Many of the comments about millennials describe them as if they are from another planet. Yet they are increasingly dominant as consumers and as executive talent.
Like the Boomers before them, millennials cannot be put into one box. The youngest are 18, while the eldest almost twice that age. Those are two separate generations, and you might even subdivide them further — the 18-year-olds are the first cohort to be born in this century.
There are many stereotypes, including one that prevails in certain political circles — that millennials are crybabies who insist on having safe zones.
How can you hope to win them as voters if you exhibit such scorn? And there’s a misperception that they’re all techies and that they live in big cities. Some have served in Iraq.
But let’s look at their email habits, as revealed in a recent survey by Adobe of 1,011 U.S. white-collar workers.
Millennials are more prone than older folks — those 35 and up — to check their personal messages at work. Some 22% of those ages 18-25 view them every hour, vs. 19% of older millennials and 12% of the 35+ demographics. However, the senior millennials are more likely to view them constantly.
That compulsion to check emails also pertains to work messages. Of the 18-25 group, 56% check their work emails every few hours when outside the office. In contrast, only 43% of the 18-35 group does so, versus 49% of those who are at least 35.
Meanwhile, 6% of the youngest constantly check their work emails, vs. 13% of older millennials and 8% of the Gen X-Baby Boomer group.
So you see, it’s hard to generalize. If there’s a takeaway, it’s that millennials are slightly more likely to mix their work and personal lives. But who hasn’t done that at some point?
Not that they spend a lot of time on it: Of the younger workers, 42% spend an hour or less on work email and 46% devote the same amount of time to personal emails. But 30% of the middle group — those ages 25-35 — spend an hour or less on work emails, and 45% of them fritter away time on personal emails. In both cases, the oldest workers are close to the youngest.
Who’s writing these reports, anyway? Probably millennials. It’s time to stop treating them as the Other.