Unified Collaboration That Works for Everyone

How Unified Collaboration tools can close the age gap across generations

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For the first time ever, businesses now have as many as four different generations working together. Baby-boomers working later in life and Gen Z’ers starting their careers are now finding themselves in meetings together and collaborating on projects. Each generation has been shaped by different technologies and cultures, adding totally new communication nuances to their meetings and interactions. This poses quite a unique challenge for organizations as they build-out the tools they’re using for communication and collaboration. Leadership needs to ensure they’re creating a work environment that accommodates varying needs and styles and brings all their employees together cohesively.

To help better understand these generational differences, GoTo conducted a survey examining the daily workplace behaviors, communication styles, and tools used by 2,000 office employees in the U.S. and around the world. We found some significant trends and preferences that varied between the generations.

Different Generations Use Different Tools
The Gen Z-er’s and ‘digital natives’ in the workforce grew up on Facetime and texting applications. So it’s not surprising that they’re much more comfortable and interested in using videoconferencing and chat applications. But the difference is more staggering than you might expect when you compare between the two age groups using various solutions.

  • 86% of employees age 25-34 used video conferencing tools at work, vs. just 46% of employees age 55+
  • 92% of employees age 18-34 used chat tools at work, vs. just 51% of employees 55+

There’s also a wide gap when considering the pure volume of tools being used -- roughly 60% of employees in the younger age ranges (18-44) have embraced at least three different collaboration tools for daily use, as opposed to only 28% of employees 55+. 

Younger Generations are Less Satisfied with Communication

Our research also revealed some interesting discrepancies about communication frequency at work. Younger generations expect more communication than older generations. 56% of those 18-44 agreed that communication was “lacking” among their coworkers; compared to only 35% of those 45+. This correlates to the finding that employees 55+ are also more likely than employees 25-34 to prefer working on their own (41% vs. 33%). As older generations lived the bulk of their careers with fewer communication avenues and technologies, they naturally leaned into a more independent work style. They don’t crave or require as many frequent check-ins and team meetings as younger workers have grown so accustomed to. 

All Generations Agree: Keep Things Simple

Interestingly, while younger generations are leaning on using a wide range of collaboration capabilities, they aren’t necessarily satisfied with the experience of doing so. The increased use of disparate collaboration tools among younger generations has caused them to feel like they’re wasting time. We found that 60% of employees 18-24 and 63% of employees 25-34 reported feeling like they waste a lot of time switching between collaboration tools. While older generations tend to use fewer collaboration tools overall, they still experience the impact on their workflow - 40% of employees 55+ also feel they waste time switching between technologies.

UCC Can Close The Gaps

With all this discrepancy of communication habits among your employee base, how do you drive a successful collaboration strategy that will make everyone happy and productive? That’s where the benefits of UCC come in. Find a way to provide all the features that younger generations want and need - video, audio, chat, and screensharing – in a way that doesn’t bog down the older generation with too many tools.

A unified communications and collaboration solution allows you to prove everyone the same user-friendly experience, no matter which mode of communication they prefer. Your employees can pick and choose how to communicate, without feeling like they have too many options on their desktop. And on the IT management side, you’ve got a single pane of glass to provision, onboard and manage users no matter which features they want or use.

Solutions that easily integrate with other software within a workflow can also make a significant impact on productivity. Users will spend less time “dealing with the technology” and switching between tools, and more time getting work done.

All generations of workers should feel engaged, empowered and productive - regardless of where and how they prefer to work!

To learn more and read the full research, visit our blog at www.goto.com/blog.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.