Generational workplace behaviours, new processes and shifts in technology

A culture has now formed in the world that is obsessed with the delivery and speed of information and data.

This will continue to develop at rapid speed and we therefore need to address how this will continue to affect our industries and relationships. These patterns will develop and must be acknowledged and addressed. Mark Zuckerberg changed life for us. Generation X leaders and workers will dominate our workforce in the coming years and we must acknowledge how this will alter the way we currently interact and deal with business, as well as how we embrace shifts in technology? What is clear is that it is definitely in need of a fresh approach or we are at risk of making similar mistakes as our Baby Boomer counterparts. We are a generation who require a good balance of work/life culture, a workplace that glorifies collaboration, innovative entrepreneurship, and an expectation of full-time workplace enjoyment and flexibility. If we don’t get it – we want out. In short, we want to make a million dollars while working from a coffee shop, in trainers, with our friends and in on our own flexible time.


When considering the future needs of the workplace and our workplace culture we need to seriously take these things into consideration. To grow the right people and right mentality, and to keep those employees loyal it is absolutely necessary to ensure the above areas are addressed. I recently attended an innovation session where some of the audience were from varied backgrounds and generations. The approach toward collaborative processes, workplace changes and approaches to business were all quite varied and different. I extrapolated that this was due to the fact we all, not only were born from differing generations, but were also filtered through varying industries and business models. Those that follow these processes are part of a majority – my stance was different. I spoke of personalising approaches to collaboration, enhancing and promoting innovative solutions and encouraging younger industry professionals to discuss their thoughts and passion. I managed to convince a few about the idea of this ‘personalisation’ approach but it was only a discussion and one that didn’t go further on that evening.  



It leads onto the whole debate about changed culture and our industry when it comes to BIM. It’s not really all that difficult to imagine an industry that actually embraces change. Look at fashion, the automotive industry and even small design hubs. For whatever reason the traditional processes in building and construction are slower to progress and change. I have dealt with a huge variety of professionals across the industry, from C level to graduate. We can’t all work in offices like Google but we do need to ensure we have the right mix of ‘separate-togetherness’ or we run the risk of scaring young employees away from the profession. This is not a concern for Generation X leaders, we understand it, acknowledge it and ensure it occurs in our workplace lives.


In many ways we just need to get on with it! We need to be working through the process and understand that there may be shifts in workflow and technique on all levels as we are at such a pivotal stage in the development of these new processes in the UK. We should be encouraging changed approach in both technical abilities and theoretical implementation. We also need to ensure, and as I mentioned above, we focus on the concept of ‘personalisation’. This theory and approach I have found successful in training and management, as well as collaboration on projects and with teams, as it ensures the person remains aware of their set of responsibilities that are bespoke to them as an individual. It is also interesting to see how this filters through larger organisations. It must be pushed heavily from the top down for it to succeed. Strong leaders hire managing team members who vary in skills and personalities and who can ensure their incentive follows the message from the top.




The future needs of our industry are varied – this is clear. BIM is only one part of this developmental process and the industry is still in a state of flux when it comes to understanding the realistic nature of what level 2 BIM actually means. Ultimately it should be an understanding that technological changes will continue to evolve at rapid speed and what the Gen X leaders must do is ensure they embrace these changes, draw together those willing to learn and change, and then ultimately get ready for the next challenge that awaits them.