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Life over Work Life Balance – The new career objective of Millennials and Gen Z

While working for 40 years and retiring to a leisure filled life was the norm, millennials and Gen Z are choosing a different career trajectory.

The work landscape has changed significantly over the last few years, with millennials and Gen Z leading this transformation. Akin to every other aspect of their lives, this new workforce seeks something more meaningful and profound than a routine, structured work-life that leaves no room for personal growth or time to enjoy those simple yet defining family moments and milestones. The pandemic has further escalated this paradigm shift, redefining the concept of work as well as redesigning the execution of it.

We are suddenly more aware than ever of the impermanence of life and the importance of ‘now’. Work satisfaction is no longer one of the attributes that an employee or an entrepreneur seeks, but rather features at the top of the list. What these generations want is to be able to live a holistic life and have a more balanced life than just seek work-life balance.

Source: Scroll.in

The pandemic has made it possible for the corporate workforce to have flexible hours, remote working and Gen Z and Y want that to continue, while the trend was already in place since a few years. Mental and physical health is paramount along with personal growth which includes learning completely new skills, not limited to what their job requires, taking a hiatus to explore other options, taking up holistically living like yoga and spirituality as full-time careers.

With the aim to find meaning and purpose in their lives as a whole, these two generations are now evaluating work opportunities based on its contribution towards holistic wellbeing. Organizational brands that understand this and address the wellness needs of their employees will succeed in this emerging landscape of the future of work. Organizations which create infrastructure which makes it possible to work remotely, on hours the employees deem fit and design structures where inter-departmental learning, knowledge sharing and enable employees to explore different career fields in their professional lives will be hotspots for this new age workforce.

Millennials and Gen Z are not afraid to quit their current jobs where mental wellbeing is in disarray and opt for career options which although pay less but offers the chance to experience life more. They seek a balanced personal and professional life that adds meaning and a sense of fulfilment to their existence.

Success will not be measured in rupee alone, but also in the ability to experience the bliss of inner peace and every small joy that life has to offer.

A few instigations for brands in different categories:

Education – Brands in the EdTech and Education category should introduce courses which are complimentary to one’s job profile at the same time help the employee in his goal of overall well-being. Courses like yoga, meditation can be merged with other more corporate skills like public speaking, resume writing etc. and created as an integrated course.

Upcoming generation has to be introduced to other vocations like yoga, meditation, skiing, mountaineering as full-time careers and has to be groomed and educated in it. Homeschooling which is still at nascent stages in India will see an enormous growth and brands can leverage this trend.

This also impacts day care services. Day care service brands can start opening centers nearer to communities and start schooling at centers thereby taking the stress of schooling and disciplining the kids at home out of the parent’s hands. Education brands can start a socializing course/socializing platform for kids who are homeschooled.

Wellness: Wellness no more means taking care of one’s body after grinding for the first 40 years of life. It is completely redefined with Millennials and Gen Z wanting overall health and mental well-being with professional well-being subsumed in it.

Will consumers demand their professional career and responsibilities complementing and adding to their lifestyles like yoga, Ayurveda or veganism? Does that mean that well-being driven corporate retreats will be a major attraction? Does that mean that brands should start offering services and products according to the kind of industries and job roles people are working as?

A consumer working as an IT consultant can have the option to design his diet plans and services according to the responsibilities and demands of a particular job role. As and when his responsibilities changes, his diet changes and so does his exercise and lifestyle. Are brands geared for such disruptions?

Travel & Real Estate: We are already seeing a tremendous rise in the concept of ‘work from anywhere’ and people taking ‘workations’. Will consumers prefer Airbnbs and keep on moving every 6-8 months over renting a house for 2-3 years? Will consumers prefer travel destinations with work infrastructure – wifi and data connectivity, well connected cities over secluded places? Will renting and owning a property will become thing of the past and real estate projects will only include building work spaces and experiential homes? Will consumers start looking for concept homes – slow living community homes with farming/accessibility to trekking, homes which give them an opportunity to connect with nature?

Finance: Since the mindset of consumers is shifting from working hard to make money to need my money to work harder for me, BFSI can see the emergence of products and offerings which ensures faster yet secure growth of money, products which purely focus on wealth creation for retail investors with underlying assets tied to crypto/ real estate of other developing countries etc.

Entertainment: Since consumers will start spending more time with their family, friends etc, entertainment brands need to come up with experiences which involves all family members. There is a huge gap for family-inclusive digital games which involves participation from different family members of age groups

What we definitely know is that education, work, and wellness, travel and real estate will no longer exist in silos. The next few years will see these three areas disrupt, grow, and integrate more closely to create a more fluid and holistic new world.

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#TrendSpotted: The rise of collective consciousness – social media users becoming sensitive to the needs of strangers

It is no news that our social media timelines are flooding with friends, family, strangers spreading the messages of covid resources, sourcing Remdesivir, vials and ICU beds for patients they haven’t probably met or even heard of.

Social media has become a platform for crisis handling, not only for governments, but also for ordinary citizens like you and me. The mishandling of the pandemic by the central government of the country has led citizens to come together and join forces to fight the virus. A sense of collective consciousness is being seen in ways people are donating to fight covid, helping strangers in whatever way possible and urging others to do so.

Never before has the country seen such solidarity among its citizens on social media. People who would generally flaunt their lifestyle, academic accomplishments, personal accomplishments have taken a conscious step to not do so during the second wave of covid.

My LinkedIn timeline is filled with people looking for job and others commenting on it with leads. Instagram story line is filled with people asking for leads for a friend’s brother for ICU beds in Delhi, for vials for a stranger in Hyderabad, for food delivery services in Indore etc. Entrepreneurs on Twitter have collated pan India covid resources consisting of hospital beds, contact information of local authorities, food delivery services, Remdesivir leads etc. Employers on LinkedIn are helping affected employees and their families and have announced 4-day work week to cope with the mental and physical effects of the pandemic.

Social media which was the platform to announce, flaunt and rub one’s accomplishments and privileges, has turned into a community for help, for assistance and for empathy. People are consciously not posting about their good days on social media because of the fact that many are not lucky enough to even survive this year.

Re-rise of collectivism

Is our social media, then, turning into a collective community? Does this mean that whenever the state fails us, we users, will turn to each other for help? Could this alter the way urban users share things online? Does this mean that social media users are re-instigating collectivism?

Even after the pandemic subsides, users are going to be conscious about what they post. The collective consciousness will still prevail. Does this mean that our society is turning a bit selfless? Should brands then offer products and services which promote group loyalty and collectivism? Should brands focus on ‘we’ more rather than ‘I’?

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#TrendSpotted: Have-Nots becoming more vocal against the privilege of the ‘haves’

From billionaires adding numbers to their income to the privileged roaming and socializing without the worry of contacting the virus, the debate of Haves vs Have Nots has only risen amidst the announcement of second lockdown in various cities and towns.

While the debate always existed, it has now taken the turn towards the matter of life and death. The Haves have always had more of everything, but never has the discussion of the Haves having more access to life been in the limelight. If anything, until a few years ago, the Have-Nots aspired to be like the ‘Haves’. However, their discomfort with the system started becoming palpable. With the Modi Government coming into power, the Have-Nots started questioning the status-quo. This was further dialed up with the popularity Kangana Ranaut garnered by standing up to the industry-biggies.

However, the second wave of the Covid-19 Pandemic in India has started to verbalize and call out the ‘Haves’ for showing their privilege when others are distressed.

The screenshots represent the Have Nots facing acute shortage of medical and financial help when the privileged class sits in the comfort of its wealth.

The conversations and memes posted on social media are a clear shift in the chatter turning to the Have Nots raising the questions of equality, social justice and the widening economic gap. The under privileged are seriously questioning the social significance attached to the privileged class and to the respect attached to wealth, money, upward class mobility and the power that comes with it. The Haves are realizing that opulence of wealth and vanity is not the real power anymore, and that power, is up for grabs.

Does this mean that the culture of opulence, abundance and wealth creation might take a shift towards genuine societal care and charity? We think that the ‘Haves’ will now have to find a different way to enjoy their wealth in private and not flaunt their privilege. They would also have to find a different way to fulfill their status and self-esteem needs. Would this give rise to more exclusive apps like Clubhouse? Can brands create products for discreet consumption? Will the symbols of status – wealth, branded apparels and accessories, travel become more altruistic and represent charity, helping others and staying humble? Will brands start betting on conspicuous consumption and create offerings which symbolize more by having less?

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