Is the millennial mindset the path to achieving the perfect work-life balance?
In a nutshell, the ‘millennial mindset’ can be defined as a desire to break free from corporate tradition — a move against the 9 to 5 in favour of a freer working environment. Flexible working hours, flat hierarchies, and reverse mentoring are just a few examples of how millennials approach their work. And this growing attitude in the British workforce can present exciting opportunities for business owners, or potential challenges should they fail to adapt.The question is, however, can this attitude hold the key to achieving the perfect work-life balance for the business owners themselves?
Time is of the essence
It’s very easy to say that you have a millennial mindset. But actually employing that attitude is another matter entirely. Why? Because it’s not a black and white concept. You can’t just ‘decide’ to have a millennial mindset. Monday to Friday working patterns in the UK, for example, don’t seem to be changing any time soon.
Yet, working eight hours a day, five days a week is a dated concept for millennials. The reason behind this is that they see the working patterns of their parents as a mistake. The stress that came with high responsibility roles, the rising demands, and stagnant salaries is just a little backwards — it can be a suffocating environment. Harriet Minter, The Guardian’s Women in Leadership editor, recently broached this area on our blog.
As a business owner, you can work whatever hours you like; you can implement the wonderful idea of the four day work week. But, to give your business its best chance to succeed, surely you’ll be working every hour God sends, right? And, surely you’ll want to instill that same hard working grit into your workforce to help along the way? Four day working weeks in a startup just don’t seem feasible — no matter how many hours you work.
That’s really not so much of a bad thing though (for one, if you’re working that hard then it shows you have passion for your business, so good on you). It actually comes down to time management. How we utilise time, as business owners, managers, or, to be honest, pretty much everyone in employment, can be an integral component of achieving a satisfactory work-life balance. Millennials thrive in flexible working conditions: from setting their own deadlines to taking the initiative on a creative campaign. These ‘goals’ reflect drastic change when compared to, for example, the baby-boomers. They championed money and career progressions above all else, whereas millennials favour the opportunity to be creative. And that’s the paradigm shift right there: the value of money.
Redefining your goals
Arguably, the one thing that’s on every business owner’s mind when they start up is money, and whether their business is going to make them any — a fair enough thought process. But if you adopt a millennial mindset in the hope of a more balanced life, then those monetary goals should become less of a priority. Well, of course they’re still incredibly important, you want you business to grow after all, but they don’t have to be the be all and end all. Embrace that notion, and you’re halfway to getting that work-life balance just right.
To help you with this, set yourself personal goals that tie into your business goals. These can be anything from learning a new skill, such as understanding the basics of managing your business assets, or successfully hiring your first employee. Millennials value life-experience and self-improvement above money — a healthy mindset of what it means to be ‘successful’ in the times we live in. Should you be constantly thinking about money and profit, you’ll never leave the office until you get it. That’s not a bad thing at all though, if that’s what you enjoy then crack on and work your socks off until 3am. But the irony is, is that by improving your self-skills first, you will likely find that your business will flourish as a result. This is perhaps the most fundamental part of millennial business thinking — improving yourself and others first will improve your company.
Developing on that way of thinking leads us nicely onto perhaps the greatest strength that can lay within a millennial company. And that is the complete disregard of traditional methods of management. There is absolutely no place for racial or gender segregation in a millennials mind, and the concepts of flat hierarchies and reverse mentoring play prominent roles in how the business is run. Valuing all staff equally, and you giving them the tools to fulfill their potential will allow every person, no matter what generation they’re from, to flourish and to express themselves — removing any restrictive shackles of the ‘corporate suit’ mentality your employees, and yourself, might currently have.
The millennial mindset, therefore, can present many opportunities to you as a business owner. And the reason why you might want to consider implementing its business values, is the benefit it can have on your work-life balance: it can simply make running your business the pleasure it was supposed to be.
For all the latest thoughts and views here at The Formations Company, keep reading our blog.
Published Tuesday April 19, 2016