Remote Work for Millennials

Digital natives, a term used to describe the millennials, who are tech-savvy and inherently know the digital world. As technology has evolved, so too have workplaces, with jobs available today that never existed a few years ago. Internet is critical to many businesses, as is the use of cellphones and social media. With changing workforces comes a change in workplaces. Now, offices are becoming mobile, or drastically altered, not only in how we work, but how we manage a work-life balance too. 

Given this, Dana Eitzen, Corporate & Marketing Communications Executive at Canon SA, notes “it’s interesting to consider why a recent look at the working preferences of office employees found that remote working seems less attractive to younger team members. Only one in ten 18-34 year olds said they’d want to work remotely, compared to nearly twice as many 45-54 year olds.”

Are millennials turning away from remote working? 

As offices become more dynamic and incorporate lifestyle elements, the office seems to be more attractive to the youth. Offices are a way for people to work in collaborative setting. “A longstanding LinkedIn study found that millennials overwhelmingly report that friendships in the workplace have a significant impact on boosting happiness (57 percent), motivation (50 percent) and productivity (39 percent) – compared to a significant lower percentage for Generation X,” says Eitze.

Another question regards whether technology is able to improve and out-do the office space. Relying on technology isn’t always the best thing to do, with it slowing down efficiency at times, as the benefits of closeness of working in an office is lost. 

Eitze explains: “Workers’ changing priorities and habits have already affected change in the workplace. The most forward-thinking offices are now less about desks and more about flexible breakout spaces, better quality of light and air, and central locations surrounded by amenities. Technology has already aided these advances, for example with the utilisation of digital archiving and the cloud removing the necessity for paper files and the space they take up. Environmental controls have become more streamlined and intuitive, able to react to both data from the atmosphere and human input. If these simple changes can affect the overall setup of the office in recent times, it is easy to assume that the technology of the office of the future could equally attract millennials to remain working in offices – if their high expectations of technology can continue to be met.”

“Despite the apparent reluctance currently, 38% of millennials believe that having the ability to work remotely would have an extremely positive impact. Both they and Generation X agree that it’s important that their organisation addresses remote working, with 79% of millennials and 73% of Gen X-ers indicating that view. It cannot be denied that the future clearly points towards flexible and remote working; the issue is simply that the technology must be there to support it. Wherever you’re working should not be a barrier to how effectively the work can be undertaken,” says Eitze.

Working remotely sparked a trend which has been coined “digital nomad.” One quick search on the internet will tell you that the ability to pack up, travel to Asia, work on your laptop for a few hours a day and reign in cash, is not what it once was. There are many freelancers today, and more sites which offered jobs have become a lot stricter about the number of freelancers they work with and which ones. Despite that, people are still travelling to Asia for work, predominantly in English teaching jobs. These positions offer millennials the opportunity to enjoy a gap year, while making a sufficient amount of money to bring home. What this does for their CV’s though, or how long they stay in these positions, is still to be determined for many. 

While remote work has its benefits, it isn’t easy. Sure, you wake up in bed and don’t technically have to move, but you’re also badgering people for opportunities and having to motivate yourself. Freelance positions lack the stability of traditional jobs, and one doesn’t’t consider the toll all of this can have at your mind and body. The youth may have more energy than their parents’ generation, enough to withstand these drawbacks, but it appears that even they are turning down remote work for the real-9-5-deal.

The Vanson Bourne study was commissioned by Canon Europe and looked specifically at the working habits and preferences of 2,500 office workers across the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden and Poland. 

The main finding translated as a stark split between ‘Generation X’ (aged over 45) and 18-24-year-old ‘millennials’ specifically. While 41% of millennials said they preferred to work in an open plan office, this figure was only 25% for those aged over 45. 

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About Canon Europe

Canon Europe is the EMEA strategic headquarters of Canon Inc., a global provider of imaging technologies and services. Canon Europe has operations in roughly 120 countries, with approximately 18,000 employees and contributes to around a quarter of Canon’s global revenues annually.

Founded in 1937, the desire to continuously innovate has kept Canon at the forefront of imaging excellence throughout its 80-year history and has commitments to invest in the right areas and capture growth opportunities. From cameras to commercial printers, and business consultancy to healthcare technologies, Canon enriches lives and businesses through imaging innovation.

Canon’s corporate philosophy is Kyosei – ‘living and working together for the common good’. In EMEA, Canon Europe pursues sustainable business growth, focusing on reducing its own environmental impact and supporting customers to reduce theirs using Canon’s products, solutions and services. 

Further information about Canon Europe is available at:

About Canon South Africa

Canon South Africa (Pty) Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canon Europe, came into being on January 4, 2000. Canon Europe is the regional sales and marketing operation for Canon Inc., represented in 120 countries and employing over 11,000 people across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Canon Europe invested in South Africa with a view to growing and expanding its market share in the country. 

In South Africa, the Canon brand is today synonymous with consistency, driven by the company’s passion, imagination, knowledge and importantly, loyalty to its customers. Canon SA offers a wide range of consumer imaging products and business solutions as well as a variety of large format printers.

Canon technologies are durable, innovative, intuitive, and feature smart and environmentally sustainable designs.  Canon invests heavily in R & D and will continue to deliver new and technologically advanced products that cater for a variety of requirements.

In South Africa Canon will continue to support environmental sustainability by operating responsibly, minimising the impact of its business on the environment and also encouraging a culture of environmental awareness and accountability amongst their staff, business associates and partners.  Canon has also maintained its ISO 14001 environmental accreditation since 2007.

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