“Silent vacations” are the latest way millennials are rebelling against in-person work

Employees better make sure their Zoom backgrounds are inconspicuous enough – the secret to a ‘quiet holiday’ has been revealed. A new report finds that employees, especially millennials, are pushing the boundaries of remote work. Instead of telling their bosses that they are taking a vacation, employees play obsessive roles or go on vacation under the guise of remote work.

According to a Harris poll Out-of-office culture report In a May survey of 1,170 U.S. adult employees, 37% of millennial workers said they had taken time off without telling their supervisors or managers.

“They will figure out how to achieve the right work-life balance, but that happens behind the scenes,” says Libby Rodney, chief strategy officer at The Harris Poll. He told CNBC. “It’s not quite a quiet vacation, but more like a quiet vacation.”

Millennials, who make up nearly 40% of the workforce, have gone to futile efforts to give their bosses the impression they’re still employed, according to a Harris Poll report. Nearly 40% of participants reported that they shook their computer mouse to show that they were active online, and many said that they sent emails outside of work hours to create the illusion that they were working overtime.

“Instead of tackling it head-on and worrying about whether you’ll upset your boss during a tight economic quarter, millennials are just doing what they have to do for their vacation,” Rodney said. luck.

But the cost of not having ruffled feathers is the burden of guilt and psychological stress for many of these workers. The Harris Poll report indicates that most employees are happy with the amount of paid leave they are allotted, suggesting that the desire for quiet time off is not a political issue, but rather a cultural issue. Nearly half of survey respondents, including 61% of Millennials and 58% of Generation Z, said they felt nervous about asking for time off. Feeling pressure to always respond to work inquiries and feeling guilty about leaving work scraps for colleagues were the biggest reasons behind this.

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Rodney noted that the desire for quiet vacations ultimately highlights a new form of worker anxiety that has emerged as a result of the pandemic. There is a gap between the company culture that young workers want, and the one that their older managers continue to impose.

“It’s certainly not a healthy system, but it’s a system that’s happening with the American worker right now,” she said.

The workplace is divided

Although it has been four years since the start of the pandemic, so have CEOs Standing firm in their disagreement Due to remote work, the feeling of losing control over the employee’s supervision and thus losing his position as a boss. Last October, 62% of CEOs were adamant that all employees would return to the office by 2026, a lofty goal that has since failed. while, 90% of office workers Those surveyed in the same month said they were not interested in returning to a pre-coronavirus work culture, according to a Gallup poll.

Further sowing the seeds of labor opposition is employees finding themselves Behavior of toxic bosseswith 46% of employees declaring their worst manager to be “incompetent” or “unsupportive,” according to June 2023 survey From employee vision company Perceptyx. The workplace divide has led to a mismatched culture among workers internalizing the value of work-life balance instilled by the pandemic, while companies have tried to maintain the status quo.

“The office culture hasn’t changed, although our values ​​and the values ​​of American workers have,” Rodney said. “The experience and outlook is almost as if the pandemic never happened.”

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Rodney is sympathetic to companies stuck in old ways. In times of economic stress, there is a tendency to return to previous standards. For employers, this means CEOs enforcing old company practices, such as making employees work in-person and discouraging them from taking vacation, because it’s a model that has worked in the past.

But the changes needed to accommodate the next generation of workers demanding flexibility are happening now: most companies, even with traditional workplace values, have done so. Delivered for hybrid actionAnd employees’ attitudes are changing, too. For the first time since the pandemic, Americans are favoring hybrid work over remote work, a change that is not the result of free company pizza, but rather an adjustment to new norms.

There are good incentives for companies to continue adapting. Generation Z is set on Outnumbering her baby boomer counterparts in the workforce this year, leaving companies with no choice but to submit to their changing demands.

“There will likely be another talent war, where companies that put Gen Z and Millennial priorities at the forefront, and put work-life balance at the forefront — will be the signals of what attracts talent coming into the market,” Rodney said.

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