Multigenerational Living

23 Apr 2021, Lynette McFadden

Multigenerational Living

I live in an intergenerational home. Well, I do for two days a week when my almost 80-year-old parents come and stay, joining my 13-year-old niece and our 21-year-old son. It’s full-on busy, noisy and a lot of fun, and I’ve come to love those precious days.

Over my numerous years in real estate, I’ve had a number of requests to accommodate this kind of lifestyle as people seek different options. The essentials are usually space, a downstairs bedroom with accompanying en suite, and separate living rooms for when the inevitable collision of music and T.V. choices occurs! For us, this happens when our niece wants to watch Brooklyn 99 and Dad’s set on a Warriors game repeat. 

Not only do I live intergenerationally, but I also have the great pleasure of working this way too.  Intergenerational workplaces can be calamities, but they can also be both enlightening and refreshing.  Here’s a reminder about the generations when simply defined:

  1. The Silent Generation (born between 1928 and 1945) – my dad, though he’s not silent!
  2. Baby Boomers (1946 – 1964)
  3. Generation X (1965 – 1980)
  4. Millennials (1981 – 1996)
  5. Generation Z (1997 – 2012)

Our workplace has until recently (with the retirement of one of our founding consultants, Mr Mark Brownlee) had members of each of these generations and I’ve learnt wonderful lessons from all of them. Amongst the standouts are those that I’ve received from our inhouse marketing team, aged from 19 years to 32 years. My constant engagement with them has resulted in some hilarious insights and here are some of those that they’ve taught me:

  1. As Millennials, it can take time to gain the respect of our Generation X and predominantly Baby Boomer teammates, who can struggle with much younger people (and their ideologies) in senior roles.
  2. “Thinking that if you’re on your phone it must be because you’re looking for entertainment rather than researching work matters.”
  3. “Hearing life and financial advice from people who think you can buy a house on a single waitress wage.” (This was a biggie!)

And, to provide additional context, here’s the flipside of the Millennial outlook:

  1. “The older generations” have clearer priorities and can be more thoughtful, with a strong sense of wisdom.
  2. They have the instincts and advice that Millennials/Gen Z need, and they care.

Do you work intergenerationally, because it’s almost impossible not to? As with anything in life, it’s what you make of it. Make it good.