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Boomers Successfully Adapting to Working From Home

Study finds their younger colleagues finding it more of a challenge

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Most employees who've had to switch to working at home say they are having some difficulty with it, but it seems that boomers are making a smoother adjustment than their younger colleagues.

In a recent survey of just over 1,000 office workers, 7 out of 10 boomers reported difficulties working from home, but more than 9 out of 10 millennials and Gen Zers reported struggles.

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Half of boomers who've switched to working remotely feel less informed about what's going on inside their company, 39 percent are having a harder time getting status updates on projects, and 36 percent have found that communicating with colleagues is more difficult now. Further, one-third think it is more of a challenge to collect information they need for their work, according to the survey, commissioned by Smartsheet, an online enterprise platform.

But even larger percentages of younger workers are struggling. For example, while 26 percent of boomers consider video calls on Zoom or Skype too time-consuming, more than twice as many younger workers (61 percent of Gen Zers and 57 percent of millennials) find that those sessions detract from productivity.

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Kara Hamilton, Smartsheet's chief people and culture officer, said younger workers may be struggling more in part because, unlike boomers, the economic downturn triggered by the pandemic may be the first that they've experienced in their careers.

"Even though they may be more proficient with different technologies, the stress and uncertainty might be impacting their work in greater ways,” she said.

Brie Reynolds, career development manager and career coach at remote-job marketplace Flexjobs, theorizes that younger people may be less comfortable with video calls because they're accustomed to texting.

"Boomers are used to face-to-face conversations, so they prefer video calls and are happy to do them,” Reynolds said.

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