Work/Life Balance

May 31, 2016

Sea-Land Chemical Co. has a healthy mix of Millennials and Boomers. Each brings distinctive attributes to the workplace. For a while now, I’ve noticed how differently they see the need for time off. Now, you might think the Boomers would be the ones who happily work long hours while the Millennials demand more free time.

The reality is little more complex.

In my generation, we expected to climb the corporate ladder. If we had to put in double-overtime to meet a deadline, then so be it. If we had to work weekends, then that was the price of success. We could realistically expect to live on one income, allowing one partner to be home with the kids.

Today, it’s different. Most Millennial households have more student debt, more expenses and require two incomes to make ends meet. Couple this with the 24-7 work life that technology has encouraged and it can be particularly challenging when the 20 and 30 somethings have kids to care for.

So, how do they do it? I’ve found that they view work differently than we did. First, Millennials want flexibility. In an Ernst and Young Survey, the lack of flexibility and a culture that fails to promote work/life balance were cited as top reasons that Millennials quit jobs. In addition, they wanted to know that having work flexibility and leave wouldn’t exclude them from advancement opportunities.

As managers we must listen to their needs and expectations and respond in a way that supports them in their efforts while maintaining an excellent workplace. Some of these ways include flexible hours and family leave.

Do you have many Millennials in your organization? Do you see the differences in generational expectations and does it ever cause problems? How do you address them?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

All the Best,

Joseph Clayton

President, Sea-Land Chemical Co.