Christine Zdelar, Product Leader & Change Agent at Ding and Trinity College Dublin Alumna, together with Researcher Michelle MacMahon, Trinity Business School, explore how Millennials have adapted to the new way of work lockdown has imposed.
With Kind acknowledgements to Ian Dunne, TCD. Related research: Zdelar, C., & MacMahon, M. (2020). How Millennials Made Sense of Transactional Distancing to Maintain Work Performance: A Covid-19 Investigation. OB Division Research Plenary: COVID-19 and Organizational Behavior, Annual Academy of Management Meeting, Virtual, August 2020. Conference Paper. Keywords: Millennials, Lockdown, remote working, adaptability, working approach, change management.
Lockdown has changed the way millennials work, as recent research from Trinity Business School reveals how the pandemic has created a new state of working that makes the eventual return to the workplace and our old habits challenging for organisations. “While millennials are a tech savvy generation with a preference for communicating digitally, prolonged, remote work was a new experience. However, millennials applied three sense-making tactics – senses, socialization, enactment, and identity construction – to creatively re-author the situation for confronting ambiguity and adapting to their new, remote working environment.
To adapt means to discover
Indeed, this re-authoring process was found to mirror Lewin’s organisational change model that follows an “unfreeze, change, refreeze” pattern. As a result, millennials not only adjusted to social distancing measures but discovered new efficiencies for managing work performance that will be challenging to undo.
The creation of this new normal poses important implications for organizations as they consider eventually exiting an unprecedented era of social distancing,” says Christine Zdelar and Michelle MacMahon. Resumption should not mean ‘returning to work’ but continue ‘with’ amounts of time spent in the office. Alternatively, any disruption to this new normal will require organisations to carefully consider their change management strategies.
Given that millennials view technology as a functional necessity, not a modern convenience, perhaps we can learn a great deal from this category of worker and their ability to make sense of our new reality – a socially distanced world.
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