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Managing a Multigenerational Workforce in a Perfect Work-from-Home Arrangement

Baby boomers, Gen X, Millennials, Gen Z—these days, no matter what age you are, people are perfectly happy to slot you neatly into a little generational box and call it a day. Is this right?

While differences in age and perspective can result in varying social values, no one is defined solely by what year they happened to be born.


That being said, in the workplace, managing a multigenerational workforce does come with its challenges.

Older generations can be quick to judge the younger, and vice versa, rushing to make assumptions before getting to know one another. How can this be overcome?

multigenerational workforce

The Benefits of a Multigenerational Workplace

We’ve painted a dire picture of multigenerational teams so far, but they’re not without their advantages!

While it’s true that tensions can occasionally crop up between people of different generations, when they work together, the entire team benefits.


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Some advantages of a multigenerational workplace include:


  • A wide diversity of viewpoints. Each member of the team will have their own perspective on a problem.
  • A range of skill sets. People of different ages have different experiences, meaning they bring a variety of skills to the table.
  • Breaking down barriers. When people work together towards a shared cause, they’re more likely to come together and sympathize with one another.


managing a multigenerational workforce


The Challenges of a Multigenerational Workforce

As much as these benefits are very compelling, the challenges involved in bringing together a multigenerational team cannot be dismissed.

In order for your workforce to come together and be productive, you must work hard to overcome such challenges.


A multigenerational workforce might experience the following difficulties:


  • Stereotypes and prejudice. “Young people are lazy and don’t want to work.” “Old people have out-of-date ideas.” You may have heard such sentiments from your own team.
  • Varying needs. People of different ages will need different kinds of support at work.
  • Miscommunication. You may find that your employees struggle to bridge the multigenerational language barrier between them.


How to Manage a Multigenerational Workforce

So, how do you overcome these challenges so that you can fully benefit from having a workforce of multiple generations? That’s exactly what this section of our article will address.

There are several steps that you can take to ensure that everyone on your team is respected, valued, and heard.


This not only will make their working experience a more pleasant one, but it will also benefit the company as a whole; when a person feels comfortable at work, they’re more inclined to share their special insights.

Read on for our top five tips for multigenerational management.


Foster an Environment of Respect

The first and most important step in this process is to establish an environment of respect.

This is something you should try to do when managing any workplace, but it is especially important to help combat multigenerational prejudice.


True respect is founded on understanding. Take the time to listen to your employees and listen to what motivates them, what they care about, and what their needs are.

Furthermore, encourage this type of compassionate behavior in your team members.


Consider holding teamwork exercises and informal hangouts to give your workers a chance to get to know and understand one another.


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Encourage a “Big Picture” Mindset

At the end of the day, no matter how different the members of your multigenerational workforce are, you’re all there for the same reasons.

You may have traveled different paths, and you may have different opinions and world views, but you’ve all come together to work towards one shared goal: the success of your company.


Remind your team members of this if and when any dissent arises among them. Encourage employees to focus on the big picture and to keep their eyes on the goals they all share.

For all their differences, they will face the same challenges together and will celebrate as a team when difficulties are overcome.


Emphasizing this will make it easier for your multigenerational workforce to bond and come together, even despite their differences. 


Highlight Your Workers’ Similarities

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, a person’s age isn’t all there is to them. Your employees probably have more in common than they realize!

All generations want:


  • To be respected.
  • To achieve success at work.
  • To be met with compassion.
  • To be valued for their efforts.
  • To be happy.


And that’s not where the similarities stop! Multigenerational employees may share hobbies, take part in the same sports, or share a similar taste in music or film.

To help your workers find these commonalities, consider running team-building exercises that will help your multigenerational workforce come together and find out more about one another.


Don’t Fall Prey to Stereotyping

Prejudice can be an easy trap to fall into; most of the time, we don’t even realize it’s there. But the truth is that the majority of people harbor prejudices of some kind, even if on a subconscious level. 

Then again, some people are very openly discriminatory. This can begin innocently enough, with a few stereotypical jokes here and there, but this behavior is insidious.


By normalizing prejudices and discrimination with light-hearted jibes based on stereotypes, you stand the risk of creating an unsafe work environment.

With that in mind, try to ensure your team is free of discrimination and prejudice, encouraging people to come and speak with you if they feel uncomfortable at work.

multigenerational workforce


Always Be Learning

Our final tip is simple: always be learning! When you exercise humility and show that you are open to learning new things and challenging your assumptions, your team will take their cue from you and do likewise. 

As we said before, compassion is based on understanding, and the only way to understand someone is to fully listen to what they have to say.


By demonstrating that you are ready and willing to put in the work required to bridge intergenerational gaps, you can inspire your employees to do the same.

To that end, keep an open mind, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to admit there are things you don’t know. 



Managing the Multigenerational Workplace Presents a Unique Challenge

As this article has shown, managing a multigenerational team certainly comes with its own unique set of difficulties.

If these can be overcome, however, then you and your employees all stand to gain so much from the experience.


Not only will your company flourish, but those under your wind will be given the chance to grow and thrive—not only as professionals but on an individual level, too.

But if intergenerational biases exist within your team, they may need your help to get to this point.


By following the advice set out in this article, we hope you’ll be able to see for yourself the benefits of having multi-generations in the workplace.

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