What Millennials Should Consider When It Comes To Job Security And Remote Work

Is the U.S. headed for a recession? Some think so, but there’s another massive economic threat that is getting little attention. It’s pointed right at America’s largest living generation (millennials), and worse, millennials are in favor of it. It’s the shift from an in-person workforce to remote. I believe this shift poses the greatest risk of job loss since the decline of U.S. manufacturing that started in the early 1980s.

First, let me say I’m not criticizing the shift from in-person work to remote. I’m simply outlining why I believe this shift is likely to cause job loss not seen since the U.S. shifted away from manufacturing. Second, yes, you read that right, today millennials are America’s largest living generation. That’s a scary thought, I know since I’m a millennial. I feel like I should be saying, “My name is Mike, and I’m a millennial …” but, like many of the ADD generation, I digress.

According to the firm Ladders, remote labor is expected to increase through 2023. Citrix’s 2021 survey shows more than 50% of millennials want to work entirely or mostly from home, while only 10% want to work full time from the office. The point is many millennials didn’t want to enter the workforce to begin with and they certainly don’t want to return to in-person work now that they’ve experienced the feeling of completing a workday in pajamas from their couch—or any of the other benefits that come with remote work.

The big question is, why do I believe remote work can lead to less job security? One word, relationships. Several years ago, I had an employee who wasn’t cutting it and needed to be let go. On paper this decision was easy, but in reality, it was extremely difficult. Why? Again, one word, relationship. Our families had become friends. Firing this person wasn’t getting rid of employee number 1234 but was hurting someone I cared about.

This led me to wonder if other employers had this issue. Over the next year or so, I shared this experience with other business owners and asked if they had had similar issues. To my surprise, this is quite common. We had all kept employees we shouldn’t have, at least temporarily, due to the relationship.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise though. Nearly a hundred years ago, Dale Carnegie famously said this in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. In it, he states people do business with those they know, like and trust. These are the foundations of a strong relationship and a framework for how a business should interact with its customers.

Unfortunately, most employees don’t realize they’re not working for an employer but rather are selling their time and expertise to the employer. For example, the employee is selling 2000 hours of his or her time annually at a rate commensurate with his or her expertise. Thus, the employer is the buyer (customer). If customers do business with those they know, like and trust, then employers will continue to buy time and expertise, at least temporarily, from those they know, like and trust. Simple.

I think it’s hard to argue that working remotely won’t weaken the relationship, but for the naysayers here’s a quick example to prove the point. In dating, I think most would agree that a long-distance relationship can work, but long-distance relationships are harder and less likely to work. Hence, remote employees have a relational deficit that they need to overcome.

There are various ways for remote employees to address this issue, but mainly it’s creating shared experiences.

In 2014, the Harvard Decision Science Laboratory broke individuals into four groups. Individuals in three of the groups were given the same mundane video to watch, while the individuals in the fourth group were given a different and interesting video. Those in the interesting group felt significantly more excluded. Despite experiencing a more interesting video, the fourth group felt excluded in part because their experience was not shared with the other groups who watched the less interesting video.

When I think back to that employee I had to let go, it was the shared experiences that made the decision harder. I thought about specific examples and moments that felt like they would be lost the moment the employee was no longer working at the company. In other words, shared experiences create stories that make you feel part of a group—you feel more included and less excluded. And losing that relationship threatens the feeling of inclusion, which is a basic human need.

How do you create more shared experiences? One, remote employees should figure out how to be in person at some regular interval. When in person, they should plan to engage both during work hours and after. I was once at a home office event for a financial firm we use. At the after-hours shindig, one employee shared how she was far more willing to help firms like ours who showed up to these events than the firms that didn’t. Said differently, the relationship made her more willing to put in extra work.

As a quick side note, job loss also occurs during a recession. As an advisor, I’ve always been curious how people who can’t save were able to get through a recession, with less income, while paying their bills. The most common answer I get is, “We just figured it out.” If you feel you may find yourself in a similar situation, look to reduce spending now. A good measure is a 10%-15% reduction in spending, which is typically equal to the cut in pay many experienced during a recession.

Bottom line, 30 years ago, America was blindsided by an employment shift. This decimated families’ economic health and took a shot at cities across the nation. Today, we may be on the verge of another employment shift. Thankfully, there’s a solution: relationships. People do business with those they know, like and trust.

– Originally published on Forbes.com


Use of the name and likeness of any candidate or officeholder is for the purpose of this PACs political communication only and IN NO WAY indicates any authorization by, affiliation with, direction from, or endorsement by that person of any kind.

Save Michigan Super PAC
c/o Bulldog Compliance
138 Conant Street Ste 202
Beverly, MA 01915