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​Are Millennials Really Spoiled?

Posted on April 6, 2015

Recently I read an article about the perks millennial workers were “demanding” in the workplace like massages, flex time and free breakfasts. Quelle Terrible! Or so the author seemed to imply.

Personally, I think all of those things and more are the least companies should offer their employees. But then, I still remember the time when people worked only 40 hours a week and a good ten of those hours were totally work-free lunches and morning and afternoon coffee breaks.

In those days office workers who worked past 5 PM were paid time and half plus dinner money. Blue collar workers also got time and half for working longer shifts. And even if you didn’t work overtime, people got paychecks large enough to support wives, children and a mortgage without having to take a second or third job. (We won’t even get into free health and dental coverage and matching 401K contributions!) Unfortunately, millennials aren’t so lucky.

Between the new normal of a 50 hour workweek (with lunch hours often spent eating at your desk and NO coffee breaks), digital communications have made it possible for work to continue wherever you are. At home, at a restaurant, attending school events for your children and probably on a desert island if the vacation cruise ship you’re on is hit by a monster wave. There is no escape!

If your workday begins at 8 am and continues to 6 PM (which is pretty standard now in many companies) and you’re trapped in an office campus in the suburbs – when are you supposed to live your life? How can you shop for clothes, groceries, household furnishings, gifts for favorite people, etc.? Or when can you go to the dry cleaners, dentist or the hairdresser, let alone a movie?

Yes, you can always shop online, but that is not the same experience as windowshopping in a mall, main street or urban downtown. Not even close. How about time to have a leisurely lunch with your officemates? Or that wonderful feeling of finishing work on Friday knowing you have two whole days that are completely your own? No LinkedIn to check, tweets to read or emails to answer?

People need time to decompress – whatever they do. And if you’re working from dawn to dusk than employers should provide ways for workers to unwind and chill out AT work. Ping pong tournaments, dart boards in the break room, free beer and wine after 5 PM on Fridays, complimentary breakfast on Mondays, pets welcome at work, massage therapists on site – whatever it takes. And if any millennial unions are forming to pressure management into these arrangements, more power to you. Just let me know where the picket line is forming and you can count this baby boomer in!



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