First quiet quitting, now 'lazy girl jobs' – what are they and how can HR manage them?

Employers need to be aware of the rising trend of employees prioritising life over work. Andrew Whiteaker reports

‘Lazy girl jobs’ – an extension of quiet quitting, and close cousin of ‘bare minimum Mondays’ – is the latest TikTok-inspired viral workplace trend.

It refers to well-paid, flexible jobs, where employees prioritise the ‘life’ component of work-life balance. Problematic gendered language aside, what does HR need to know about this?   

Why are we seeing the rise of lazy girl jobs now?  

We’re seeing Gen Z come into the workplace with an entirely different set of values and attitudinal differences when it comes to career goals – an extension of millennials’ work-life balance expectations.

The lazy girl job sees people knowing what their point of enough-ness is. So, this means opting for competence over peak performance, mental health over burnout, task completion over presenteeism. 

There’s a cultural shift at play too. Post-Covid, the uncertainty of the cost-of-living crisis, climate anxiety, all combine to make us really reassess our values and priorities.

I’m seeing young colleagues really question what they want out of life and how much they’re prepared to sacrifice in their day-to-day for their careers. They don’t necessarily see their identity tied up with work the way previous generations do.

Lazy girl jobs and workplace culture 

‘The ‘lazy girl job’ is essentially an extension of ‘quiet quitting’. Only this time, employees are embracing it openly, unapologetically in the full light of the workday.

To Gen X-ers, Gen Z and millennials appear to have more language around workplace elements like boundaries, mental health and psychological safety. This connects to that urge for employees to prioritise their own values, personal priorities and wellbeing over the needs set out by their employer. Many are simply not prepared to over-deliver at work in a way that compromises wellbeing or their personal life.

What’s the long-term impact of this trend? 

We expect to see a recalibration of our performance-driven, cult-of-busy culture, rather than the complete death of ambition. For employers and HR it’s about managing mutual expectations.

For example, highly driven managers, committed to business performance and productivity, may potentially struggle to understand a colleague’s decision to stay firmly within their job description. The narrative and expectation around going the extra mile will shift.

This is paired with other workplace shifts: presenteeism, for example. Whereas historically, visibility has been a key productivity metric, the pandemic put paid to this. Instead of the assumption that working hard means a 10-hour day at your office desk, going to the gym or for a walk to break up your day and support your personal productivity – on your terms – has been completely normalised.

What this means for HR

For HR, the arrival of the ‘lazy girl job’ means being clear on what ‘enough’ is for a role to be successfully delivered.

Start by setting expectations around performance and ensure clear communication around what a particular role requires. Employers will want to feel that they are getting value and avoid any temptation to consider performance management processes, for instance, where an individual is complying with their job description but not meeting an employer’s expectations. 

We’re all thinking differently about our futures. The pandemic-induced way of white-collar working, whether it’s hybrid or remote, has allowed more autonomy and flexibility in our workplaces – as increasingly employees choose to devote more energy to their lives outside of work – even for those of us committed to our careers.

Andrew Whiteaker is a partner and head of the employment team at Boyes Turner