Published on July 28, 2015

5 questionable office habits of millennials

A whole generation of young professionals are swarming the labor force with unique ideals and work habits that define their generation. These “millennial” workers are notorious for their tech-savvy ways, their desire to be challenged by their job and for their love of a casual, social office environment. That being said, some of these millennial office traits can turn off employers. These bad work habits of millennials can easily be broken, or adapted, to make for a more agreeable, employable young professional.


habits of millennials


1) They text too much

Even though we know it’s not just millennials we see walking down the streets, eyes glued to their cell phones, the vast majority of textaholics out there are millennials. In addition to bad habits like texting while driving and texting during dinner, millennials are also texting during job interviews. In a study by Ultimate Software, 33% of millennials said it’s appropriate to text in an interview. And they're wrong. Texting during an interview, or really any meeting or formal professional gathering, is inappropriate and disrespectful to the rest of the people in the room. Show some self-control, turn your phone off and put it in your pocket or purse next time you go into a meeting – whether it be with a potential employer or a current one.


2) They’re demanding

According MTV’s “No Collar Workers” study, 81% of millennials think they should be allowed to make their own hours at work. The problem is that most offices don't quite work that way. Though choosing your own work hours is a great benefit of some jobs, it's not a guarantee. So learn to be grateful when you're given any work flexibility and realize that just because you want something at your job, it doesn't mean you'll get it. Employers don't want ungrateful people working for them.


habits of millennials


3) They’re casual

Unless you have the fortune of working from home or at a start-up, dress code probably prohibits jeans and other casual clothing. So even though 79% of millennials think they should be allowed to wear jeans to their office, the reality is you'll probably have to invest in some more professional office duds. The best way to know if you're dressing appropriately at work is to check with your human resources department to be clear on standards.


4) They show up late

Though there are work habits more important than being prompt, like producing quality work, being on time for work and meetings is very important despite what many millennials believe. The Ultimate Software study showed that 30% of millennials said it was acceptable to show up late to an interview. These millennials are sorely mistaken. An interview is your first impression to a potential employer. If you show up late to an interview, your employer will assume you will also arrive late to work and to meetings and it will hurt your chances of being considered for the job. So go buy a watch, set an alarm on your smartphone and don’t be late!


5) They want feedback

The constant need of millennials to be told what they are doing right and wrong can be exhausting for managers. 8 out of every 10 millennials want regular feedback from their boss, according MTV’s “No Collar Workers” study. This means millennials should learn to be patient with their employers and realize that they might not always get the feedback they desire. However, wanting to know how to improve your work isn’t a bad thing. Just make sure to have patience and wait for an appropriate time to ask about how you’re doing. A good thing to ask when you begin working for a company is, “When would be a good time in the future to receive some feedback on my work?” or “How do employee reviews work and how can I be sure I’m meeting my work goals?”



Sources: WSJ (Center for Generational Kinetics/Ultimate Software), Ultimate Software, MTV


Photo 1. based on Young, wired and living life on the digital edge -- meet the Millennials., by Erin Nekervis, CC-by-2.0

Photo 2. based on Millennials Jam Workshop: Youth and ICTs beyond 2015, by ITU Pictures, CC-by-2.0

The author
Elizabeth Trovall
After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her third year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.

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