Productivity vs Presenteeism: are Millennials tipping the balance?

The culture of busyness, long-hours and presenteeism helps no one - it results in people sitting at their desks and in meetings with flu treatments, unwittingly passing on germs to colleagues, and  eventually burnout -  and it doesn’t necessarily make people any more productive. 

In fact, research for Vitality Health Insurance found that unhealthy colleagues cost business one month per year in lost productivity, and long hours made no meaningful difference to employee productivity (source: HBR). Yet having a back-to-back calendar of meetings with work in the evenings to do still sends a message to colleagues: “I’m in demand” and therefore the idea of moving away from that can be hard to change.

However, as the Millennial age cohort become more established and get into leadership positions, a new longer term trend is taking root; one in which people are still working long hours, but on a range of projects some directly related to work (such as judging or speaking on panels within the industry, or working on an industry-reated side project) or even something entirely unrelated. 

There are numerous motivations for this - from financial or CV-boosting to fulfilling another desire in their lives. Work needs to change to encompass these multi-faceted 'side hustlers’ -  not least because these passions bring energy, motivation, better creative ideas and even vital business contacts flowing back into the office. 

It’s likely the case that this trend will only increase - of members of Generation Z who are of working age - around 53% of them have a side hustle and do not rely on their main job alone as a source of income (source: HR News). 

Younger workers are also feel the greatest interest in working in a more agile way - according to a report by Timewise, 92% of those surveyed either do or would like to. So let’s support them. 

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