“We don’t mind working and earning less in exchange for a more comfortable and less stressful life”.
This is a quote from a recent article in Humo written about millennials. In this article the writer also describes the millennial-laziness, the millennial burn-out and the millennial interests. Many people have a different opinion about millennials because we are a very divers generation, this is also the reason why there are various articles about our generation. Although we are a very divers, time-bound events unite us as a generation. Yet this was the quote that stands out from the article.
Traditional values like creating a family, owning a house or having a permanent job is less important for millennials. Many millennials choose to focus on their career, travel the world and not to get kids at all. ‘Owning’ a house, having a permanent job or a baby doesn’t means less to us if it doesn’t increase our quality of life. We ask ourselves what kind of value it creates in our lives. We rather want to see the purpose of things and develop ourselves instead. This is more important than the money we gain from our jobs. This is a big difference compared to previous generations that do gain value from financial stability and traditional values. Because we grew up in a time with a strong and secure financial safety net we dare to take bigger risks because the effects are less risky. In Scandinavia they are experimenting with 6-hour work days. The results of these experiments are that employees are happier, less stressed and more energetic. But working less means that we have more spare time, so what does that mean for the leisure of millennials?
Identity and status
What we spent our spare time on indicates our status these days. Formerly people saw luxury possessions as status, nowadays our lifestyle and leisure activities are the indication for status and power. Attending Grey Goose rooftop parties, being invited to the magnum party and going to yoga shows our wealth. By sharing pictures and videos of these events online we show our lifestyle to other people. By sharing our lifestyle online were illustrating our status.
The leisure sector has been growing very fast, the number of national and international tourists and its expenses has increased (World Tourism Organization). Also the events and activities within the sector have been increasing in recent years. Millennials are less materialistic and rather spent their money on experiences. The enormous growth of this sector also has a lot to do with the blurring of other sectors with that also started offering leisure experiences. Fashion brands start concept stores, amusement parks, restaurants, events and festivals and blur with the Leisure sector this way. Fashion brands try to gain support from their target group by positively influencing their spare time.
Health and Beauty
Aside from the fashion industry the appearance sector also blurs with the leisure sector. For many millennials beauty, sport, health and food is an important part of their lifestyle. This arose the ‘athleisure’ movement. Health and leisure are combined into yoga, detox, wellness and sport vacations to make the break purposeful. An analysis of the ABN Amro also showed the growth of the wellness sector. This is because babyboomers like relaxation and wellness but also because millennials feel the need for luxury, comfort and relaxation.
Organising our spare time
Because of our busy and hectical lives and the social pressure from social media, all of the options that we get, the success stories and all of the stimuli that many of us experience puts a lot of pressure on us. In general, 1/3rd of our time is spare time, we spend the rest of our time on sleeping and working. Often this spare time does not feel like time off because we feel a pressure to do something or we have the feeling that we have something to do. This makes it feel like we can’t really relax.
These are all new developments that we need to discover and learn how to deal with them. A lot of quick changes, al lot of stimulation, choices and constantly new supplies has become a constant factor in our lives. We need to decide what we like to spend our spare time on and enjoy the freedom and opportunities that these developments offer us.
Online and socials
Social media plays a big part in the development and the completion of our spare time. Through social media we see where we would like to go, what other people are doing and what we would like to do. It has become easier, more accessible and safer for us to discover the world. Flying somewhere is not that expensive anymore, travelling for over a year is not special anymore and we can easily take some time off to travel. In addition, we can find our way everywhere through Google maps and Wi-Fi makes it easy and accessible to be in touch with our friends and family at home. During our vacations we don’t want to be mainstream by going to all the touristic locations. We try to find the local spots through Instagram, we want to relax and we try to find new experiences and this affects our leisure activities.
Google makes it easy for us to skip the touristic attractions because we can visit the Versailles, the set of Harry Potter and the Guggenheim in New York and even 100 meters down the great barrier reef with a 360 degree view.
Fear of missing out
The term FOMO (fear of missing out) is also a good example of the social pressure by not wanting to miss out on something. Due to pressure from social media and the fear of missing out on something great, we want to be everywhere. We know we can see all the life streams and posts about it afterwards. We want to do and experience as much as possible and we do not want to miss anything or have not done something for fear of missing something awesome. If you did not go abroad or went to some awesome festivals social media tells you that you definitely missed out on something.
The future of leisure
Looking at the future, work for millennials will look very different. We see that a lot of work will be automated in the future, this leaves just a small group of people in society with a job. People must be educated differently, need a new purpose and laws need to be adjusted to this matter. Therefore it is necessary to think about how we will shape the future of work and education so that not 1% of the population ends up having all the money and all the power, that is why we are already thinking about a standard minimum 'wage' for everyone. But the issue remains; if there is less work, what will we do with our spare time?