In 2021 the topic of "weathered internet veterans" had a viral moment. Let's revisit the issue as discussions around implicit ageist language in job descriptions dissuade certain age groups from applying for jobs.
The hybrid workplace is the future of work. It's where you can find success, but only if you know how to navigate it. We'll talk about what makes Xennials different from their Gen X, Millennial, and Gen Z counterparts and how they can use those differences to thrive personally and benefit teams company-wide with hybrid work.
Understanding why the hybrid workplace is the future
A hybrid workplace often offers the opportunity to work from anywhere. Companies recognize that a traditional 9-to-5 office setting is not as effective or efficient as it once was. They're looking for new ways to encourage employee productivity and engagement.
Hybrid companies see advantages of productivity, retention, employee turnover, and employee happiness. The last point is significant as Indeed reported that 46% of employees have placed more of a priority on workplace happiness within the previous year.
A proper hybrid space is a place where you can offer employees the best of both worlds. Hybrid work allows you to increase employee productivity, hire the best talent, and better accommodate employees with disabilities – all while saving money on overhead costs by mixing a remote team with an in-office one and sharing resources like parking spaces, desks, and printers.
One of the main challenges of a hybrid model is that it can be difficult to manage and communicate remotely. Time differences, isolation, lack of communication, and in-person managerial bias all play a role in making remote work challenging. Xennials may be a critical piece in addressing these challenges.
What is a "Xennial"?
A millennial was born between 1981 and the mid-1990s, whereas a Xennial was born between 1977 and 1985. Made viral by Erica Dhawan in a blog, the term refers to "a special micro-generation from the early 1980s that is comfortable with both analog and digital forms of communication."
In this context, Xennials have spent formative years on both sides of the digital divide — they were the first generation to have access to personal computers as children. As such, they have become proficient in communicating via texting and social media like younger millennials and Generation Z'ers; however, they also retain proficiency with traditional methods of communication – such as phone calls or writing letters – that younger generations sometimes struggle with.
The unique perspective of Xennials
Xennials are a unique generation. Unlike the Millennials and Generation Z, who grew up with modern smart technology as an everyday part of their lives, Xennials had to learn how to use it as adults. This difference in experience has given them a unique skill set as well as the maturity to implement and influence it in the workplace.
Because they have a unique perspective on work and life, Xennials can help younger team members understand what's important — including how best practices need updating for today's workplace environment — and bring it to the forefront in hybrid workplaces. They can teach traditional communication skills including physical body language, office etiquette, and expectations for "professional" attire while still using technology when necessary — but only after understanding its purpose within your organization.
As we've seen, Xennials are a micro-generation with unique characteristics that make them uniquely suited for the hybrid workplace. They have a deep understanding of technology but also know how to navigate in-person social interactions. They are comfortable with change and adaptability but also value tradition and loyalty. Xennials have lived through enough significant shifts in their lifetimes to understand what it takes to succeed as teams work towards their goals.
The future of work is hybrid, flexible, and composed of mixed generations. With their unique life experience, Xennials are the micro-generation that can bring the two sides of the digital divide together and towards a better world of work.