College graduates who have spent the last several years with consumer-based email such as Gmail, instant messaging, \n\nFacebook and smart phones to keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues might be in for a rude awakening when they \n\ntake jobs in the workforce. Not only will the technology their companies provide Gen Y workers with potentially outdated \n\ntechnologies than what they've used in the consumer market, they might be banned from using them in favor of \n\ndull and sometimes less efficient corporate technology. Experts say the problem could cause a rift between management and \n\nthese Gen Y workerbees. Worse, it could hamper productivity as they butt heads over how best to utilize such technologies.\n\nTwenty-somethings' insistence on having whatever technology best suits stems from psychological reinforcement, says Professor Tom Fauls, associate professor of advertising at Boston University's College of Communication. He says that the younger generations have grown up with more positive \n\nreinforcement in schools compared to the older generations so they have a "rude awakening" when they get to the workplace. \n\nFor about six months, there is a "tremendous learning curve when they first get on the job," he \n\nsays.\n Jason Fang, a recent graduate of Bentley University with a degree in corporate \n\nfinance and accounting, says that he used to plan out his homework schedule, including the amount of time each task would \n\ntake, yet realizes that the workplace has a different set of rules for finishing projects.\n Fang says that during college he spent between 3 minutes and 8 hours on a variety of online sites per week.\n\nOnline Activity of Senior's Last Semester\nJason Fang's Spring 2008 Semester at Bentley University\n \n \n\n \n\n \n\n\nWebsite Name \nVisits Per Week\nTime Spent Per Week\nDistracting?\n\n\nFantasybaseball.yahoo.com\n25\n8 hrs\nYes\n\n\nFacebook.com\n7\n1 hr\nNo\n\n\nBlackboard.edu (Bentley site)\n5\n2 hrs\nNo\n\n\nWeather.com\n5\n5 mins\nNo\n\n\nIgoogle.com\n2\n20 mins\nNo\n\n\nGmail.com\n1\n10 mins\nNo\n\n\nhttp:\/\/lost-and-gone-forever.blogspot.com\n2\n4 hrs\nYes\n\n\ncentsports.com\n7\n1 hr\nYes\n\n\nDictionary.com\n1\n1 min\nNo\n\n\nrottentomatoes.com\n2\n20 mins\nNo\n\n\novguide.com\n6\n2 hrs\nYes\n\n\nmovietickets.com\n1\n3 mins\nNo\n\n According to Jonathan Yarmis, vice president of Disruptive Technologies at AMR Research, "The younger demographic have not only embraced [social networks] but in many \n\nways have grown up with them," he points out.Yarmis, who has a high-school-aged-son, says that there is a big difference between the way that he and his son \n\nwork; his son can use multiple mediums and applications at once, while he must focus solely on one to be productive.Fang, who recently started a job at Grant Thornton says, "The thing \n\nabout homework is that it doesn't matter if you do it early, it just matters if you have it done on time. Conversely, most \n\nbosses prefer you to complete work assignments ASAP, which puts pressure to get them done without taking any breaks. And \n\nreally it all depends on who your boss is."\n According to Fauls, who teaches an interactive marketing communications course, companies within each industry vary \n\nwhen offering employees communication-related technology at the workplace. Fauls says that he hasn't heard any complaints of \n\nzero or limited access to social networking sites at their new positions. \n This could be due to the fact that less than 15 percent of large enterprises block Facebook with a firewall, as Yarmis \n\npoints out. Yet users are savvy, and companies that do block such sites lose out on new recruits from the younger demographic. "Why would a recent grad want to work for an awesome company who blocks such sites when they can work for an \n\nequally awesome company that doesn't?" Yarmis asks.\n Yarmis says that there are three main growth spurts taking place within communication technology right now\u2014an \n\nincreased trend of social networking, the continued evolution of the mobile world and a growth in cloud computing\u2014which all affect the working world.Due to an eroding structured work day, is it really a big deal for employees to spend time doing non-work \n\nactivities during "normal" business hours?\n Fauls, who's in contact with many recent college alums, says that with more services and hardware now available, \n\ne-mail access outside of the office is pretty common. Additionally, the younger generation has Blackberrys or other forms of smartphones for both personal and work \n\nusage. Tech offerings such as these allow for a less structured work day, resulting in a tradeoff between work time and \n\npersonal time. Many employers allow employees to alter their work hours to fit in personal appointments and so on, and \n\ntherefore expect them to be more "on call" outside of traditional business hours. However, he adds, though many companies \n\nare being more lenient with work schedules, there are always those people that avoid work no matter what technologies are available.\n Fang, who's new to the workforce, feels that companies need to block explicit websites that could hurt their networks, \n\nbut shouldn't turn off all non-work related websites.\n "I would be fine if my work blocked Facebook, because there are plenty of other sites \n\nto keep me distracted. However, I'm not that easily distracted that if I had a deadline approaching I would blow it off to \n\nlook at the Red Sox highlights," Fang points out. \n "Some people are very easily distracted and that will always keep them from moving ahead in life. If bosses \n\nwant to keep their employees from surfing the web, they should give them deadlines. Personally I think having websites \n\navailable at work helps keep employees awake during the day. Instead of working 8 straight hours, they can spend 5 minutes \n\nevery hour checking the score of the game and that helps wake them up," Fang suggests, adding that a little downtime during \n\nthe work day isn't usually frowned upon if it doesn't take away from general productivity.\n Yet the online world is affecting more than just workplace communication and our multitasking abilities. It's also \n\nmanaged to infiltrate the way we speak. Fauls considers himself lucky to be on the inside cusp of the changing language due \n\nto working with students fulltime. In recent months he's noticed "tweets", "microblogging", \n\nand the switch from "sms" to "mms" being used in everyday speak. Using new terms such as these is "fun and shows you're \n\nhip," Fauls points out. \nFang, a 2008 college graduate, and Fauls, who's been a professor for more than eight years, agree that older generations \n\naren't as familiar with social networking sites as their younger counterparts. Fang suggests that older generations most \n\nlikely don't understand the benefit of such platforms because they're more unfamiliar with most of the technology, unlike \n\nthe younger generations. "As technology grows the ease of communication increases, which frightens those who are used to old \n\nfashioned methods," Fang says.\n Fauls agrees, adding that he wouldn't be surprised if older generations spent just as much time reading medical blogs \n\nand other healthcare sites, though these are less social.\n Tammy Erickson, president of nGenera Innovation Network, who assists companies with understanding and using \n\ntechnology trends to improve how they do business, says, "The idea of being disengaged from work and using technology as a \n\nway to relieve boredom cuts across all ages. Older workers may shop online, send e-mails to friends or surf the web; younger \n\nworkers may text, IM or update Facebook pages\u2014but the impact is the same."\n Fauls adds that around graduation time he receives a lot of invites from college students adding LinkedIn as they \n\n"graduate" from sites like Facebook.\n Though recent grads want to keep in touch with old friends or check the scores of a game, just like more seasoned employees\n\nmight, it's up to each individual to decide how much time can be dedicated to non-work related activity while still remaining productive. \n Right now many companies are beginning to realize that allowing employee access to sites such as Facebook doesn't \n\nresult in all negative consequences. Yarmis explains that \n"Facebook for the enterprise" is a convenient umbrella that refers \n\nto employing social networking sites in general and relates to first figuring out how to use them as a recruiting tool, and \n\nthen how to improve upon it.Erickson points out that recruiting on Facebook is one way in which companies are using the technology to their advantage. \n\n "The trend is most evident in highly competitive recruiting arenas, such as professional accounting," Erickson says.\n Social networking sites are just platforms, Yarmis adds, and it is up to each company to figure out how they want to \n\ntreat them.