The In-office, 9-5 is antiquated: What the next generation of workers expect from employers

Young millennials and Gen Z-ers want to work in organizations that value them as individuals, not just cogs in the machine. Here’s why the in-office 9-5 is outdated—and why remote work is best for the next generation of workers, plus employers.

Dreya Armstrong
July 5, 2021

If you haven’t incorporated remote into the fabric of your company yet (or at the very least considered it), you’re living in the past. 

Millennials and Gen Z have long embraced work from home, flexible workdays, and work from anywhere. The remote work movement has been even more amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A lot of today’s talent have worked remote longer than they have been in office and those new to their careers only know remote.

Gen Z and millennials now make up 46% of the full-time U.S. workforce

This is a big deal, and companies need to pay close attention to this talent shift. 


The next generation wants to work differently. 

They want time for themselves, and they want to have time with their family too. The next generation wants to live to work and not work to live. 

Essentially, young millennials and Gen Z-ers want to work in organizations that value them as individuals, not just cogs in the machine. 

Bottom line? In-office work is on the way out.

Here’s why the in-office 9-5 is outdated—and why remote work is best for the next generation of workers, plus employers.

The younger generation expects remote work

In a Gallups remote work-study, these were the results of 9,000+ respondents:

  • 91% want to work remotely at least part-time
  • 37% want to work from home full-time
  • 9% want to go back to the office
  • 3 in 10 remote working employees say they are likely to seek another job if their company does away with remote work.

This study shows that remote work enthusiasts will lean toward organizations with flexible work terms.  

Recruiters and HR professionals agree, and they are voicing their thoughts to founders through anonymous surveys.

Here’s what 800 recruiters and HR professionals said in a Jobvite study:

  • Candidates are turning down interviews or job offers due to a lack of flexibility and remote work options
  • 57% of recruiters believe lack of work from home policies make it hard to attract top talent
  • 60% think organizations will lose employees if they do not transition to a remote-first culture

Kerry Gilliam, Vice President of Marketing at Jobvite, agrees, saying, "Right now, candidates and current employees alike want the opportunity to work on their own terms."

Young millennials and Gen-Zers are tired of moving from office to office.

They don’t want to hop on a bus and waste 90 minutes commuting to and from work. 

Why should they? 

The pandemic lockdowns proved that remote work made people efficient once companies supplied the support systems for boosting production pipelines. Plus, the gains of remote work are worth more than any perceived loss.

“Personally, any negatives that may exist from remote work are negligible to the massive amount of positives.” Game studios that refuse to be flexible will have to “see how much great talent they're missing out on by forcing people to uproot their lives completely.” Jordan Lemos, Senior Writer at Aspyr Media

Now, how do you ensure you don’t miss out on attracting the best talents as an employer? Grant location independence.

Location independence matters more to the younger generation

Working remote isn’t all about working from home.

Remote work means the next generation of talent has the liberty to work from where they want. 

It’s an upgrade to the quality of life for millions of young workers globally. 

Young people want the freedom to deliver projects while working from a cafe in Buenos Aires, a coworking space in London, a coffee shop at the corner, a museum, a public park, and so on. 

And frankly, they’ve gotten used to it.


As an employer, it’s about more than making your people happy. You can (and will) see multiple benefits when you adopt a remote work culture

For instance, you have the opportunity to hire and retain workers globally instead of restricting yourself to a small pool of local talent.

Summed up: you get to choose from the BEST talent available. Not just what’s available in your city. 

Remote work not only benefits employers in terms of capable hands; it protects what young millennials and Gen Z consider precious—their time.

Time preservation is key to the younger generation. 

Sadly, the in-office 9-5 doesn’t guarantee saved time. Daily commutes are a time-sucker, and young workers want to eliminate them. It’s part of the reason why 64% of young workers agree that they would leave a job if they don’t have the option to work remote.



But is this all the next generation of workers want; location independence and remote work? 

Of course not. 

Young millennials and Gen Z are tired of the outdated 8-hour workday model.

To be honest, so am I.

Rethinking the 9-5 (this isn’t the 19th century) 

It’s astonishing. Laptops overtook typewriters, petrol-driven cars are stepping aside for electric vehicles and driverless cars look to be the future of travel. 

Humanity has evolved in so many areas and yet… we’ve managed to cling to the arbitrary 9-5 workday for over a century.


Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, began the 40-hour workweek for his assembly line workers in 1926…1926! 

While this work structure appealed to employees at the time (they previously were working 100+ hours/week), I don’t think I need to remind you it's now 2021.



Young millennials and Gen-Z had to witness the burnout their parents faced under this model which also included delayed promotions and layoffs. All while their parents endured the tiring grind of going to the office for 30+ years of their lives.

Young workers don’t want an unbalanced lifestyle that leaves them with fat paychecks and zero spending time. They’ll instead demand a more balanced lifestyle.

The keyword here being, lifestyle.

In a Beqom study, 77% of American workers said they’d take a salary lower than the market average if they had flexibility in working hours. 

Flexible work hours are a win-win for both employers and employees of the next generation.


In a study from Oxford University, researchers found that happiness improved workers’ productivity by 13%. 

In other words, allowing your employers to work as a remote team will make them happy and lead to returns for your organization.

Corporations like Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google saw the effect of happy employees working on their terms during the pandemic via record profits. For instance, Amazon and Facebook had net profits of $21.33 billion and $11.2 billion respectively in 2020.

There are many other top brands embracing remote work. The physical and emotional well-being of workers has become top of mind for senior-level executives.  


They don’t want to be left empty-handed in the hiring race for top talent. 

Do you want to stand out? Give the next generation of workers what they want.

..And what they want is a lifestyle.

Examples of companies doing remote right (and how you can go wrong)

Aside from the corporations I mentioned who have adopted remote work, there are a few more we’d like to highlight that we believe are doing remote right.

Amex: American Express Co allows employees to work from anywhere for up to four weeks a year. With an employee size of 63,700, this is a big win for young workers who are adept fans of the WFH movement. The company is slowly shifting to a hybrid work model with onsite staff working for four to five days, hybrid model staffers working in-office for two days weekly, and a fully remote team working from home.

Amazon: Recently, Amazon, the global e-commerce giant, announced that they’d shift to a remote work model indefinitely. Know how many workers this decision positively affects? 60,000. That’s possibly 60,000 fewer cars on the road weekly. Young workers are environmentally conscious. Companies that go green are a top choice for them.

PWC: Like Amazon and Amex, Big Four firm PwC is toeing the path that young workers want. The company recently announced that it would allow approximately 40,000 U.S. employees to work remotely from anywhere in the continental U.S. According to the firm, this move enables staff members to respond to their needs in this changing work environment. It also allows them to continue putting flexibility and well-being at the center as they expand the pool of people they attract and recruit to achieve aggressive hiring goals and DEI aspirations. 

“This is wild. PwC is one of the biggest accounting firms on the planet. That's 40,000 employees given flexible work schedules. This isn't some tech startup. This is an American institution that isn't exactly known for being quick to respond to changing conditions. Fascinating stuff, friends.” - Matt Redler, Panther


The bottom line is, new talent knows they don’t need to be at the office to do meaningful work.

Companies that will win going forward need to understand and embrace this.

Remote work isn't just changing where we log into our work email; it has the potential to change how we want our tax dollars spent, and the steps cities take to attract residents.

Have open roles and need help legally hiring the best global talent? At Panther, we’re ready and eager to help with your remote hiring and onboarding needs. 

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