Adobe: How Millennials, Gen X Cope With Productivity Challenges At Work, Home

Performance and productivity have influenced the way employees and consumers live and wok in the past six months. As they temporarily suspend in-person meetings, millennials seem to be feeling the brunt of the change when it comes to using video-conferencing tools, email, phone, text messages, file sharing, social media, and more. 

Younger generations are more likely to experience video-conferencing fatigue. Not surprisingly, face-to-face meetings are considered less appropriate and email, video conferencing, and the phone have become the go-to communication channels.

Perhaps younger generations have a more difficult time because they are most familiar with working in an office environment, according to 30-something Bridgette Darling, senior product marketing manager for Adobe Campaign.

Darling relates to the “primary” reasons cited in Adobe’s report released Wednesday for the drop in productivity levels. She points to background noise such as a lawnmower outside a window, as well as lacking the correct technology to do the job. “Most of us have worked through those challenges,” she said.

Adobe surveyed 1,000 participants in the U.S. to analyze the sentiment around brand communications and how people work, focusing on work and personal technology tools.

Research was conducted between May 27 and June 3, 2020. The survey classifies Millennials as those born between 1977 and 1995.

The data suggests that only about one-quarter of workers who usually work in an office are continuing to do so during COVID-19. In comparison, nearly all who usually work from home continue to do so.

Overall productivity has not changed much, with 45% saying they have experienced the same productivity levels. Some 23% with children at home say they have experienced less.

Those experiencing higher productivity levels cite factors such as flexible work hours, no commute, and fewer distractions. Those who said they have experienced less productivity cite too many distractions, not properly set up with the correct technology, and getting help from co-workers is much more difficult, despite 63% say they are just as accessible as before the pandemic.

When do workers check their work email and message apps? Some 53% said they will check work emails when they get to work, while 37% will check personal emails while getting ready or eating breakfast, 32% will check social media on a break at work, and 43% said they check work messaging apps when they get to work.

Millennials are the generation most likely to check their personal social media accounts while doing other activities. Some 64% said they check social media while watching TV or movies, 63% said while in bed, 38% cite while on the phone, and 48% while in the bathroom.

While millennials also are the most likely to check work emails while doing other things, however, Gen Z tops the list for personal emails.

Some 40% of millennials will check their work email while watching TV or a movie and 35% will check while in bed, 40% while on the phone, 26% while in the bathroom, 26% during a meal with others, 49% while in a work meeting, and 29% while in a video conversation.

Among millennials, the percentages are much higher for checking personal emails, but not as high as for Gen X. For example, 66% of millennials said they check their personal email while watching TV and movies, 67% while in bed, and 48% while in the bathroom. Those who check their personal emails while on the phone fell to 39%.

Gen X uses email most, whereas millennials use video conferencing, instant messaging, file sharing, social media, and enterprise networks like Slack or Yammer.

Gen X also topped the list for checking personal emails while watching TV and movies at 72%, followed by checking them while in bed at 49%, checking while in the bathroom at 33% and checking while on the phone at 32%.

The study found that 93% of consumers feel that most brand emails strike the correct tone with their COVID-19 pandemic-related messages -- one positive for brands as they struggle to find their footing with messaging in the midst of the pandemic.

Only 8% of the messages are inappropriate. Some 67% of consumers said they will engage with a brand's content when it is offering discounts, while 55% cited information on products and services such as delayed shipping; 26%, tips and tricks; and 26%, information about what the company does to protect employees and customers.

When it comes to engagement with B2B brands' content, 51% said they look for information on products and services, while 35% look for information on what brands are doing to protect customers and employees, 32% look for discounts, and 31% look for tips and tricks.

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