Millennials aren’t inflexible at work — you are


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“I traveled over an hour to get to the office, and I didn’t mind it at all.”

Millennial workers often get a bad rap as the “me, me, me” generation, made up of people who want things their way, when they want them. But new research shows that reputation may be undeserved.

According to a survey released Wednesday by real-estate firm Coldwell Banker Commercial, “millennials are the most flexible generation in today’s workforce.”

No, really: Millennials are more willing to travel longer distances to get to work (almost twice as long as older folks, at an average of 51 minutes vs. 36 for Gen Xers and 31 for boomers), more amenable to sharing their workspace with someone else, and more likely to say they prefer working in the office than at home (which many employers also prefer), the survey revealed. More than 2,000 Americans ages 18 and older were surveyed.


Fred Schmidt, the president and COO of Coldwell Banker Commercial, says there isn’t a clear reason why millennials were more flexible than boomers and Gen Xers, but that this could be more age-related than generation-related. Millennials, for example, might be more willing to travel longer distances and share a workspace with someone else because they are just starting out in their careers and feel like this is the price they have to pay to move their careers forward.

Many other studies indicate that millennial workers might not be as flexible as their older counterparts. A survey published last year by professional services firm PwC found that 41% of millennials want to be rewarded or recognized for their work at least monthly, if not more frequently, whereas only 30% of non-millennials demand that level of frequency; and 71% of millennial employees say that their work demands interfere with their personal lives, compared with 63% of non-millennials.

Millennials’ reputation as the “me” generation may be undeserved, according to a new survey. Catey Hill discusses the findings on the News Hub with Lee Hawkins. Photo: Getty.

Still, this Coldwell Banker Commercial survey gives us reason to pause at the notion that millennials aren’t willing to bend to the demands of their careers. So rather than stereotype this age group as lazy or inflexible (or vice versa), it may be time to ditch the preconceived notions. “The most important tip for any older employee or manager about working with recent graduates is simply this: ‘assume nothing,’” says professional speaker and career expert Alfred Poor.