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The Gen X Factor: Stuck in the Middle or Best of Both Worlds?

​A new report explores the generational preferences of office employees and highlights the unique perspective provided by those classified as Generation X. The research and commentary, titled “The Gen X Factor: Stuck in the Middle or Best of Both Worlds?” compares the responses of 273 Transwestern team members classified as Baby Boomers (born 1946 – 1964), Gen Xers (born 1965 – 1980) and Millennials (born 1980 – 1998).

In nearly all cases, the responses of Gen Xers fall somewhere between Baby Boomers and Millennials, highlighting the unique blend of views this generation possesses – a mix of seasoned experience and savvy thinking that was the fortuitous byproduct of being sandwiched between two large generations.  

Although Millennials are now the largest segment of the U.S. labor force, companies that value workforce diversity benefit from a broader range of ideas and experiences. At the same time, while it is easy to create divisions between age groups, we found that there are just as many commonalities as differences between these three influential generations.

Some of the survey’s findings include the following:

  • Flexibility is highly valued by all generations, with only 11 percent of total respondents favoring mandatory “9 to 5” hours in the workplace. Across all groups, flex hours – characterized by an alternative, yet defined schedule – is preferred over no set hours, with Generation X voicing the strongest preference for this type of flexibility.
     
  • All generations agree that there is a high correlation between work environment and productivity. When it comes to the amenities that contribute to a comfortable environment, privacy and abundant light ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, for every group of respondents. 
     
  • Open offices, or “hoteling,” was viewed most favorably by Millennials, while private offices received the most votes from Baby Boomers. However, in total and by generation, respondents overwhelmingly prefer a mix of private and open office space. 
     
  • The preference for downtown living more than tripled between Baby Boomers and Millennials, at 19 percent and 64 percent, respectively.
     
  • The importance of social media to professional life is inversely related to age: only 4 percent of Baby Boomers feel that social media is very important, compared to 7 percent of Gen Xers and 20 percent of Millennials. 
     
  • Of the Generation X respondents, 56 percent reported that they identify more strongly with Baby Boomers, and 44 percent reported that they identify more strongly with Millennials. This gives Gen Xers, as a whole, a broad perspective of the wants and needs of today’s workforce.

Because of their age and experience, Gen Xers are often a natural fit for leadership positions. This group is equipped to bring proven skills and thoughtful creativity that enables all generations to make valuable contributions and positions the organization to excel.

Read the full report here.

 


 

New Jersey Research Director Matt Dolly led the research efforts for "The Gen X Factor" report. Matthew delivers commercial real estate and economic trends, analysis and reports to team members, clients and prospects. He also collaborates with marketing teams and sales professionals to retain clients and secure new business through new pitches, RFPs and presentations.

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