New research from Milkround, the UK’s leading graduate careers website, reveals that video conferencing has surpassed email as the most widely used form of business communication during lockdown. Younger workers are taking advantage of their tech savvy status as 60% are proving more productive in isolation, more-so than the average UK worker. 70% are also taking to Zoom and other video platforms to interview for new jobs.
The tech takeover of COVID-19
The importance of human interaction in business has never been a more focal point of discussion than during the current lockdown period. Businesses have been leaning on video conferencing tools in order to maintain visible relationships between colleagues and clients.
Zoom usage, specifically, has spiked by 34% from the onset of lockdown and 69% of UK workers are also utilising Skype. Employees are also taking to traditional ‘social’ platforms for business needs with 83% using WhatsApp for work and 66% using Facetime. In fact, the only comms platform that has reduced in use is email, which does not feature a face-to-face interactive function.
A lifetime of tech use has prepared younger workers for lockdown
Despite nearly half of all UK workers relying on video conferencing to carry out their roles, 52% struggled with the platforms initially – decreasing to 31% for the 18-22year olds. 35% of UK workers needed to ask for help before settling into a rhythm and nearly a quarter (24%) are still struggling with these platforms.
Whilst digital communication has increased by 22% for the average UK worker (and 78% for Boomers), it has only spiked by 11% for Gen Z; showing no change from their pervasive use of video platforms long before lockdown.
69% of UK workers agree that the younger members of their team are better adapted to this period of lockdown where digital communication is imperative, and 60% recognise that younger members of their team often help older colleagues with their tech queries.
Keeping productive while working remotely is a young person’s game
As older workers may be overwhelmed by the recent reliance on digital comms, the younger workforce has flourished. 60% of Gen Z workers said that they have been more productive during lockdown than being office-based, compared to just 18% of other employees. This is despite 70% of the younger generation who have to take time out of their day to help their parents with technical support.
Nearly 1 in 10 (8%) workers acknowledge the need for the mod-cons of video conferencing and would not be able to do their jobs in isolation without them. 24% admit that work could progress without them, but there would be big productivity issues. However, relying on modern tech tools has hindered over a quarter of 39-54year olds (26%), as their productivity has decreased in lockdown.
Whether more or less is being achieved in isolation, 79% of UK workers still feel that remote working will be far more commonplace after COVID-19 than before.
No need for a meet-and-greet interview
The younger workers’ lack of experience has made them vulnerable to the volatile job market during the pandemic. A quarter of 18-22year olds have been furloughed (compared to only 13% of the older workforce), and 13% have been made redundant (compared to 1% of +35year-olds).
Not to be discouraged, Gen Z and Millennials remain resilient and proactive as 1.8 million take to Zoom (44%), Microsoft Teams (23%) and Skype (20%) to apply for jobs during lockdown. 81% are confident in their ability to secure a new role through these platforms, and 57% prefer virtual interviews to face-to-face. The majority (56%) of Baby Boomers, however, would rather wait for the end of lockdown and apply for a job through the traditional interview method instead.
Georgie Brazier, Graduate Jobs Expert at Milkround said: “The state of flux that the graduate employment market has been in since the start of lockdown has instilled a reliance on technology, and specifically video conferencing platforms. It is no great surprise that younger workers are more at ease with using these platforms. What has been reassuring is that these younger workers are taking to video conferencing platforms to secure new job roles too. Their longstanding use of social media to communicate has set them in good stead for the lockdown. Gen Z and Millennials are now benefiting professionally from their use of social media platforms.
Despite not having as much experience in the workforce as other colleagues, they are leading the way during isolation by leveraging their innate tech savvy skillsets.”
Jack Edwards, author of The Uni-Verse, YouTuber and podcast presenter, comments on the research: “Young people are proving their digital dexterity and the adaptability of the virtual world in these unprecedented times, as the value of the internet as the world’s ultimate contingency plan becomes clear. It’s a fascinating shift to see Gen Z and Millennials suddenly becoming the most experienced in the (remote) office, as well as exposing the many inefficiencies of certain industries that weren’t utilising the internet as a resource. This is certainly a pivotal moment in time in which we are reassessing the most fundamental practices and facets of our businesses, and this research has proven the extent to which a digital shift is happening and will continue to do so.”