Here’s how social media is changing the workplace

Millennial employees are coming to expect technology and social media to play a larger role in workplace responsibilities.

social-workplaceToday’s younger employees are much more likely than their older counterparts to use social media for work purposes and feel that such social media skills are an important strength to bring to the workplace–a trend that is changing the look of the working environment.

More blurring of lines between personal and work lives and stronger views on technology are some of the other trends that may shape the workplace of the future, new research released by CompTIA, the IT industry association, suggests.

Managing the Multigenerational Workforce examines how generational changes are altering workforce dynamics.

“Like the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers that preceded them, Millennials have strong preferences and priorities on what they think the workplace should look like,” said Seth Robinson, senior director, technology analysis, CompTIA. “It will be interesting to see if these preferences become the norm as more millennials enter senior leadership positions; or if millennials change their views as they take on greater responsibilities to clients, communities, employees and shareholders.”

Social Media

Employees in their 20s and 30s are much more likely to use social media, such as Facebook, for work purposes – about three in 10 within each surveyed age group. By contrast, less than 20 percent of surveyed Baby Boomers use Facebook for work purposes and 25 percent of those surveyed do not use Facebook at all, for work or personal use.

The blurring of lines between work and personal lives–and the information being shared via social media channels–could be a cause for concern among businesses and acknowledged as a potential problem by employees. The majority of surveyed workers across all age groups (64 percent) believe that social media adversely impacts productivity at work.

“Organizations should seriously consider building a policy around social media to define proper behaviors and minimize the risk of sensitive data being shared,” Robinson said.

That may be tricky in the workplace of the future, however. Younger workers see a greater connection between social media and their work and said they feel their social media skills are an important element of the skill set they bring to their jobs.

Younger workers who’ve grown up in an era where flexibility is the norm expect that to extend to their work arrangements. Millennials want to work for companies that offer an option to telecommute, even if it means accepting a lower salary. Companies that don’t offer a telecommuting option are viewed as old fashioned.

Tech Status

Three-quarters of surveyed Millennials say a company’s technology usage is a factor in their employment decisions, compared to just more than half of Baby Boomers.

“The data also suggests that younger workers are more apt to feel that their employer is pushing the technology envelope, suggesting that they’re taking greater advantage of what’s being offered,” said Anna Matthai, manager, research and market intelligence, CompTIA. “As the world becomes more digital, businesses with the best technology will be in the best position to compete for and hire younger workers.”

When it comes to their comfort level and ability to use technology 70 percent of surveyed Millennials label themselves as “cutting edge” or “upper tier.” For surveyed Gen X workers, the corresponding figure is 55 percent, and for surveyed Baby Boomers, 30 percent.

Email remains the most prevalent form of workplace communications, but newer forms of communications such as Skype, text and instant messaging are claiming an increasingly bigger footprint, especially among workers under the age of 50.

When technology support issues arise in the workplace younger workers are more inclined to turn to instant messaging, video chat and the use of mobile apps for resolution. They’re also open to the use of social media for IT support related to maintenance, repair and troubleshooting of devices and applications.

CompTIA’s Managing the Multigenerational Workforce study is based on two separate online surveys – the first of 700 business professionals; the second, 1,010 teenagers and young adults between the ages of 13 and 24. Both surveys were conducted in September 2015. The complete report is available free of charge with simple registration at

Material from a press release was used in this report.

Laura Ascione