What work balance trends are emerging, and do they help or hinder working life?

28 Mar 2023
Have you thought about Quiet Quitting? Or making some noise with Loud Quitting? Maybe trying out Bare Minimum Monday or Rage Applying? 

These are among the latest work-balance trends to gain traction on social media, going viral on TikTok as Gen-Z and younger millennials share stories of successfully using the tactics. But what do the strategies involve and are they a good career move? In her latest blog, Julie Graham, CEO of Ingeus’s Employment Services, takes a look at the latest buzzwords – what they mean for workers – and their employers.

While I can’t profess to be an avid TikToker or YouTuber, I can certainly appreciate the appeal of spaces where you can share experiences, hear opinions, and take knowledge from friends, peers and people you admire. So, it’s little surprise to me that new approaches to working life are fair game on social media and are successfully migrating from online screens to workplaces nationwide.   

Deciphering the buzzwords
The first new trend to catch my attention earlier this year was Quiet Quitting. It’s not, as you might imagine, about leaving your job, but quitting the idea of going above and beyond at work.
It began as a TikTok post with the #QuietQuitting hashtag, and quickly took off. It encourages workers to only do the job that they are being paid to do, without taking on any extra duties. No unpaid overtime, lunch at your desk, or emails at the weekend.

Similarly, Loud Quitting doesn’t mean leaving your job. Although ultimately it may result in you doing exactly that. It involves talking loudly and openly about looking for work elsewhere, reminding bosses of your achievements in the hope of negotiating a better package. Then there’s Rage Applying which takes this one step further and is the process of sending your CV to lots of prospective employers, a scattergun approach, that may result in leaving your existing job as quickly as possible for a better one – hopefully!

Meanwhile, the latest craze to surface recently on TikTok is Bare Minimum Monday which encourages employees to prioritise their wellbeing over productivity at the start of their working week. Before delving into their tasks for the day, people are encouraged to look after their mental health and self-care first, then just do enough work to get by. The approach is intended to minimise the anxiety and stress felt at the start of the working week, often felt strongly for conventional workers on Sundays – referred to as ‘Sunday Scaries’.

While I absolutely advocate rewarding a job well done and self-care ahead of presenteeism, I find inherent risks and an unsettling air of confrontation in these tactics. So why is their popularity growing?  

Acknowledging unrest
These tactics will appeal to workers feeling overworked and undervalued, in any sense. High vacancy numbers mean people with skills know they’re in demand, and want to feel valued, listened to and empowered in their workplace – or they’ll find somewhere where they are. Young workers following these trends on social media will be looking to build experience and step up the career ladder, not protect an exalted position and keep their feet firmly on familiar ground for years to come. 
Promotions, pay rises, and new or better jobs are an unexpected part of the post-pandemic labour market. 

A risky business
I would like to think that doing the bare minimum is in few people’s natures, especially for anyone who actually enjoys their job. It will also raise eyebrows from your manager and fellow teammates who are forced to pick up the slack. A negative, work-shy attitude isn’t appealing for anyone to work with. 

I would encourage anyone to be confident and celebrate their achievements but if considering loud quitting, be aware that your employer may not be able to meet your demands and you may actually feel obliged to leave. If that time does come, don’t rage apply for every job going, be selective and make a productive next step rather than jumping from the proverbial frying pan into the fire. 

If you find yourself feeling particularly stressed at the start of your working week, tackle this by planning ahead. Make time for yourself before work, take some exercise, eat well and allow time to adjust mentally. Not always easy or realistic I know. So, how about completing the task you are most dreading first, leaving your mind free to concentrate on the rest of the day?

If you are unhappy at work, or even if you’re not but want to negotiate your next step, then talk to your manager or HR team first. Communicate openly and state your case professionally. Do your research and know what other opportunities and packages are offered for someone with your skills. List your achievements and times when you’ve delivered beyond expectations. Basically, prove that you’re worth keeping for an enhanced package. 

Employers will be keen to mitigate the chances of their employees resorting to these methods and must work to ensure their staff never feel the need. Retention of good people has never been more topical; staff should be helped to feel motivated and engaged in the work they are doing instead of resorting to following these trends.

Ingeus’ puts employee wellbeing centre stage, with a suite of physical and mental health resources to support our staff. We value diversity of thought and inclusion of all and build policies and working practices to help everyone thrive.

Importantly, we also work to the clear and uniting purpose of Enabling Better Lives and that mission starts firmly with our teams. 

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