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Gen Z vs Baby Boomers: Young People Less Likely to Be on Time for Work

Nearly half (47%) of Gen Z consider a 5-10 minute grace period acceptable before deeming someone late.

Gen Z

A recent study commissioned by Meeting Canary, a cloud-based AI tool designed to improve online meeting efficiency, paints a concerning picture. The research, conducted by Censuswide, found a generational clash playing out. The research highlights contrasting preferences between Baby Boomers and Gen Z regarding punctuality, etiquette, and overall meeting culture.

The concept of “on time” seems to hold different meanings for different generations. When asked about acceptable arrival times for meetings, a clear divide emerged:

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Baby Boomers: Tradition reigns supreme. A staggering 70% believe arriving any moment after the agreed-upon start time constitutes lateness.
Gen Z: A more relaxed approach prevails. Nearly half (47%) consider a 5-10 minute grace period acceptable before deeming someone late.

The study delves deeper, revealing additional points of friction in meeting Etiquette, where Baby Boomers find specific behaviors more disruptive: Disengaged participants with switched-off cameras annoy 54% of Baby Boomers compared to only 31% of Gen Z and talking on mute disrupts meetings for 63% of Baby Boomers, while only 50% of Gen Z find it bothersome.

The study also found that a staggering one-third of office workers surveyed have considered leaving or have already resigned from a job due to unproductive meetings. This number jumps even higher for Gen Z, with nearly half reporting these frustrations as a factor in their career decisions.

The study also highlights generational differences in what constitutes an unproductive meeting environment. While Gen Z workers find ignoring others (75%), interrupting (73%), and bias based on gender, sex or race (70%) the most bothersome behaviors, Baby Boomers prioritize efficiency, listing meetings running too long (84%), interrupting (79%), and arriving late (79%) as their top grievances.

Unproductive meetings are a significant factor in employee dissatisfaction and turnover, with 33% of workers considering or experiencing job changes due to this issue. Gen Z workers are particularly impacted, with almost half reporting meeting-related frustrations as a career influence. Generational differences exist in what behaviors derail meetings. Gen Z prioritizes respectful interactions while Baby Boomers emphasize time management.

Generation Z, often abbreviated as Gen Z, refers to the demographic cohort following Millennials and preceding Generation Alpha. There’s no universally agreed-upon birth year range, but most sources place it somewhere between the mid-to-late 1990s and the early 2010s. This means the oldest members of Gen Z are entering their late 20s, while the youngest are still teenagers.

Unlike Millennials who grew up with the rise of the internet, Gen Z has never known a world without it. They are comfortable with technology and adept at using social media, online communication platforms, and mobile devices.

Gen Z has come of age during a period marked by significant global events like the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Great Recession, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. These events have fostered a sense of social awareness, global citizenship, and a questioning of traditional authority figures.



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