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

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As technology advances, the way we work also changes. These days, you no longer have to contain yourself in a cubicle to perform. That’s because you can choose to work anywhere, as long as you have a stable internet connection.

However, having a remote work setup is easier than doing when you have a multigenerational workforce. Your millennial and Gen Z employees can adapt to these changes. But what about the older generation?

How can you manage your employees from multiple generations in a work-from-home setup? Keep on reading to find out.

What is a Multigenerational Workforce?

In a nutshell, a multigenerational workforce is made up of employees from different generations. This includes the following:

  • Traditionalists
  • Baby boomers
  • Generation X
  • Millennials
  • Generation Z

Nowadays, we see an increasing number of companies employing people from five generations. That’s why knowing how to manage a multigenerational workforce is crucial.

We need to know what challenges of managing a multigenerational workforce we should overcome for that to happen.

Challenges of Managing a Multigenerational Workforce

With different preferences and perspectives, it can be challenging to create a culture that empowers all employees. And we are not even talking about generational differences here. 

That said, it is crucial to identify what challenges you will often face when managing multiple generations. Here are the three most common problems that are often faced by multigenerational teams:

  • Discrimination and stereotypes
  • Shifting needs
  • Miscommunication

Identifying these challenges can help you know how you can surpass them. As a result, you can reap the benefits of having a multigenerational workforce. This includes a diversity of skill sets, experience, and perspectives. 

However, keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to these workplace complexities. It all boils down to understanding what each generation needs and what they expect from each other to stay motivated to work.

The Challenge of Leading Remote Teams

Hybrid working and working from home aren’t temporary, as they are already becoming a paradigm shift. Still, many managers have little to no experience managing remote teams, except for those working on global teams. 

The message here is that managing a remote team is more challenging, but it can also be fantastic news for managers. If you can manage a remote team successfully, then you can run any team. 

Running a remote team means that you’re more purposeful and deliberate with your management practice. The work-from-home setup is a chance for managers to raise their game. 

How to Successfully Manage a Remote Multigenerational Team

At this point, you now know what a multigenerational workforce is and the challenges of managing one. That said, we’re sharing with you 11 practical tips for managing a multigenerational workforce:

Know the generational differences and similarities

Everyone wants to feel valued and respected, take on challenges and exciting work, and learn and share knowledge. However, because of the various social and environmental influences in their formative years, there are variations that multiple generations expect and how they operate. This renders working from home challenging among employers and employees.

In terms of communication, for instance, millennials prefer email over the phone. They also find it uncomfortable to have a face-to-face dialogue with their seniors. 

Work-life balance is also different in generations. While it is essential for everyone, it’s much more important for millennials who dislike working long hours. 

Set goals and expectations

Setting clear goals and expectations gives your team a sense of direction. It ensures that everyone is on the same page, regardless of whether they are traditionalists or Gen Zs. That’s because everyone knows what you expect from them.

It also helps you determine where you’re moving towards your company’s vision. So make sure that the goals you’ve created for yourself are well-defined, well-measured, and achievable. 

Apart from that, every team member should also know what their responsibilities are. This includes what key performance indicators you will use to measure their performance. 

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Here are a few tips that you need to keep in mind:

Hold a staff meeting

This is to share information, updates, mitigate drifts, and collaborate with your team towards a common goal. 

Set clear boundaries

Most employees tend to work longer hours at home than they would if they came to the office. However, work included in a personal setting, like your home, intrudes your personal space. So, make sure to have set working hours and stick to them.

Set clear, measurable goals for your team to track

It’s even better that these goals are shared in a highly collaborative virtual space. That way, you don’t have to wait until your next staff meeting to check how your team is doing with the deliverables and projects they’re working on. This also fosters a spirit of collaboration in the workplace, as well as accountability and transparency. 

Create an easily indexed information hub

By doing so, you and your team don’t have to waste time looking for files, information, and so on. Suppose you have a shared drive, a repository for all information, and a way for trending news to be accessible to your team. That way, your team will be in the loop about updates, feel better connected, prepared, not to mention more productive. 

Encourage peer-to-peer feedback

Train your team on giving constructive feedback. Set precedence that this is expected and appreciated to help each other grow. Moreover, acknowledging positive contributions should be a regular thing in your company. 

Share wins and accomplishments

Everyone, including your managers and supervisors, is encouraged to participate. Historically, leaders have been less than transparent, and there are plenty of workplace myths that managers didn’t do or did not do. Instead, leaders should be open to your wins, share the spirit of authenticity, and model good behaviors to their team. 

Be organized and flexible

The key to managing remote teams is to allow them to have flexible working hours. That way, they can work when they feel most productive.

However, we encourage you to have a common work hour. This is the time in the day when everyone is online.

Another way to effectively manage your employees from multiple generations is to stay organized.

According to Maid Sailors NYC office cleaning, one of the best ways to do that is to keep your workspace clean. Think of it as starting and ending the day on a clean slate. Doing so ensures that you are free from distractions and stay productive.

Maintain workplace practices

Working from home doesn’t mean certain workplace practices should stop. To boost productivity and get into the right headspace for work, companies need to help employees plan out their day. 

It means encouraging them through morning check-ins or in a quick huddle at the end of the day. This keeps employees in the right mindset to gradually get accustomed to the idea of working from home. 

It’s also vital to schedule breaks in between work schedules, like the usual one-hour lunch break or a 15-minute break on afternoons. Integrating these practices will make it easier for employees to transition from their work lives to personal lives. 

Adopt remote communication practices

To establish effective remote team communication, you need to know how tech-savvy your employees are. Some traditionalists and baby boomers can keep up with technology, but some are even afraid to click a mouse.

As such, you can conduct a survey, asking them what their preferred mode of communication is.

Another option is to schedule a learning session. This is where you will teach everyone in the company how to use your preferred communication tool. You can even print out a manual about using a specific tool and give it to those who like to have a hard copy.

Allow digitally native generations to lead the way

The more we do a thing, the better we become. Older professionals who have less exposure to virtual interactions need to be trained. 

Millennials and Gen Zs can assist them with setting up technology, troubleshooting, and weekly virtual check-ins. While companies tend to hire older employees to serve as mentors, you can also flip the norm regarding remote work training. 

Schedule daily check-ins

For managers and teams that are relatively new to remote working, scheduling daily check-ins are essential.

While email, phone, and texts might have worked before, successful managers in their remote leadership efforts are focusing on the use of video conferencing. This is to create a face-to-face interaction that is now lacking these days. 

Show up online

Multigenerational teams have varying degrees of comfort when it comes to showing up online. Fortunately, there are a couple of best practices that one needs to keep in mind. 

But without a firm grasp on what “showing up” is or looks like, team members may turn into a window of zombies’ faces with little to no interaction. 

Listed below are quick tips on how to engage your team and foster a sense of community in a virtual environment: 

  • Don’t just sit there
  • Modulate the tone of voice
  • Using facial expression
  • Being aware of the background
  • Being aware of camera angles
  • Looking the part

Impose discipline in a digital environment

With the rise of calls for social justice and digital advocacy, don’t be surprised to see your employees sharing their thoughts and opinions. Nonetheless, some online opinions can reflect your company. Hence, you should impose discipline in a digital environment.

Know when and where to give your employees free rein to express themselves. Telling them not to post about their political opinion on Facebook, for example, is like invading their privacy. However, telling them not to post about your business competitors can be justifiable.

The best way to navigate this is to let your employees know your core values and the things your company stands for. Also, you must explain to them why they cannot post some stuff on social media.

In addition, you should guide your multigenerational workforce on where, when, and how to escalate a piece of information. Some workplace issues are best-discussed one-to-one, while some will require insights from other people.

Create a unified front

Just because you’re working remotely doesn’t mean everyone has different concerns. It doesn’t mean your workplace can be divided. 

That’s why you need to unify your workforce for all generations. Ensure that every department has a good mix of multiple generations. Another is to host activities that will compel everyone to socialize, regardless of their age.

Encourage cross-generational mentoring

In relation to the previous point, cross-generational mentoring is an excellent activity that encourages workplace socialization. It also enables you to leverage the strengths of different generations. 

We all know that millennials are more tech-savvy than baby boomers. This generation has the innate ability to help colleagues who are less proficient in technology. Simply because they’re more comfortable and knowledgeable using it. 

Meanwhile, seasoned workers already have years of experience and process-related knowledge. This can come in handy when sharing knowledge with the new hires or younger generations.

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Final Thoughts

Managing a multigenerational workforce is not easy, especially if you are in a work-from-home setup. However, it is something that you can do if you know what challenges you should overcome.

As such, you should identify the generational gaps within your company and find ways to bridge them. With the help of NASP’s Coaches Corner, you will be guided on training your team with its high-level sales coaching information and answers.

About the author

Robert is a freelance writer based in a NYC. When not writing for clients, he is busy consuming content on how to make home cleaning and organization easy and simple.