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Millennials Are Changing the Workplace—and Everyone Is Better Off for It

From social media to new dress codes, millennials are redefining what it means to work in an office.

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Millennials want to know what’s going on, who’s talking to whom, and feel the need to know everything else that’s going on in the office, shares Ann Shoket, author of The Big Life and former editor-in-chief of Seventeen. There’s no wall up between the big boss and the lower down employees. “Millennials think that transparency, being your full self, and sharing ideas and having an open flow of ideas is the way work should work,” Shoket shares. “We would see it as oversharing, but they don’t understand why their bosses are being so secretive.”

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There’s no such thing as TMI (too much information)

Not only do millennials want to know everything that’s going on, they also want to share everything that’s going on with them on social media—and in the office. “If you’re managing millennial employees, bring them in to the conversation and include them in the decision-making process,” says Shoket. “Plus, recognize that there is room at work for their personal life.”

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Freedom from the office

There’s a reason you keep seeing communal work spaces popping up all over the place, such as WeWork. Shoket says that millennials want to work where they want, when they want, and how they want, which means freedom from the office and a cubicle. “Millennial women are allies for all woman who struggle with how they’ll deal with the demands of their family versus their job,” shares Shoket.

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Forget competition, millennials are all about collaboration, says Shoket. “There’s not only room for one woman at the table,” Shoket says. “They see sisterhood and support in their peers, but it’s not to say they’re not competitive. They still want to achieve at the highest level, but they value the bonds between them.” Even with collaboration, there can still be an honest flow of ideas. Here’s how successful people offer constructive criticism.

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FOMO (fear of missing out) is real

Fear of missing out is really driving so much of what we might think feels like disloyalty,” explains Shoket. Millennials grew up during the recession, which means they want to take their future into their own hands, move around, take control of their own financial destiny and often, that means bouncing around from job to job. ” They’re driven by social media where you are constantly seeing friends who have bigger better jobs, better vacations, and falling in love,” Shoket says, “If they’re not moving up, they feel they’re falling behind.”

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Access and freedom are the new status symbols

“The Manolo has been replaced by the MacBook Air,” says Shoket. In other words, no one cares what shoes you have on. They’re more impressed that you can pick and work from anywhere, nothing tying you down. For millennials, the humble brag on Instagram is more impressive than any expensive handbag slung over your shoulder.

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Everybody needs a side hustle

“Your job is meant to pay your bills, but your side hustle pays you in self-respect,” Shoket says. A side hustle, from volunteering in your community, being involved in charity work, or even taking charge of your child’s PTA, should be something that is impactful and should fulfill you in a way your job doesn’t. “Your side hustle helps fill in the blanks of what’s missing in your job,” shares Shoket.

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A new work-life balance

Millennials don’t see their lives as fitting into neat compartments, like a bento box. “It’s all work all the time and all life all the time, so you want your work to feel like actual living,” she says, “You might start your day with a spin class, but will be checking your emails before and after. You might leave work early if you have to pick up your kids but you’ll be back online once they go to bed and pick up where you left off.”

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The job does not define you

According to Shoket, millennials don’t see their job as who they are. “This job is about building my brand and experience, but on the other hand, the job is not me,” she says, “I am not defined by this one particular job, but its helping me move forward and giving me great experience.”

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A life on your own terms

Millennials are looking to create their own destiny. “When the jobs weren’t there, millennials had to launch their own businesses, find something on the side, and rewrite their own rules so they weren’t left behind,” says Shoket. And now that’s the way they want to live and work.

Felissa Benjamin Allard
Felissa Allard has worked at The New York Daily News, Health, Life & Style, and more. As a freelancer, she has had pieces published on What To Expect, SELF, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Modern Mom, Working Mother, and more. Her specialities are beauty, fashion, health, wellness, and parenting.