UK bosses are being warned to double-down on their support for young, entry-level employees after new research from Advanced reveals that 18-24 year olds are feeling isolated, overworked and underappreciated at work during the pandemic.
One in four say they have been stuck working in their bedroom while living at home or isolated in flat/house shares with strangers – a situation that is far from perfect. And there’s been little support from their managers. Just 37% of 18-24 year olds say their manager has introduced regular check-ins since working remotely over the last 12 months.
Nearly two-thirds (64%) also say they have been expected to perform urgent tasks outside of working hours – 10% higher than the average of all other age groups over 25. It suggests that some managers expect younger employees to put in extra unpaid hours, and that possibly a lack of experience, confidence, or job security makes it harder for them to refuse.
Alex Arundale, Chief People Officer at Advanced, says: “The pandemic has had a negative impact on all age groups, but it’s 18-24 year-olds who have been hit the hardest. Many young people may struggle with putting together the basics they need to work from home, such as an adequately-sized desk, or even just sufficient peace and quiet from noisy flatmates or other family members. This has made it incredibly difficult for them to separate work from personal life, which is clearly leading to feelings of isolation and cabin-fever.
“Bosses need to double-down on their support for younger employees – especially those who started their very first job during lockdown and have had no in-person onboarding or training. As a minimum, they need to maintain regular contact, offering support and guidance while also boosting confidence and encouraging self-determination. It’s also important that managers do not underestimate the value 18-24 year olds place on social interaction.”
According to the report, 44% of 18-24 year olds are really looking forward to returning to the workplace – compared to 19% for over 25s – and 60% admit social interaction is the main reason for wanting to return to the office. Similarly, 66% say they miss their workplace compared to 38% who miss their personal working space. While most don’t want to return to the office full-time, 54% want to spend half of their time in the office and half at home.
Alex adds: “The younger generation has missed out on a lot of the benefits of office-based working, such as watching more experienced colleagues tackle challenges and peer-to-peer mentoring. So, for those who do want to come into the office, leaders need to take the appropriate steps to make this happen safely. Create work-friendly spaces that will help younger employees to develop their networks and connections and make use of technology, like desk-booking apps, so they can sit near to team-mates, or mentors for appropriate day-to-day support.”
Other key findings:
- One in five 18-24 year olds say a lack of autonomy and trust from their manager is holding them back from being more productive at work
- Nearly half (46%) say their boss trusts them to work remotely and be just as productive – if not more – as if they were working in the office
- Just 4% feel engaged with their boss (compared to 14% of over 25s)
- 36% want to see their employer provide more communication around wellbeing and mental health
Read the full report here.