The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Opinion | Gen Z is changing work culture for good

The stereotype that Gen Z is lazy is not only untrue, but ignores the necessary changes they are bringing to work culture.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Work culture is changing thanks to Generation Z. The misconceptions created by older generations should change too.

Older generations have labeled Gen Z as lazy, selfish, and uncaring. One reason older generations stereotype Gen Z as lazy is because of the notion that young people don’t want to work. This on its own is a myth and outrageously wrong. The priorities of Gen Z are just different than other generations.

These egregious stereotypes are born out of the fact that work culture is changing, but it’s for the better.

This low work ethic concept is mistaken because much of Gen Z doesn’t want to settle or aspire for traditional 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. office jobs. Older generations have their own set of norms of what work culture should look like, but what these older generations overlook is that just because a job isn’t central doesn’t mean it is not hard work.

According to Forbes Magazine, members of Gen Z are an “intensely entrepreneurial generation, with almost two-thirds, 62 percent, either having started or wanting to start their own businesses, according to data from WP Engine and the Center for Generational Kinetics.”

Gen Z prioritizes a work-life balance that has never been “business as usual” for other generations. What is misunderstood by older generations is that because Gen Z doesn’t want to work traditional 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. jobs, they just don’t want to work at all.

That is simply not true.

The New York Times interviewed Cali Williams Yost, the chief executive and founder of Flex Strategy Group, who said when younger workers talk about balance, they are saying they will work hard but also need a life.

“When younger workers talk about balance, what they are saying is, ‘I will work hard for you, but I also need a life,” Yost said in the interview. “Unfortunately, what leaders hear is, ‘I want to work less.’”

Remote or hybrid jobs are much more common than they used to be before the COVID-19 pandemic. These positions may seem less intense for other generations, but Gen Z works smarter, not harder, and that might be too difficult for some to fathom.

If you can get your job done at home, where you feel most comfortable, on your own time, while still having an outside life, why wouldn’t you?

Gen Z has been slandered for redefining what a job can look and be like, with business casual attire, remote workplaces, and even flexible schedules where they can make their own hours. The NYT argued that Gen Z is actually saving everyone from office life.

According to a NYT interview with Ana Recio, the executive vice president of global recruiting at Salesforce, Gen Z has “proven the model that you don’t need to be in the office nine to five to be effective. This generation is single-handedly paving the way for the entire workforce to do their jobs remotely and flexibly.”

Gen Z has watched previous generations struggle with work-life balance, time off, and being overworked. Demanding change may seem as if they are avoiding work, but surveys show older generations secretly want more flexibility, too.

There is nothing wrong with change, especially when this type of change is good for everyone. For way too long work has been people’s largest obsession. People spend so much time and energy, but it shouldn’t have to be that way.

Life is not about work, and flexibility in the workplace is the key to a healthy balance.


Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.


More to Discover