With Generation Z expected to make up 58 percent of the global workforce by 2030, understanding their workplace preferences has become essential for employers aiming to attract and retain young talent.

Leading office furniture supplier Furniture at Work partnered with People & Talent Advisor Matt Berry-Hewitt from Search Laboratory to explore the biggest workplace ‘icks’—feelings of disgust or dislike—that Gen Z employees face and how employers can address them.

Gen Z’s Top Workplace ‘Icks’:

  1. Being Asked to Feature in Company TikToks

    • Despite being dubbed the ‘TikTok generation,’ many Gen Z employees find it annoying when asked to participate in company social media content. Berry-Hewitt advises respecting boundaries if an employee declines to be involved.
  2. Comments on Colleagues’ Food Choices

    • Gen Z employees, many of whom follow meat-free or plant-based diets, are particularly sensitive to judgmental remarks about their food. With a significant portion of this generation prioritizing dietary choices, acceptance of others’ preferences is crucial.
  3. Mandatory Cameras in Meetings

    • Although 80 percent of workers prefer cameras on during virtual meetings, many Gen Z employees feel pressured by this expectation. Berry-Hewitt emphasises that while camera use can enhance engagement, trust in employees’ participation should also be established.
  4. Being Expected to Work Overtime

    • Valuing work-life balance, Gen Z employees often reject the notion of working unpaid overtime. Berry-Hewitt suggests that productivity should be measured by tasks completed rather than hours logged.
  5. Coming to Work While Ill

    • Post-COVID-19, Gen Z and millennials are more cautious about coming to work when sick. They are more likely to call in sick compared to older generations, who may not be as mindful about spreading germs.

Berry-Hewitt notes that Gen Z is clear about their expectations for workplace culture and career satisfaction. As they become a dominant force in the workforce, businesses must adapt to these new standards to leverage their talents fully. However, he also advises young employees to be patient and realistic as companies work towards these cultural shifts.

Employers should respect Gen Z’s boundaries regarding social media participation, be mindful of dietary comments, establish trust around virtual meeting engagement, focus on productivity over hours worked, and encourage sick employees to stay home. Adapting to these preferences can help create a more inclusive and effective workplace for the emerging generation.






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.