I risk my life for my own work, and my reason has half foundered in it.
—Vincent van Gogh1
Each generation introduces a new set of values into the workplace, and although work‐life balance has been on the radar for previous generations, it's certainly of more importance to Millennials, with 48 percent of them choosing workplace flexibility over pay.2 This preference comes as no surprise, because Millennials witnessed firsthand both the long hours their parents had to put in to get ahead in corporate America and companies' ruthless downsizing for purely financial gain (usually in pursuit of greater shareholder profits). Many Millennials “are largely unconvinced that what they would have to give up [in their personal lives] is worth such a sacrifice.”3 In addition, with the rise in technology that lets employees work from anywhere, spending 9 or 10 hours in the office looks less and less appealing to Millennials (and even more so to the Gen Zers after them). This doesn't mean that Millennials aren't interested in getting ahead (on the contrary, most are gunning to get promoted as quickly as possible), but it does mean that they have different priorities from their predecessors.
Although the Millennials' emphasis on work‐life balance has had a positive effect for all generations (both Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are also demanding—and receiving—more flexibility), it's still a source of conflict between older managers and ...