Isabel Jauregui -- August 29th, 2020

Between managing remote classes and trying to break into the job market, Gen-Zers have no choice but to glue their eyes to their screens and grapple with the reality of working from home. Often, their schools aren’t doing a great job at planning remote learning, and the job market seems to be stacked against them. Combined, these factors amount to young people growing tired and distracted from the work ahead of them. So much so that 50% of Gen-Zers reported that compared to working in an office setting, they are less productive when working from home.

But if Gen-Zers are so glued to their phones scrolling through the latest social media fad, why can’t they direct that attention towards something “productive”? The problem might not lie with the young people, and instead be the fault of the institutions they’re interacting with. When you get decades-old, even centuries-old schools and industries that try to adapt to the current climate, young tech-born people will call out their shortcomings immediately and not take them as seriously. That’s why working with a startup might be the key into unlocking Gen Z’s untapped potential.

When a college student jumps into a faster paced, tight-knit, mission-driven environment, their surroundings now match their attention span. They can zone in on specific goals and quick-turnaround projects, while a traditional internship would have them studying a market for 8 weeks and have little tangible work to show from it. Especially in comparison to their coursework, college students who work at a startup are likely to be immediately refreshed by the immediate applications of the time they spend building out technical, stylistic, or logistical solutions.

One great example of how students can break the productivity bubble is by finding an internship or microinternship with a startup. With so many students gap years or semesters, or generally having more time on their hands since they’re stuck inside searching for an outlet for their creativity and aspirations, this is the best time to find an internship with a startup. The recently launched app Seedstages is a platform that does just that — instantly connect students with startups that are hiring. Students can even message with the startup directly on the app, matching students’ habits of instantly connecting with others online.

To reach out to Gen Z and break into their world, you need to match their attention span and their excitement, and startups are the perfect environment to make that happen. The immediacy of the deadlines and goals that startups work with match the habits of an average college student — focusing intensely on one project at a time.

Although it may seem like a cause of concern that Gen Z isn’t adapting as well as to remote work, this is a great opportunity for them to carve out careers that actually match their preferences, instead of going along with something traditional because they think that’s the only option. The choice is yours, Gen Z — startup your life or get stuck in the productivity rut.

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