Study Reveals 83% of People’s Technology Generations Don’t Match Their Actual Generation

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| The European | 11 November 2020

Windsor Telecom decided to take a look into the UK’s current working styles and trends to discover what tools and technologies are needed to bridge the generational gaps in the workplace. 

They surveyed 341 people to understand if their technology generation matched up with the generation they were born into.  

Windsor’s technology generation quiz asked a series of questions from level of comfort use technology and conducting video calls to their communication preference at work. 

The results show that the traditional generational stereotypes in relation to technology use and adaptation are not accurate. With five generations now working side by side in the workplace it’s vital to get this right.  


Stand Out Findings 

  1. 17% generations matched the technology generations we identified 
  1. 96% are confident using a computer for work  
  1. 86% are comfortable using Microsoft Office 
  1. 62% will continue to use video callswhen Covid-19 restrictions ease  
  1. 72% prefer to take notes with pen and paper 
  1. 63% made their first phone call on a landline, and 26% using a phone box 
  1. 58% prefer to communicate face to face at work 
  1. 25% feel overwhelmed with technologyneeded to keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues 
  1. Social media is the most popular way to consume newsat 30% 
  1. 41% prefer to buy physical books from a store  
  1. 40% didn’t own a games console growing up 

Generation vs Technology Generation 

Windsor asked people to tell them which generation they were born into to determine if the technology generation they belong to matches up.  

Their results show that only 17% of technology generations they identified matched up to their generations. This highlights that much more is needed to get everyone in the workplace up to speed on how to use the latest collaborative technology. 

Using a computer at work 

Across the different generations that took our quiz, 96% said they feel comfortable and find it easy to use a computer for work, with only 4% not comfortable. 

Windsor found that 86% are comfortable using Microsoft Word, but that 14% are struggling to confidently use the technology.  

Generational findings 

  1. 45% of Traditionalists can’t use a computer and don’t feel competent on Office at all.   
  1. 56% of Baby Boomers are comfortable and confident to use a computer, however 40% said that they would only use Microsoft Word if they had to.  
  1. 73% of Gen X feel extremely comfortable or confident using a computer; 45% said they were comfortable using Office. Interesting 18% didn’t feel competent at all.  
  1. 71% of Millennials feel extremely comfortable using a computer; 57% felt comfortable using Office and 25% believed they were expert in using the technology. 
  1. 65% of Gen Z felt extremely comfortable with using a computer; 67% said they were comfortable using Office and 20% confidently said they were wizards at using it. 

Video calls 

66% of our quiz respondents made video calls before lockdown, with 22% starting to use the technology during lockdown. 12% still don’t make video calls. 

What’s more 62% said that they would continue video calls for home and work after Covid-19 restrictions eased. 25% plan to use video calls occasionally and 13% said that they wouldn’t use them.

Generational findings 

  1. 36% of Traditionalists started making video calls during lockdown, but 63% still don’t make video calls. Of those that did video call, 54% said they would occasionally use it again. 
  1. 67% of Baby Boomers made video calls before lockdown; 54% will continue to keep video calling.  
  1. 58% of Gen X made video calls before lockdown; 29% started during lockdown; 68% will continue to use video calling. 
  1. 81% of Millennials used video calls before lockdown and 16% started using them during lockdown; 73% will continue to video call and 21% occasionally. 
  1. 70% of Gen Z used video calls before lockdown; 48% said they would occasionally video call again and 43% said they will continue video calling. 

Taking notes 

When it comes to taking notes there was a clear winner. With a whopping 72% pen and paper are the popular choice.  

  1. Pen and paper 72% 
  1. Notes app 13% 
  1. Notes in document 8% 
  1. Don’t take notes 4% 
  1. Whiteboard 2% 
  1. Dictaphone 1% 

Generational findings 

  1. 63% of traditionalists prefer pen and paper to take note 
  1. 75% of Baby Boomers use pen and paper to take notes 
  1. 72% of Gen X prefer pen and paper to take notes 
  1. 73% of Millennials prefer notes with pen and paper 
  1. 65% of Gen Z still prefer pen and paper to other notes options  

Phone calls 

Windsor asked which phone people used to make their first call. The results show that the landline was the most popular choice across the generations with 63% of the votes, and phonebox at 26%. 

  1. Landline 63% 
  1. Phonebox 26% 
  1. Flip phone 4% 
  1. Nokia 3210 3% 
  1. iPhone 3% 
  1. Mobira Senetor / Motorola Mr201 

Generational findings 

  1. 100% of Traditionalists first phone call was made in a phone box 
  1. 50% of Baby Boomer made their first call in a phone box, the other 50% on a landline 
  1. 64% of Gen X made their first call using a landline, 36% in a phone box 
  1. 82% of Millennials made their first phone call on a landline 
  1. 48% of Gen Z made their first phone call on a landline 

Communicating at work 

We all have different communication styles and way of working that suit us. With that in mind Windsor asked people what their preferred communication method was at work. Face to face communication came in as the most popular choice at 58%. 

  1. Face to face 58% 
  1. Email 19% 
  1. Online chat 11% 
  1. Over the phone 7% 
  1. Video call 5% 

Generational findings 

  1. 81% of Traditionalists prefer face to face communication at work  
  1. 75% of Baby Boomers prefer communicating face to face at work 
  1. 56% of Gen X prefer to meet face to face at work 
  1. 33% of Millennials prefer face to face communication 
  1. 73% of Gen Z prefer to meet face to face 

Technology Use 

With screen time on the increase, Windsor were keen to know if people felt overwhelmed with the amount of technology they needed to use to keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues. 25% admitted that they regularly feel overwhelmed by the technology they need to use to keep connected while 75% said they were used to it. 

Generational findings 

  1. 50% of Traditionalists said they were overwhelmed by technology and the other 50% disagreed 
  1. 63% of Baby Boomers are not overwhelmed by technology 
  1. 78% of Gen X are not overwhelmed by technology 
  1. 81% of Millennials are not overwhelmed by technology 
  1. 82% of gen Z said they were not overwhelmed by technology 

Reading the news 

Keen to discover how people were accessing the news they have also asked how people were absorbing the latest updates. Social media came in as the top choice at 30%, with news websites in second place at 28%. 

  1. Social media 30% 
  1. News website 28%  
  1. News application 13% 
  1. Newspaper 5% 
  1. Radio 3% 
  1. Other 1% 

Generational findings 

  1. 45% of Traditionalists listen to the news on TV 
  1. 35% of Baby Boomers receive news on TV 
  1. Generation X mainly consume news on websites/apps (46%) and social media (26%) 
  1. 46% of Millennials consume news on websites and apps; 36% use social media for news 
  1. 48% of Generation Z receive news on social media and 40% on news websites and apps 

Reading preference 

With books available in physical, electronic and audio format we wanted to discover how people preferred to read. The results show that 41% prefer to buy their books direct from the store, with 21% opting to read books on their Kindle.  

  1. Buy books from the store 41% 
  1. On a Kindle 21% 
  1. Don’t read books 17% 
  1. Download to tablet or phone 10% 
  1. Listen to audiobooks 7% 
  1. Borrow from a library 4% 

Generational findings 

  1. 55% of Traditionalists prefer their Kindle or tablet to read and 45% prefer going to the book store. 
  1. 50% of Baby Boomers prefer to read books their buy direct from the store, with the other 50% opting to read books on tablet devices. 
  1. 47% of Gen X still prefer to go to the book shop while others have adapted to Kindles and reading on tablets (35%) 
  1. 37% of Millennials prefer to book store to get books; 30% prefer Kindle and tablets to read; 20% don’t like to read at all. 
  1. 37% of Gen Z prefer not to read. 

Gaming consoles 

Windsor asked people what their first games console was in order to try and determine which generation they were born in. 40% said that they didn’t have a games console growing up, and of those that did the Atari 2600 or Sega Megadrive were the top choices with 24% of the vote.  

  1. Didn’t own a games console 40% 
  1. Atari 2600 / Sega Megadrive 24% 
  1. PlayStation 1 / Nintendo GameCube / Nintendo 64 18% 
  1. Nintendo DS / Xbox One / Nintendo Wii 9% 
  1. Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) / Commodore 64 9% 

Generational findings 

  1. 48% of Traditionalists didn’t have a games console 
  1. The Baby Boomers we spoke to didn’t have a games console  
  1. The Atari and Sega Megdrive were the firm favourites of Gen X with 48% of the vote 
  1. 29% of Millennials said their first games console was an Atari or Sega Megadrive 
  1. 50% of Gen Z said their first games console was an Xbox one, Nintendo DS or Wii. 

Summary 

As Windsor’s study shows there isn’t a one size fits all when it comes to certain generations and their technological skillsets and needs. Discover more about how the best technology to invest in to cater to all five generations in the workplace.  


Expert Commentary 

Pete Tomlinson, CEO of Windsor Telecom said: 

It’s vital that employers address the fundamental changes we’re seeing across all generations. Lockdown has forced a conversation that needed to be had higher up the agenda because many employees are struggling to use the technology needed day to day, and employers are searching for straightforward and reliable solutions that work for all.” 


For more information visit: www.windsor-telecom.co.uk 

For more Technology news follow The European


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