Working With Both the Older and Younger Generations
Becaue of the radically different paradigms between older and younger generations, the trend toward collaboration in the workplace is bound to be met with some glitches. Those who are used to rank-based systems where you compete with coworkers for the large corner office are unlikely to have enough trust to seamlessly collaborate with younger colleagues. Those who are used to collaboration on everything are likely to be confused when older teammates don't effectively communicate project status or assign tasks in a rigorous way (Gen X and Gen Y are also used to working autonomously on projects guided by self-direction).
How does one circumvent these problems? For starters, if your company currently wishes to transition to more collaborations, it is best to make this a gradual change, respecting the paradigms of the baby boomers and before when it comes to workplace structure. One way to do this is to integrate collaboration software into the structure of the company. This software can help newbies to collaboration get their feet wet, and those who are already familiar with collaboration expectations to engage in the use of technology. It also allows those who enjoy working in an office to do so, while still touching base with team members.
A second way to avoid problems is to engage your employees in a dialog about collaboration. You'll be amazed what you find out when you get people talking. You can also calm fears and anxieties by demonstrating that they are ill-founded.
FInally, when working with multiple generations in a collaborative setting, it is important to ensure that everyone utilizes good time-management and communication skills. If team members regularly procrastinate on their work and do not discuss this with other members of the team, it can make things quite difficult and stressful for all involved.