Generation Z see no point in folders

There are many differences between the old and new worlds, not least how different generations have learned to use a computer. While some remember how they went from typing to computer literacy at school, others were basically born with the computer in their laps. And now it turns out that the view, and the way we handle digital documents, differs significantly depending on when you were born.

An article in The Verge last year accurately sheds light on how different generations think about managing digital documents. In the article, a professor tells us that she is confronted with question marks when she asks her students where they saved their files.

What the professor himself thinks is that the computer saves a file in a folder, for example in “Downloads”, “Documents” or “Desktop”, which in turn is located in “This computer”. Or as she puts it:

As I see it, there is a document in a folder that I have to go to when I need it. My students think that all the documents go into one big bucket, and all they have to do is search for what they need.

Thus, Generation Z also does not understand the question of where they saved their document.

The point is that while the older generation struggles to memorise folders, these are completely irrelevant to younger people who have learned to rely on the interface’s search function.

File servers on their way out – the cloud is the way to go

The fact that the file server is becoming obsolete is also noticeable among managers. A recent survey by YouGov* shows that 40% of executives aged 40+ work against a file server, compared to 29% of those aged 40 or younger.

Among younger managers, cloud computing is the way to go. Almost twice as many of those under 40 store their documents in the cloud (38, compared to 19 per cent).

Younger people also use services such as OneDrive, SharePoint and Teams to store files at a much higher rate than older people. 40% of younger managers store documents in these services, compared to 22% of older managers.

* The survey on managers’ views on document management was conducted by YouGov on 4-8 November 2021 among 500 managers in Swedish companies.