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The WFH generation gap

When it comes to remote work, older and younger bosses couldnt be further apart

NEW RESEARCH LOOKING at the role age and generation play on your approach and attitudes towards hybrid and remote work suggests a growing chasm between what younger and older managers are concerned about.

A study by Future Forum found that the top concern of the majority of older executives was coordination, followed by concerns about productivity. On the other side of the equation, younger executives have a far different set of priorities, putting a greater emphasis on the inequities created by work from home, as well as its impact on culture.

“It’s troubling,” said Brian Elliott, a Slack executive. “The risk we run is that the older generation of executives is missing the fact that their diversity and inclusion goals and their future of work plans are tied together.”

This is just the latest bit of evidence that young and old professionals are straying further and further away from the same page.

“As a family therapist might say, the debates showed the generations often ‘talk past each other,’” says Gillian Tett. She recently wrote of the topic being raised among executives at a dinner debate. “After one CEO asked a question about the merits of hybrid work, the conversation suddenly became highly emotive. A show of hands revealed most CEOs disliked the policy of remote working.”

Older executives in particular have stubbornly clung to the hope that younger workers’ enchantment with WFH will somehow be broken and they’ll all come flooding back into the office, whether by carrot or stick.

But with overwhelming support for remote work among millennials and gen Z, at this point it might be time to give up the pipe dream that the packed office of 2019 is coming back, and there’s no use angering a whole generation of employees along the way. Kieran Delamont


Ambition 2.0

Traditionally, workers have aspired to climb the corporate ladder  but the definition of success is evolving into something increasingly personal

ONE OF THE more profound (but harder to quantify) shifts to occur for many workers over the course of the pandemic is how it has shaped one’s ambition ― or how it’s prompted some to care less and less about their ambitions, period.

“This has been called the age of anti-ambition: over the past two and a half years, many people have taken stock ― of how they spend their time, where they find meaning, their hopes for the future ― and found work wanting,” writes Elle Hunt. “In just two years we’ve gone from celebrating ‘hustle culture’ to a backlash ensuing after Kim Kardashian dared to declare that ‘nobody wants to work these days.’”

For evidence of an anti-ambition trend, some will point to the numbers of people who have quit their jobs in search of less stressful, but less lucrative, career paths; or they’ll point to a recent Gallup poll showing only a third of workers in Canada feel engaged at their jobs; or to stats showing that young people increasingly feel that their own futures are being foreclosed upon, their ability to work hard and buy a home becoming more and more of a pipe dream.

“Not long ago,” writes Noreen Malone in the NY Times, “a young editor I follow on Instagram posted a response to a question someone posed to her: What’s your dream job? Her reply, a snappy internet-screwball comeback, was that she did not dream of labor.”

But rather than fight it, some see it as a chance to change things, to create a culture of work where having ambition doesn’t require as steep a sacrifice to your personal life. Ambition, to them, is not something an employee brings to a job all on their own, but something that is nurtured by a positive environment.

For many, that means a form of collective ambition: “Many young people with professional options want to be in solidarity with their colleagues instead of climbing the ladder above them,” writes Malone. “The meaning that they once found in work is now found in trying to make the workplace itself better.” Kieran Delamont

Navigating change: How to upskill your employees and help them develop their careers

Employees who pursue professional development in their careers tend to have higher productivity and job satisfaction. Which is why employers should create opportunities for employees to progress their careers ― whether internally or externally. 

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Are we done with influencers?

Is the era of the influencer over ― or just evolving?

IF YOU WERE an online content creator, the 2010s were a veritable gold rush. As social media platforms took over the internet they became commercialized, and as they became commercialized brands struck lucrative deals with the top users to promote just about every product or service under the sun.

Some, unsurprisingly, became insanely wealthy off the enterprise. But those who try to read the winds say we might be past peak influencer.

Emma Chamberlain, one of the internet’s more famous YouTube figures, has argued recently that with more and more people trying to become influencers, the shine has worn off and the game no longer works. And the stats are starting to back that up. More than a third of social media users report “unfollowing accounts due to too much promotional content.” In other words, too much influencing.

Or is the influencer economy simply migrating? Many marketing experts are more in this camp. TikTok is already the new home of influencers, not YouTube or Instagram, but expert Shannae Ingleton Smith predicts that more and more will start to move into Web3, metaverse-style projects ― though whether the marketing dollars will follow them remains an open question, as mass adoption of Web3 and the metaverse is far from a guarantee. “It’ll be a while before metaverse influencers become prevalent, but that’s where we’re heading,” Smith says.

What many agree on, though, is that the influencer game is changing, at the very least. No longer does it require a six-figure follower count. “Now, anyone with a phone and the ability to tell a story can be an influencer,” Smith says. “More and more, we’re seeing people with just 2,000 followers make $20,000 from working with five brands a month.” So, it’s still nice work, if you can get it. Kieran Delamont

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Round and round it goes

Ads on TV? What will the streaming services think of next?

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NETFLIX, THE COMMERCIAL-FREE, binge-watching streaming service that once promised they would never, ever put commercials on their platform, are reportedly planning on rolling out commercials on the platform.

According to a report in the New York Times, the streaming giant told its employees that it plans to roll out a lower-priced, ad-supported streaming tier by the end of the year ― likely trying to stem the mounting subscriber losses (1.2 million so far in 2022) as they get crowded in the streaming sector and as customers migrate to more affordable platforms.

Netflix isn’t alone: HBOMax recently launched an ad-supported tier, and Disney+ plans on launching one of its own later this year.

What does that say about the streaming model going forward? With so many players now in the space, it certainly suggests that Netflix no longer holds the dominant position it once did, but also that the streaming model itself (which now lives and dies largely on original content) is struggling.

Advertisers will be happy, with one ad exec saying their clients were spending around $200 million on streaming ads. And go figure: to advertisers’ chagrin, streaming services were often thought of as a viewer’s refuge from commercials ― but now they’ve got a foot in that door.

Customers, on the other hand, might not be so chuffed, especially if the ads that they get served end up being the annoying, cheap, often-way-too-loud kind that seem to dominate the digital ad-tech space ― or as one TV ad exec mused, “We’ve taken everything the internet taught us about how to make ads shittier and brought it to TV.”

If one thing’s for sure though, we’re into a new era of digital content models, with the once disruptive players now acting like the very thing they aimed to disrupt. What’s old is new again. Or as one film producer tweeted: “Gonna be amazing when it turns out the two best entertainment business models are theatrical movies and ad-supported television.” Kieran Delamont


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