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?

Around this time last year, I wrote a piece in response to the rising trends of ‘quiet quitting’, ‘quiet firing’, and ‘quiet hiring’ that begged the question: why are we being so quiet? Why are these issues not being spoken about loudly?

In that context, the ‘loud quitting’ phenomenon we are seeing now has been a bit of a surprise!

Loud quitting has taken TikTok by storm – indeed, it’s also been dubbed ‘QuitTok’ – with workers very publicly quitting their jobs by recording or live streaming themselves doing so … and then posting the results on social media.

The thinking behind this is that workers are feeling empowered within themselves to take control and leave a job they feel was not invested in their wellbeing.

And it’s a rapidly growing phenomenon. The hashtag ‘QuitTok’ has already amassed over 100 million views on TikTok … with X and Instagram postings adding to the melee.

The idea of naming and shaming an employer and posting this on the internet is a generational one; Millennials and Gen Z have grown up digitally native, and so the concept of sharing what was previously considered a very private thing has become much more normalized with the rise of social media.

There is also the influence of ‘cancel culture’ at play. Many young people believe that exposing bad behaviour publicly on the internet is justifiable, and we are seeing this ideology in action with the ‘loud quitting’ trend.

So, what is the key takeaway for HR?

Primarily, this trend is highlighting how important wellbeing support is to younger workers.

Where once it was all about how much you earned, in a post-pandemic world gripped by a ‘carpe diem’ mindset, the younger generations are seeking more than just compensation. They want work-life balance, flexible working, and support for their mental wellbeing.

Whilst the concept of posting yourself quitting online is a bit extreme, it does also highlight how far workers are now going when it comes to seeking proper support.

As well as this, this phenomenon brings to light just how powerful “stay” interviews can be for organizations. These should be harnessed as valuable sources of feedback and insight into workplace issues. This paves the way for employers to begin to address these problems so to improve the retention rate of their staff and shape their future workplace culture into one that better aligns with the needs of their workforce.

If you would like to discuss how OrgShakers can assist you in creating a roadmap for implementing wellbeing strategies, or how we can help to optimize your off-boarding processes, please get in touch with us.  

Emerging from a pandemic which saw a huge shift in mindset for the current workforce, the trend of ‘Quiet Quitting’ surfaced as a way for employees to set boundaries around the work they do and the timeframe they do it in.

Looked at objectively, this was employees taking responsibility for their own work-life balance and a blow to the culture of ‘presenteeism’ – both issues that employers have been trying to tackle for many years.

However, the problem with the term ‘Quiet Quitting’ is that it is inherently negative, suggesting an employee is giving up rather than taking control.

And now, we’re seeing another unhelpful misnomer popping up on social media – the ‘Lazy Girl Job’: a job that can be done remotely, and which offers workers autonomy by having a manager who measures their performance based on output rather than input.

The problem with describing these roles as “Lazy Girl Jobs” is that as the pace of organizational change continues to accelerate, many employers are starting to recognize that they need a more flexible and methodological approach to work. This is seeing companies increasingly adopting a skills-based approach to managing work and workers, and slowly moving away from the rigidity of a ‘job’.

In a report published by Deloitte, it was discovered that while 93% of organizations believed that moving away from the ‘job’ construct is very important to their success, only 20% of organizations felt very ready to actually address this movement. What the ‘lazy girl job’ actually represents is a step towards skills-based, flexible working, whereas the idea of it, and its implications, are seeing employers take two steps back.

So, we are seeing the same problem we saw with ‘Quiet Quitting’ – a ‘Lazy Girl Job’ implies that working remotely is lazy, whereas in reality half of employees feel more productive when working from home and are able to operate beyond the constraints of time and geographical differences.

These misnomers catch on because they are utilizing irony, but this irony may be doing more harm than good. Work-life balance, healthy boundaries around start and finishing times, and remote working are all positive tools that employers can use to improve the performance of their employees, but dressing them up as ‘quitting’ and ‘lazy’ fuels the ideology of presenteeism and stunts the transformational progress of this organizational change.  

Instead, employers need to focus on the fact that the way people want to work is continuing to change, expand, and evolve at an exponential rate, and this is only gaining velocity as a new generation flock into the workplace. While these buzzwords represent real call-to-actions for employers and highlight key areas of focus for attraction and retention, it is important that the meaning behind them isn’t misconstrued just because they have been labelled lazily.

If you would like to discuss how we can help support and guide you in your journey of organizational change, please get in touch with us.

Time and time again, the hours in the day can prove to be elusive. Many of us may find ourselves asking, where did the time go? when we look up from our desk and suddenly see that the sky has darkened.

What’s interesting about this is, a lot of employees are now much more aware of how and where they spend their time. After years of a pandemic and lockdown, the value of our time and its finiteness has become a reality for many, and the importance of finding a work-life balance has increased tenfold. A recent Glassdoor survey proves this, as it found that 87% of employees expect their employers to support them in balancing work and personal needs.

But the biggest obstacle in the way of achieving this balance is the fact that there seems to be a complete lack of language around how to approach the topic of time. It’s a tentative subject, and for some reason it feels almost wrong to ask for certain considerations to be made for one’s personal life.

But why is that? There’s an undeniable awkwardness that permeates the subject, potentially even a feeling of guilt around asking for a better balance.

What’s interesting, however, is the fact that while employees may struggle to find the best words to start the conversation, the emergence of quiet quitting is an example of staff skipping the conversation altogether and taking immediate action. It’s no surprise that quiet quitting is a trend that has been noted far more amongst younger workers; they have entered the world of work as it’s going through monumental structural changes, and so from their perspective, setting boundaries around their work and their personal life is a normal expectation. Whereas for the rest of us who have been working for over a decade, all we have really known is this ‘always-on’ mindset being a requirement of a dependable team player.  And a dependable team player regularly and willingly sacrifices personal needs.

Employers could therefore greatly benefit from taking responsibility for kickstarting this conversation with their teams. Learning to talk about time and to have an appreciation for their staff’s commitment to their business will demonstrate how much they value them.

And from a business perspective, starting this discussion around boundaries will help to mitigate the risk of burnout and exhaustion. According to a YouGov survey, 73% of Britons aged between 18-49 said that their tiredness had a great impact on their work. This is coupled with research from the Society for Human Resources Management which found that almost half (48%) of American employees reported being mentally and physically exhausted at the end of their workday.

Creating the space where team members feel safe talking about their personal needs can be key to the prevention of this exhaustion. This ensures that team members are remaining fully engaged and energized both physically and mentally, as well as being a deposit into the “sense of belonging” employee bank account.   

To discuss how you can begin to approach this conversation with your team, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

There has been a bit of a theme emerging in the world of work.

First it was the ‘quiet quitting’ phenomenon that swept across the 2022 workplace landscape.

Hot on its heels came the trend for ‘quiet firing’ which emerged in response to workers quietly quitting.

And so, to the newest edition – ‘quiet hiring’.

The term has been coined by the leader of Gartner’s research team, Emily Rose McRae, who describes ‘quiet hiring’ as a way to address an immediate need for the company. The business could hire external contractors. Or, if money is tight, they might shuffle existing team members around to fill the short-term gap that has opened up.

The latter approach is, however, higher risk as uprooting people from their roles might just prompt them to begin quietly quitting! Add to that the danger of someone feeling their original role was not valued if it could be put on hold and you have a recipe for a host of unintended consequences further down the line.

The problem with having all of these ‘quiet’ approaches is that they are all being carried out, well, quietly!

Employees found themselves struggling to communicate their need for boundaries at work, and so began to quietly build them themselves. Employers were struggling with communicating with staff who they felt were underperforming, and so began to quietly push them away. And now we have companies who are trying to quietly repair skill gaps, which could result in more quiet quitting … which will, in turn, lead to more quiet firing.

It is a vicious, surreptitious cycle which could be avoided if employers and employees spoke up rather than clammed up about their mutual needs and expectations.

This means encouraging and supporting a dialogue between managers and their direct reports about their wellbeing needs, as well as managers knowing how to help employees they feel may be underperforming.

And when it comes to filling those short-term gaps, the best approach is to be open with your people about what the company needs to do – and how you plan to do it. Then sit back and listen to what they have to say, because a productive two-way dialogue is always better than the sound of silence.

To get in touch with us about any communication and culture needs you may have, head over to our contact page.

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

‘Quiet quitting’ has been a buzzword in the corporate world recently – staff members are taking back their personal lives by setting boundaries on how much extra effort they put into their work. This has sparked many conversations as to why employees felt the need to quietly quit in the first place, and one such reason may be due to the rise of ‘quiet firing’.

The second phrase to be logged in the ‘quiet –’ saga, quiet firing shifts the focus to a managerial perspective, and refers to those leaders who are assigning some members of staff menial tasks, setting unrealistic expectations, and consistently denying them time off work. Essentially, instead of communicating with these employees to help them improve, they are quietly pushing them away until they finally decide to leave of their own accord.

While some leaders may be doing this consciously, this new phenomenon does bring into question whether managers who are being inattentive are at risk of unknowingly quietly firing their staff.

Being in a leadership role means you may not have a lot of time to spare, but a crucial part of being a manager is finding a balance between being attentive to those above and below you. Members of your team may feel they are being neglected due to a lack of direct engagement with them, and this can be perceived as quiet firing and can push people towards leaving. This is reinforced by Gallup’s report which found that 70% of the variance in team engagement is determined solely by the manager. In other words, a manager has the largest effect on how engaged their employees are at work.

This highlights the importance of finding that time to offer clear and consistent feedback. Leaders who are essentially giving up on those workers who they deem as underperforming, instead of taking the time to tell them how to improve, are failing their staff.

Underperformance is a sign to managers that they are not being as attentive as necessary. The relationship between leader and worker needs to be nourished, and this nourishment comes from communication – through the implementation of a regular feedback session – and from clarity, as only about half of workers actually know what is expected of them.

Communication and clarity are especially important with the rise of hybrid and remote working models. Research shows that employees working from home often receive less performance feedback for their good work than those in the office, and this can be simply due to the fact that remote working removes the chance of bumping into one another. Gone are the days of grabbing someone for a quick chat or catching up by the water cooler. All these little opportunities for micro-feedback sessions are much harder to achieve through Zoom or Teams, as now, a formal effort has to be made to speak to colleagues.

Implementing ways of giving regular feedback to employees who work remotely will help mitigate the risk of quietly firing staff. On top of this, it helps enhance your culture – in the office and digitally – to be open and approachable, which can ultimately better staff engagement and improve the quality and quantity of their output.

If you need guidance on how to avoid falling into the trap of quiet firing, you can get in touch with us here.

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

The recent rise of what is apparently called ‘quiet quitting’ has sparked the need for organizations to re-examine the modern psychological contract between employer and employee.

‘Quiet quitting’, in terms of working with reduced motivation, has always existed since work first began, and usually resulted in the individual leaving to find a new role that inspired them. However, working less hard while looking for a new role is not the same as consciously setting boundaries around your work in order to have a life – which is what I believe the new ‘phenomenon’ actually represents.

Employers risk falling into the trap of conflating demotivated employees – who are in the process of leaving – with those who love their work but are setting boundaries. And what strikes me the most is that ‘quiet quitting’ is a derogative term which is being used to describe, in many cases, employees doing the job that they were hired to do, for the amount of time they were hired to do it.

It is the younger workers who have been described as igniting this quiet revolution in the workplace, opting to operate broadly within the boundaries of their job and not expanding beyond it if they so choose. If they work certain agreed hours, then they do not expect to be contacted before or after those hours except in exceptional circumstances. If they are given a project beyond their job title, they may choose to politely decline if they do not have the capacity or if they were not contracted to do so.

They value time to live their lives, as well as do their work, and this does not mean they are any less dedicated, talented or that their output is reduced.  No one is ‘quitting’ and they should not be accused of such!

They are rejecting the ‘always on’ culture that they have seen work so badly for their parents and older work colleagues. The additional work hours that once were paid as overtime became gradually seen as a badge of honour for the ‘workaholic’, and an expectation by employers as something you had to do if you wanted to ‘get on’ and reach the senior echelons of an organisation. Now with remote working making it possible to work 24/7, working way in excess of your contracted hours has become an expectation that has generated a tidal wave of stress-related mental health issues.

So, why did young people feel the need to push back against the relentless tide of work coming their way?

For one thing, people are working an increasing number of unpaid hours. A global study by ADP Research found that 1 in 10 people work at least 20 extra hours a week unpaid. To add context, they are often working for global organisations which are making millions in profit to give to the shareholders, yet their workers are ‘donating’ swathes of their time for free. Hours being ‘donated’ to organisations by their workers had also doubled in North America, while in the UK, the number of unpaid hours worked in 2021 was equivalent to £27 billion.

The idea of an unpaid overtime-work-ethic has arisen from a toxic mindset that equates commitment and effectiveness with working very long hours and never saying ‘no’. The younger generation are entering into a corporate world with some leaders who believe that giving your ‘all’ to a job (i.e., prioritising your work above everything else in your life including family, friends, hobbies and health) is a good way of measuring productivity and passion.

I believe it is the responsibility of leaders to manage their people resources such that they have sufficient people to deliver what they expect to deliver, not the ‘do more work with less people’ attitude that seems to prevail. Managers also need to support individuals and role model what it means to set boundaries, as well as being alert to when enough is enough.

Knowledge and awareness of the huge impact of overwork and stress on mental and physical health was scarce for previous generations, but we are now much better informed and amongst Gen Z, the stigma attached to discussing wellbeing has largely decreased. And yet, a generation that are more aware of what it means to have a balanced, brain-healthy lifestyle and want to work in a high quality, output-measured way, are having to operate within an outdated working culture.

And so ‘quiet quitting’ was born. Originally starting as a movement in China, ‘quiet quitting’ is a phrase used to describe workers putting in reasonable boundaries between their work and their home time, and rejecting the idea that work has to take over your life. Chinese companies responded by trying to persuade workers that to ‘struggle’ was to achieve a happy life. Younger workers were not convinced.

This is a wake-up call to companies and leaders everywhere, that individuals are deciding that their job cannot consume their entire life. There is both a strong moral and business case for this message needing to be heard:

Morally, companies should not come to rely on the additional cashflow produced through its workers not being paid for the time they are working. This is a fundamental breaking of the work/payment psychological contract. Good resource management does not mean expecting people to work 12 hours but paying them for 8 hours. This ‘discretionary effort’ ethos has got so out of hand that it is no longer the badge of a hardworking and ambitious person, but rather an expectation of all, which is creating a mental health crisis.

In business terms, tired people create tired ideas. Businesses need to recognise that, with the rise of AI taking on repetitive tasks, the next generation of workers will be hired and valued for the quality of their ideas, their innovations, and their thinking. Therefore, we need to work in a way that fosters the best of this thinking. Businesses need to start placing real value on creating environments of mental wellness and brain health, so that they can optimize the best brains and gain a competitive advantage. This is forward-thinking and makes great business sense.

The first steps towards this can be seen in the UK, as the trial for a 4-day working week commenced amongst participating organizations. This was in response to a successful trial in Japan, which found a 40% boost in productivity due to improved wellbeing. A shorter working week acknowledges that a person’s happiness is just as important as their job – having an extra day to indulge in one’s personal life can make all the difference to one’s mental health.

However, there is a fine line to this. As pointed out in the above citation, attempting to cram five days’ worth of work into four can lead to increased feelings of stress and burnout. If companies are shortening the week, they also have a responsibility to decrease the load. It is about playing the long game – productivity will go up despite the loss of a working day because staff will be more rested and motivated. As well as this, their brains will be able to work consistently at an optimal level, creating higher quality output, because they will feel less pressure and have more time to rest.

Henry Ford proved this in 1914 when he upped his workers’ wages and reduced their hours, as well as reducing the work week from 6 to 5 days. Described as a stroke of brilliance, he built a sense of loyalty and pride in his workers and as a result actually boosted productivity.

His son Edsel Ford said, “we believe that in order to live properly every man should have more time to spend with his family”. This seems to have been forgotten in 2022.

The 4-day week suggestion is only one solution. For most businesses currently operating within a five-day working week, it is time to think about shifting the focus from hours being put in, to the work that is being generated. We need to be output-focused whilst being utterly realistic about what any human being can be expected to achieve in the timeframe needed for the desired output.

Neuroscience already informs us what we need to do in order to create optimal brain function. Why do businesses not draw on this wealth of knowledge and create working practices that support this?

Humans are not computers, we cannot operate for hours on end without a marked drop off in our cognitive abilities, as well as a huge decline in our thinking, decision-making and creativity. In the end, overwork and stress can deeply damage mental and physical health, so it is no wonder that younger workers are rejecting this.

As a leader you have the responsibility to hire well, train well and trust your people to do their jobs. Focus on output and quality, whilst being realistic about what a human being can achieve, and resource effectively whilst supporting them to find the best pattern of working to suit their cognitive needs.  A study by Harvard Business Review found that managers who were rated the highest at balancing results with relationships saw 62% of employees willing to give extra effort, while only 3% were ‘quiet quitting’.

Leaders who are implementing policies that promote mental wellness and brain health will need to realise that this means re-evaluating the psychological contract that they have with their employees.

For their mental and physical health, and to reverse this epidemic of stress related illness, people need to be able to switch off from work and embrace a personal life. If this is being encouraged by their employers, then these workers will reward their employers with fresh, inspired, and innovative thinking instead of bad decision making and ‘tired ideas’.

If you would like to discuss implementing mental wellness practices in your workplace and developing brain health programs, get in touch with me at

Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020

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