By Max Clarke

Despite reports suggesting working from home boosts productivity, employee retention and job satisfaction, young workers prefer to work at the office to ‘see and be seen’.

This is according to a study of 19 blue-chip companies, including Barclays, Microsoft, Tesco and Pfizer, commissioned by Advanced Workplace Associates in an attempt to assess differences between the generations.

“Generation Y is more ‘tech-savvy’ than older generations and they live their lives on smart-phones and networking on Facebook,” says Andrew Mawson, AWA managing director. “Large organisations that deprive this group of social networking tools deprive them of a key tool for success. We predict that large companies will soon have to develop their own equivalent social sites within their own firewalls in order to recruit and maximise the value of these energetic intelligent new members of the workforce.

“But the main surprise is that a daily presence in the office is more important for less experienced, younger staff. For this group, learning the ropes, making contacts and gaining recognition are more important. As people become more established and have proven their abilities, they are more likely to support working flexibly or remotely as part of their working pattern.”

The research, among organisations that account for almost 2 million employees, found that there was little else to distinguish the younger age-groups from the older and little or no friction between the groups.

The study also considered the effect of this on attendance at the office in city centres versus smaller towns and out-of-town business parks.

“Our observation is that on Fridays, offices in business parks are half-empty: employees have opted to work where they want to start their weekends,” says Mawson. “There is not much lunchtime or after-work socialising out-of-town. In central London, Birmingham, Edinburgh and other cities, the networkers and party animals are in place for the Friday evening buzz. That Friday feeling means busy bars, and no cars.”


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