Workers, regardless of generation, are influenced by the technology they have experience with and have become comfortable with.

For example, older generations may avoid managing certain collaboration solutions because they remember a time when only technologists managed work equipment. A Gen Xer, on the other hand, may be inclined to operate equipment once they know its purpose and functions. Digital natives—those who have used personal devices and smart technologies their entire lives—encompass both Millennials and Gen Z; they often walk into a work scenario with an idea of what technology they want to use and may even feel comfortable taking over the room’s technology to set it up to their liking. 

These gaps are not insurmountable once IT teams have insights into where these differences are coming from. A recent study shows that most Baby Boomers now own a smart device. That was a technology gap that took some time to close, but now puts all generations on the same page.

Coming Together

Designing an environment for these different styles of working and of engaging with technology as well as with each other requires a new way of thinking. IT professionals and audiovisual buyers can no longer simply make a purchase and present it to the users. Now, they must not only consider every solution’s capabilities but its interoperability as well.

Outfitting the modern workplace is not a matter of making compromises among the generations—it’s a matter of creating a “unified ecosystem,” as Sousa calls it. Disparate platforms—as well as a range of generations—must all work together cohesively, with consideration of everyone’s preferences and needs.

The “Millennial mindset,” he adds, is one that revolves around sharing and collaborating in everything from furniture to technology. The modern office is, therefore, becoming connected and collaborative—in a way that suits the needs of all kinds of workers.

To learn more about the newest technologies for modern workspaces, read this blog post.