The generation of youths which came of age during the COVID-19 pandemic, known as Gen Z (born 1997 – 2002), is reportedly taking courses on office culture and communicating in-person as a growing number of businesses move away from fully remote work structure.
A report by the Wall Street Journal explains how firms such as KPMG have started offering new hires courses which feature lessons on how to talk with others in person and how to maintain the appropriate level of eye-contact.
Similar initiatives have been taken up by other consulting firms such as PwC and Deloitte.
A spokesperson for consulting firm Protiviti told the Journal that it has even had to remind new employees to wear appropriate clothes in the office and avoid casual attire such as ripped jeans.
Unlike their predecessors, Gen Z workers spent a number of their formative years behind attending classes and socialising digitally due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This has led to stunted development of social skills for several Gen Z workers who missed out on learning opportunities which come from simply engaging with others in-person.
A spokesperson for Michigan State University told the Journal that they have introduced classes for some of their courses which address these issues, such as teaching students when to pause in conversations and what signs to look out for when the other person might be looking to end a conversation.
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Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri notes that education and awareness are the best tools to combat such threats