Most Millennials Would Quit A Job That Wouldn't Allow Them To Use Their Phones For Personal Tasks, New Study Finds
Millennials are multi-taskers. Since we're expected to be on-call 24/7 (thanks to the immediacy of text and email in our pockets), it stands to reason that we're going to make up some of our "personal time" in the office. This practice has been coined "shadow-tasking" and it seems like a natural consequence of 1) growing up mobile, and 2) entering the workforce during the economic trend of "22-22-22" (hiring 22-year olds to work 22-hour days for $22,000 a year).
A study conducted by MobileIron found that, among workers age 18-34:
- 26 percent of their work is done on smartphones or tablets
- 82 percent do at least one personal task a day on their smartphones during "work hours"
- 64 percent of them do at least one work task per day during "personal hours"
But the most important conclusion of these findings were that a whopping 60 percent of millennials said they would quit their jobs if their bosses banned them from completing personal tasks on their phones while at work.And older, hiring generations are predictably indignant about this. But think about it — imagine working grueling startup hours for appalling pay. Now imagine doing that without the ability to text your partner during work and figure out whose place you're sleeping at tonight. You know, on a day when you get out of work late, have an hour-long commute home, have to make yourself some dinner (because god knows you can't afford another Seamless delivery), and then have just shy of nine hours of "personal time" to decompress, sleep, and then wake up and do it all over again. Imagine working that job without the ability to check out and recharge with a quick Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram feed scroll. Imagine being at work and having a zillion tasks open, thus freezing up your browser and its ability to g-chat your boss a response to their question, and not being able to switch to your phone's Google Hangouts app to fire off a timely reply.
The study also found that 58 percent of millennials feel guilty about fielding these personal tasks on their phones during the work day, and 61 percent of them feel guilty for fielding work tasks during their personal time. That guilt is valid and it's coming from somewhere — the belief that we should constantly be doing more at work and more to cultivate our personal relationships, in an economic landscape that's making it nearly impossible for us to thrive. We're terrified of losing our jobs in an unsteady market leaving us unable to support ourselves (which we're barely doing to begin with), and we're terrified of losing our support system, which is among the few things keeping us together in the first place.
So maybe baby boomer bosses could quit the righteous indignation for a second and acknowledge that the fluidity between work time and personal time is a reality that keeps our lives manageable. Because they're certainly not going to let us off the hook for not answering their "urgent" 4:55 p.m. emails until 9:00 a.m. the next morning. And they can't have it both ways.