Article by: Curtis Peterson, SVP Cloud Operations, RingCentral
Evaluating a millennial’s potential in the workforce can’t help but start with a few preconceived notions. Millennial’s are perceived as disloyal, changing jobs at an average rate of every 2 years. They support marijuana legalisation at higher rates than any other generation. And finally, they don’t like to be called ‘Millennials’. However, millennials have a strong advantage in the digital workplace. They grew up in a time where technology was evolving very quickly and are used to trying new tools and new ways of doing things. Change is their constant.
1. Millennials will be the unwired workforce
My generation (Gen X) was the generation that wired everything. When I started working, very few components were networked together. Then we used wires to connect everything. Broadband came along and delivered wires like DSL and COAX from cable companies and ‘wire-like’ fibre to the home. With 5G on the cusp of being deployed, millennials will be the first generation to enjoy the high-speed, low latency and high reliability of wired networks without the wires. With the Internet of Things (IoT) consisting of over 20 billion devices by the year 2020, just about everything around us will be connected via wireless networks. Today, we are able to see, touch and analyse all of the devices that are networked together. Through 5G, millennials will assume everything is connected through wireless.
2. Millennials are used to new technology
Millennials grew up in a time where speed of innovation drove everything. As a result, millennials adopted new technologies and new capabilities as a constant from their youth through their early jobs. Millennials are only familiar with a world of constant change and 5G will be part of this change the millennials will adopt faster than the other workers.
3. Millennials will create work-life balance
Millennial’s have demonstrated a consistent desire for a good work-life balance. While other generations have been able to achieve a certain level of work-life balance, the extreme speed of 5G, the ultra-low latency of 5G, the ultra-high reliability of 5G, will provide millennials with the opportunity to perform nearly every work function from anywhere. 5G will allow millennials to be the generation that can do nearly anything remotely. Control real time manufacturing? Check. Remotely drive forklifts? Coming soon to a millennial near you. Millennials will bring the realisation of true work-life balance into the modern workplace where nearly every skill could benefit from 5G.
4. Millennials want team-based organisations
Millennials have shown us that while they were growing up by organising study groups and dinner parties using nothing but SMS, they also have a strong preference for team-based organisation and project work. With 5G, I expect team-based collaboration to go on steroids.
5. Millennials won’t be able to see ‘what’s connected’ – it will be about what isn’t connected
Millennials combined with 5G wireless will assume everything is connected. Anything at work that isn’t connected will be a ‘dumb’ device. This will have an enormous impact on worker’s productivity where teams of workers are managing their connected world of devices as opposed to operating the devices directly, individually, or one at a time. Career advances will come to those who work themselves out of a job and then they assume a greater role. This has always been the case post-industrialisation, however, with a technology like 5G and the new pace of innovation, we are about to see this move faster than ever.