Why we need to reinvent ‘work’ in the age of quiet quitting and great resignations

- September 6, 2022 3 MIN READ

While this year has brought many challenges it has also created a new era of employee positivity, writes Chris Dahl, co-CEO at Pin Payments. As seen with the quiet quitting movement and great resignation, the concept of work needs re-imagining.

‘Work’ as a notion has been completely disrupted these past two years. Staff are now demanding greater flexibility, understanding and balance from their employment. In fact, the concept of work created much debate last week at the Jobs and Skills Summit, as industry leaders came together to collaborate on issues surrounding the skills and jobs crisis.

These changes echo widespread global sentiments regarding ‘work’, which were seen through the Great March Resignation. More recently, the ‘quiet quitting’ concept coined by TikTokker @zkchillin, hammers home the (not new) idea that “work is not your life”.

This employee mindset shift was discussed at the Summit and changes were proposed to the Fair Work Act. These allow for increased flexibility and bargaining powers for staff. While such changes mark an exciting period ahead, they also signal to business leaders a greater need to redefine modern workplaces to reflect societal values. So, where do businesses start?

Reinventing the concept of work to increase happiness

Retaining great staff in 2022 requires a creative and empathetic business approach, which considers employees’ mental and physical wellbeing. Future workplaces should be redesigned to fit hybrid work models, and employees need to feel a sense of personal satisfaction from their work. Investing in your staff must go beyond offering professional development to include activities surrounding wellness, inclusivity and education.

Many workplaces now offer services that go above and beyond to improve the wellbeing of staff. Such as online education courses, meditation classes and care packages to boost morale. Likewise, some employers such as BrewDog Brewery, Prosple and Finder have implemented ‘life leave’ days as staff incentives. These include pawternity (days off for new pets), unlimited leave policies, additional compassionate leave and extra maternity/paternity leave.

While this year has brought many challenges it has also created a new era of employee positivity. Staff now have a greater input into the design of their own work lives, as we’ve seen with the ‘quiet quitting’ movement and great resignation. We spend most of our life working, yet up until this point, we’ve had little control over how that looks. Introducing initiatives that make your staff feel more relaxed and engaged will foster a better environment for wellness and productivity, on top of increased flexibility surrounding working models.

Despite this, while some businesses are embracing changing work models, others are returning to pre-pandemic ways of working. They claim traditional models are better for productivity. 

Traditional office models vs the new work order

Elon Musk’s controversial statement mandating staff return to the office or quit, has created much debate surrounding which working model is best for happiness and productivity.

While research does support the idea that hybrid work makes staff happier and more productive, the employee mindset shift shows that more must be done to make this model inclusive and collaborative. Many people predicted in 2022 we’d have no more offices, yet this wasn’t the case. Many people still enjoy working out of an office – just not every day.

To counteract this, we’re starting to see the concept of an ‘office’ change and merge with aspects of home. For instance, some workplaces are now incorporating architectural aspects of home into their designs to increase staff happiness. Like comfortable seating, warm lighting, curtains, indoor plants, outdoor seating, plush carpet and noise reduction/sound absorbing materials like partitions and rugs.

With reforms made in the recent Summit across migration, education, workplace bargaining, employee contracts and legal protections for workplace flexibility, it’s clear we need to reinvent ‘work’. The traditional notion of what work looks like will be disrupted.

And while there’s no clear-cut answer on how to re-imagine the ‘best’ workplace, it’s now crystal clear that business leaders must consider the changing wants and needs of their employees and amend their cultural values, policies and attitudes accordingly.

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Now read this:

3 ways to seamlessly return to the hybrid office

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