In recent years, the global workforce has undergone significant changes. Technology has disrupted traditional work arrangements, and the pandemic has accelerated these changes even further. As a result, mental health and employee well-being have become crucial considerations for organisations, and new terms have emerged to reflect their importance.
Let's take a look at five buzzwords related to the workplace that are currently relevant and what they mean.
1. Rage Applying
Rage applying is a phenomenon where unhappy employees aggressively apply for multiple jobs in the hopes of leaving their current job as soon as possible. The rise of online job applications has also played a part in fueling this trend. However, Zamo Mbele, a clinical psychologist, suggests caution before adopting this approach. While instant gratification seems to be a cultural priority in today's world, it may not be applicable to work.
"I think that there’s a risk that the immediate and instant culture of today gets applied to something that is not immediate or instant, like work – which is not so transient. And I wonder if there’s sometimes a conflation between that which can be very instant and quick and something that might need a lot more contemplation," Mbele says.
He adds that applying for jobs out of rage or strong emotion may not be the best approach. Instead, he advises individuals to adopt a balanced mind state that considers their emotions, thoughts, and the reality of their situation. He recommends slowing down and searching for work that's more closely aligned with your goals and values rather than going for what ever seems to be available.
2. Quiet Quitting
Quiet quitting refers to when employees do the absolute minimum required for their job just to get through the day and put no additional time or effort into their work. Rather than formally resigning, they often disengage from their work and work environment.
A 2022 survey done by the Society for Human Resource Management in the US found that 51% of HR professionals are concerned about quiet quitting, and 83% of those concerned believe that this is decreasing employee morale, 70% believe it’s affecting productivity, and 43% believe that employee productivity - in general - is a major concern for many organisations right now.
Resenteeism is when employees show up for work, but are emotionally disconnected and disengaged from it. They might not be rage applying, but are gradually growing bitter and resentful towards their job or organisation in a way that shows. Mbele says that this can often result in decreased productivity and morale. He warns that resentment is a serious emotion that can breed a whole host of "unwell states that can become psychiatric in presentation".
"With resenteeism, it’s important to be curious about and interrogate where exactly it stems from," he says, adding that resentment can be also be helpful. "Where it’s helpful, is that it tells us that we’re not in the ordinariness of feeling anger or disappointment – it tells us that something big is going on. It’s important for the individual to really dig deep and think 'what is it about this situation that’s leaving me feeling like this?' and to work towards addressing the root problem."
4. Bare Minimum Monday
Bare Minimum Monday is a phenomenon where employees decide to do the bare minimum work required on Monday, often as a way to ease the anxiety that comes with the beginning of the week. The term was popularised by TikToker Marisa Jo and could include things like only starting work at midday, not completing certain tasks, etc.
In instances where one practices "Bare Minimum Monday" as a way to boost mental health, Mbele reckons that one might only be dealing with the symptom – which is not sustainable – rather than the root.
"If you’re struggling with your Mondays to the extent where you have to resort to doing the bare minimum as a way to care for your mental health, it’s possible that there’s a bigger issue affecting your mental health, and it’s important to try and find out what that is and deal with the root cause instead."
5. Boomerang employees
Boomerang employees are individuals who leave a company, either voluntarily or involuntarily, and then return to the same company at a later time. While this is not a new phenomenon, the trend has become increasingly common in today’s gig economy, where individuals frequently move between different companies and projects.
In some cases, boomerang employees may return to a former employer because they have developed new skills or gained valuable experience elsewhere and want to bring those skills back to their previous company.
Overall, the changing nature of work has created new challenges and opportunities for employees and employers alike. By staying aware of these trends and adapting to them, organisations can create a more flexible and supportive work environment, while employees can build diverse skills and experiences that will serve them well in the future.
"The first thing an organisation should do is to observe; to take time and look at what's changing and what employees are saying about those changes. They should not rely on the way things were because that can create a culture that is very insensitive to the needs of itself and its people," Mbele advises.