Fi Quiet Vacation

What Can Employers Learn from the ‘Quiet Vacationing’ Phenomenon?

Published by
12th June 2024

According to The Harris Poll’s Out of Office Culture Report, 37% of millennial workers have admitted to ‘quiet vacationing’ – that is, taking time off without telling their managers under the guise of working remotely.

For those getting flashbacks to the days of ‘quiet quitting’, they may be appropriately timed. Much like how quiet quitting was found to be a misnomer for employees wanting clear work-life boundaries and balance, ‘quiet vacationing’ may also be misleading.

This is because the report includes other findings which can help shed some light on why ‘quiet vacationing’ has emerged as a trend – particularly amongst Millennials.

Why Millennials? The most probable answer is that people in this age group are likely to have school-aged children, and they are likely to ‘quiet vacation’ as a means of attaining the flexibility they need but maybe aren’t being offered by their employer.

‘Quiet vacationing’ may also be a symptom of employees who don’t feel they have a proper work-life balance, as the research also discovered that 78% of employees who get paid vacations don’t take all the vacation days they are allocated. The reasons cited for this are to do with demands from work and pressure from managers not to take time off.

Work-life balance is quickly becoming a pivotal factor for many employees, with one study finding that more than half (56%) of employees would be willing to accept a lower-paid job in exchange for a better work-life balance.

So, what ‘quite vacationing’ and ‘quiet quitting’ have in common is that if employees are not getting the work-life balance they need, then they will find innovative ways to create it for themselves.

With the increase of hybrid and remote working styles, employers have been forced to adopt a new mindset of managing employee output (tasks completed) rather than input (showing up 9-5 five days a week). And the fact that the existence of ‘quiet vacationing’ has only been revealed through this latest study highlights that employees are still getting their jobs done – albeit at times which better meet their personal circumstances.

If there had been noticeable and consistent dips in productivity, this phenomenon would have been identified already. But if deadlines are being met on time and the work is getting done, then maybe this is just a case of recognizing that as long as employees can do what is expected of them, it shouldn’t really matter when they do it.

Now, this isn’t going to be applicable to every type of role, but for the most part, employers should be focused on managing the output of their employees, especially in a hybrid and remote working world. After all, someone can sit in an office all day and appear busy. But if the productivity of someone periodically ‘quiet vacationing’ from home remains consistent, is there really a problem?

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