In recent years millennials have become the largest generation in the work force, surpassing generation X by almost 3 million  The impact millennials have had on the work environment has been substantial, particularly the balance of work and life. Research shows that millennials would choose a work/life blend rather than a work/life balance. 33% say managing their family, career, and personal activities has become difficult in the past 5 years . In reaction to this change, the modern workplace has shifted, and more and more people are choosing to work from home.
Why are Millennials Choosing to Work from Home?
In addition to the increasing adoption of the work life blend, Millennials are staying home for other reasons. The US Census found that the average commuter spends 9 days a year commuting, and that commute duration has increased 20% since the 1980s . For individuals starting professional careers, this statistic is alarming, especially when cost of commuting is factored in. Millennials simply do not want to spend an hour a day commuting, especially when that distorts the work/life blend. However, it isn’t just employees that are noticing the benefits to working remotely . The number of employers offering a work from home option has grown by 40% in the past 5 years . This trend is not just positive for the millennials employee. Employers offering at least part-time telecommuting flexibility collectively save $44 billion each year . This reduction in costs stems from the fact that the companies are paying less in real estate costs. In addition to saving money, companies offering a work from home option notice an improvement in productivity when their employees work from home. 86% of employees say they’re most productive when they work alone—away from distractions like ineffective meetings, loud offices, and gossip . This increase in productivity coupled with the decreased office space costs increase overall employer saving.
Employee productivity is one of the main concerns with offering a work from home option. Employers want to ensure that the option to work from home does not lead to an overall decrease in productivity. Data conducted by an Ernst and Young Survey states that 75% of millennials want the ability to work on a flexible schedule and still be on track for a promotion and career advancement . This is then proven by a separate study that produced data stating two-thirds of managers report that employees who work from home increase their overall productivity . Setting opinions aside, that is good for business. Companies offering a work from home option also report a decrease in employee turnover, another decrease in cost. In a Stanford University study, employers who offered a work from home option had employee turnover rates fall by over 50 %  . A work from home option may help a business hold on to some employees, however it also might help the business gain fresh new talent. This trend is proving to be beneficial for not only the employee working from home, but the company they work for as well. This option is particularly important for millennial job seekers. 68% of millennial job seekers said a work from home option would greatly influence their interest in working for a company . Due to the personal benefit of working from home and the business benefit, it is clear to see why this trend in gaining popularity. However, it is crucial to examine all aspects. Working from home does benefit the business and the employee, but the impact on the IT professional needs to be examined.
What is the Impact on Technology?
One of the most common and frustrating aspects of working from home is the wide range of technical problems that can arise. Meetings and video chats require decent audio and visual features and can often be problematic if there is low quality connection. Relying on a stable internet connection for multiple hours a day can be a challenge and a frustration if it becomes unstable. If something goes wrong with a device or there is a support issue at home, IT isn’t just a few doors away. The British Infrastructure Group revealed that in the UK, 5.7 million broadband customers had internet connections that do not reach Ofcom’s acceptable minimum speed of 10Mbit/s . This challenge created a niche for remote desktop support services, to assist employees from a distance and troubleshoot technical issues. Many services allow of the IT professional to take control of user’s desktops and perform root-cause analysis, break-fix solutions and regular maintenance. The implementation of these services have allowed for some companies to go fully remote, being that company does not have a physical workplace and all employees from home.
The Impact on the IT Professional
Looking To the Future
As the ability to work from home increases, the increase in the amount of people choosing to work from home is inevitable. This means that dependence on managed services, cloud-based applications and remote IT professionals will increase. Pew Research predicts that after 2018, and with more stable company positions and more experience under their belts, millennials may be ready to settle down . However this provides them with a unique opportunity. With the increase in cost of living, and the increase in millennial debt, it is important for companies to understand that moving for some individuals may not be an option. If a qualified candidate lives in Seattle, and the company is headquartered in Manhattan, the cloud would allow that individual to work alongside their coworkers virtually–something that wasn’t an option before the cloud. With this increase in popularity of working from home, the IT professional can expect people to be able to work from anywhere, and the network must be able to support it.
 Pew Research Center ‘Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. labor force’ (2018)
 Ernst and Young, ‘Study: work-life challenges across generations Millennials and parents hit hardest’ (2015)
 United States Census (2017)
 Fundera, ’11 Surprising Working Fro Home Statistics (2018)
Surepayroll, ‘Productivity Prohibitors: How to Stop Them in Their Tracks’ (2016)
 Stanford Graduate School of Business, ‘Why Working From Home Is a “Future-looking Technology”'(2017)
 Aftercollege, ‘2015 AfterCollege Career Insight Survey’ (2015)
 Regus, ‘The Workplace Revolution – a Picture of Flexible Working 2017’ (2017)