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Has ‘girl boss’ given way to ‘lazy girl’? The generational shift in the workplace

Companies have to adapt. Now more than ever, we have to enable employees to succeed in a more autonomous and self-guided way.

Sarah Sklenicka feels 'more confident' about finding employment after working with MAGMA
Sarah Sklenicka feels 'more confident' about finding employment after working with MAGMA - Copyright AFP/File Philip FONG
Sarah Sklenicka feels 'more confident' about finding employment after working with MAGMA - Copyright AFP/File Philip FONG

Seemingly in the years since the coronavirus lockdowns, younger generations of workers have been increasingly vocal in questioning the ideal of work and the necessity to work all of the hours necessary. This is manifest in a current craze on social media – so-called ‘lazy girl jobs’.

For Gen Z, the ‘lazy girl job’ is the opposite of the millennial ‘girl boss’ (the idea of working the hours necessary in order to succeeded). Advocates for the ‘lazy girl’ approach see more value in clocking out exactly at 5, working remotely, and receiving a comfortable salary that affords a relatively high amount of financial freedom for a moderate amount of work.

What does this trend reveal?

Looking into this new workplace demographic are two experts from Betterworks: CEO, Doug Dennerline, and VP of HR Transformation, Jamie Aitken.

Dennerline draws a parallel with another workplace trend that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic: “Similar to quiet quitting, the ‘lazy girl’ trend sounds a lot like healthy boundaries. So is this concept a good or bad thing? Should HR leaders be concerned? It boils down to the single-most valuable lesson the pandemic already taught us: managing employees is not what it used to be.”

By this he explains: “Companies have to adapt. Now more than ever, we have to enable employees to succeed in a more autonomous and self-guided way, and part of that is integrating work into employees’ lives, not life into their work.”

In terms of addressing this workplace factor, Dennerline recommends: “It’s paramount that business leaders put the welfare and health of their workers and their families above everything else. Every leader is doing their best to hire smart, motivated, talented people. Treating them with care and fairness can go a long way toward prompting people to give their all at work. If they have no purpose outside of work, motivation is guaranteed to be low. In fact, managers may find that their employees will be more engaged at work when they have interesting, fulfilling lives outside of it, when they have time to recharge, and when they can explore other interests.”

Aitken places the topic in the wider social context: “The recent ‘lazy girl’ TikTok essentially ties back to the burnout culture that can negatively impact productivity, performance, and well-being. Rather than seeing this trend as an endorsement of unproductive behaviour, it’s a good reminder for HR and business leaders to assess their approach to performance management.”

This infers a more nuanced approach to the art of HR, observes Aitken: “By understanding that employees can achieve their best results when they have the space to recharge and when their well-being is prioritized, we can create an environment that encourages growth, creativity, and overall success.”

Aitken further recommends: “Embracing performance enablement also allows leaders to equip their workforce with the tools, resources, and support they need to excel in their roles; it’s about emphasizing work-life balance, offering opportunities for skill enhancement, and promoting open and ongoing communication. It goes beyond merely pushing for productivity or checking in once a year in an annual review — and instead focuses on fostering a culture of continuous improvement and personal development.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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