Bengaluru: Over the past year, there has been a significant change in the employment sector. The pandemic introduced us to ideas like remote work, hybrid work, and work-from-home, but the post-pandemic environment has its own set of buzzwords to offer. Buzzwords like moonlighting, quiet quitting, and great resignation, hustle culture have developed into major topics of discussion.
More than ever, many workers now place a high priority on work-life balance. Start-ups and corporate giants both have been pushed to reconsider and alter their policies as a result of the frequent differences that exist between employers and employees on each of these job patterns.
Experts and professionals comment on the reasons behind the emergence of each of these trends.
Quiet quitting is the practice of declining to perform tasks that are outside of one’s given responsibilities and reducing one’s psychological commitment to work. Employees are less likely to participate in activities that psychologists refer to as citizenship behaviours, such as staying late, arriving early, or attending meetings that are not required. They simply aren’t receptive to going above and beyond, even while they aren’t willing to do less.
Multiple cultural factors influence this says Priyanka Manchanda, Organizational Psychologist, YourDOST. “It may be lack of belonging at work, lack of appreciation or recognition at work, not equitable pay, unjust/unfair treatment, poor alignment with the vision, purpose and values of the organisation, questioning – what is the outcome of doing this? “Why should I do this? What will I get? And even poor interpersonal relationships at work. Some individual factors include need and preference for work-life balance, stress, burnout, to reclaim the idea of life,” she said.
“Ever since the pandemic – people have realized the importance of a life beyond work, the importance of spending time with loved ones and in personal space. This was the same reason why great resignation was also a trend in India,” added Priyanka.
If the behavior is triggered due to something that happened at the work place, it will definitely affect their mental health. “If it is coming from a space of personal choice then it may actually help people feel happier, and connected with their families or the sense of leading a fulfilling life and paying attention to important areas of life. However, if it is coming as a response to something that may have happened at the workplace, then it may lead to lower engagement and job satisfaction in the workplace, in addition to impacted creativity, initiative and innovation,” she explained.
In order to solve this, organizations should be able to specify what they expect their employees to accomplish and why. “Do they need everyone available for post-working hours? If yes, answer the WHY. What would make someone go above and beyond? Is that an expectation for all times, or sometimes? Also, identify the signs of quiet quitting and evaluate where they may be coming from. Motivational factors, flexible options, autonomy, choice, responsibility, and benefits in addition to a salary package.” Appreciation for efforts should also happen from time to time, according to Priyanka Manchanda.
Hustle culture is a setting where people are encouraged to put in longer hours and even work during free time such as time offs and weekends.
Employees practice this due to multiple reasons. “Perception of productivity, perception of growth, career goals, financial goals, social media and mainstream media trends, what peers are doing, desire for higher salary, a better promotion, to get a go-ahead and so on,” she said.
It could have a detrimental impact on both physical and mental health if it becomes toxic. “If people always compete with one another, they might focus more on what they can accomplish than the organization’s collective goals. Such a work culture will hamper the overall productivity of the workplace. Burnout, high blood pressure, decreased energy and exhaustion of mental resources down the line and hampered relationships in personal life may occur due to this.”
While some people succumb to the hustle culture, others may just choose to quit. “Many companies today are attracting employees with the promise of flexible hours and healthy work culture,” she continued.
“As an organization, it is important to avoid promoting the idea of working beyond work hours or weekends every time when it’s not necessarily required,” she added.
A person moonlights when they take on additional jobs or work commitments on top of their primary job.
“Till the time an employee’s second commitment is not conflicting with the first job, it may not be a problem. Also, if it is not about serving the same clients or working for direct competitors at the same time, or using the intellectual property of the organisation, it can be accommodated,” emphasized Priyanka.
However, problems could occur if an employee’s productivity is hampered and other matters take precedence. “The reason why employees do it can be similar to the factors contributing to the hustle culture. Other factors include developing new hobbies, leading a purposeful life, earning money, finding joy in their interests and so on,” she added.
Despite the fact that some people think this makes them more productive, scientific evidence contradicts this. “Studies show that working overly long hours, especially shifting from one job to another during odd intervals results in poorer mental health and increased anxiety. The output may be hampered and with little regard to the quality of the work churned out,” she said.
Figure out the balance between transparency, autonomy and norms. “Research shows Gen X, Gen Z and beyond don’t prefer being bound by contracts or norms. Instead, practice transparency, and encourage accountability,” she concluded.
There are various reasons behind the rise in these trends however, the employers need to know that most people just work to make ends meet, and few for money, says Jayanth BP
“There is definitely no problem if someone has another job that is unrelated to their primary job. We agree to work for 9 hours each day, five days per week, and any additional time (personal time) can be used however the individual sees fit It shouldn’t matter to the employer unless it directly affects them (Eg: Working for a direct competition).Despite the quiet quitting, I don’t believe that minimum attempts are effective;they might keep the person for 3-6 months before letting them go. In contrast to other cultures, we have made it acceptable to overwork. The founders and managers who started this were largely to blame because they demanded 200% effort from everyone. The senior management needs to take charge and make sure the managers aren’t committing to tight deadlines,” he continued.
While some people who have to meet their financial needs indulge in moonlighting, others are driven to work as their work load may be lower, according to Amit (name changed).
“When an employee is collaborating directly with the competitor moonlighting become a concern. Meanwhile inadequate pay, monotonous work or toxic team/boss is the cause of the quiet quitting. The company needs to take the initiative and reward loyal workers instead of just giving them the minimum wage,” he added.