Sunday, August 23, 2009

X, Y, and Boom! I'm Glad I'm Virtual

A recent survey (Technology Gap Survey)published by LexisNexis, and conducted by WorldOne Research takes us into the fascinating world of generational differences in the use of technologies at work. A heavy majority of white collar and legal workers - of all ages - believe that the use of devices such as laptops, PDAs and mobile phones have made people more productive; but that is where consensus ends. Let me begin by defining the generations in the study:

Gen Y - aged 28 and under
Gen X - aged 29 - 43
Boomers - aged 44 - 60

Let's look at some of the findings:

Almost three times as many Gen Y workers (39%) report using gaming programs at work than Boomers (14%)

62% of Gen Y report accessing a social networking site from work versus only 14% of Boomers

While over two thirds (68%) of all Boomers agree that PDAs and mobile phones contribute to a decline in proper workplace etiquette, less than half of Gen Y workers do

While over two thirds of Boomer workers think the use of a laptop or PDA during in-person meetings is 'distracting' (68%), less than half (49%) of Gen Y workers think so

While almost half of Gen Y workers (47%) think it's acceptable to befriend a client on a social networking site, only 24% of Boomers do

Only 35% of of Boomers say they use music playing software at work versus 60% of Xers and 58% of Yers

Twice as many Gen Y workers use video playing programs at work (51%) compared to Boomers (25%)

There is no doubt that differences such as these lead to generational tensions and contribute to sub-par teamwork and productivity. What was surprising in the study was the fact that it was the younger generation who were most concerned that the unrestricted use of software, hardware and the Internet at work may be bad for their productivity:

32% of Boomers think the Internet can decrease workplace productivity, whereas 50% of Gen Y workers think this is the case, and

53% of Gen Yers agree that personal devices such as Blackberries and mobile phones encourage too much multitasking

I'm a Boomer, but these differences cause me very little tension - I work virtually! I've often said to colleagues, "It's a good job we don't work in the same location, we would have killed each other long ago!" I can see another bumper sticker - "Work virtually and achieve World Peace."

You can download the study at a very useful site called docstoc.

Click here!