8 Modern Workplace Trends in 2024

8 Modern Workplace Trends in 2024

Every generation brings something new to the workplace. Employees at different life stages have different expectations, and the approach to the working lifestyle constantly evolves.


Right now, workplace trends introduced by Gen Z are a hot topic. The youngest working generation is shaking things up, placing a strong focus on flexibility, work-life balance, and mental health. 


To understand the generation entering the job market right now, it is essential to be familiar with the workplace trends they stand by. Most of them became loud throughout 2023, but they have grown in strength since then and continue to function as rules guiding them in the professional world. 


As nearly half of our users are Gen Zs, we know what their priorities are, and what drives them in their careers. We understand their point of view, and want to help employers understand them as well.


We have already discussed top HR trends in 2024. Now, let's dive into the modern workplace trends you should be aware of.



Modern Workplace Trends in 2024


  1. Shift shock
  2. Career cushioning
  3. Quiet quitting
  4. Lazy girl jobs
  5. Quiet ambition
  6. Quiet firing
  7. Boomerang employees
  8. Bare minimum Mondays 


  1. Shift shock


Shift shock occurs when an employee realises that their new job isn’t what they expected it to be. This may be the result of a poorly written job description, flawed communication during the recruitment process, or considerable disparities between workers’ and employers’ expectations.


A famous survey by Muse on this topic was published almost 2 years ago, but it continues to be broadly discussed, having been quoted in a Forbes article just last week. This demonstrates that even though some trends are attributed to Gen Z and became loud in 2023, they have actually been around for a while now. 


Shift shock is not exactly good press for a company. The term has a negative connotation, so employers should avoid having it used concerning their business.


What can employers do?


The popularity of shift shock proves that the young generations put a heavy focus on transparency and clarity. Businesses must ensure open communication, provide clear job descriptions, and fulfil their promises to avoid backlash from Gen Z workers. 


  1. Career cushioning


Simply put, career cushioning is the practice of looking for new opportunities while still employed. Workers stay up to date with the tumultuous job market and keep their eye on lucrative vacancies to maintain their job security. 


This workplace trend is an answer to the unstable economy and mass layoffs that have been ruling the job market for several months now. Employees don’t feel safe at any time and are simply afraid to put all their eggs in one basket.


Career cushioning shouldn’t be interpreted as a lack of loyalty to the employer. It is true that while older generations used to be loyal to their career progression, the younger ones are mostly loyal to themselves. But they shouldn’t be blamed, given the lack of stability in the job market nowadays. 


What can employers do?


Understandably, no employer resorts to mass layoffs out of spite. Difficult decisions are often due to factors outside of the business owners’ hands, such as the situation on the market. But employees appreciate all forms of effort to ensure their job security - for example permanent contracts, involvement in long-term plans projects, or detailed career progression plans. 


  1. Quiet quitting


This term can be misleading because it doesn’t actually refer to employees quitting their jobs. Quiet quitting is about doing the bare minimum in one’s work - putting in only as much time and effort as necessary. 


The phenomenon of quiet quitting is in stark contrast with the idea of going above and beyond, which seemed to lead Baby Boomers and Generation X. Gen Zs, after years of watching their parents live to work instead of working to live and getting burnt out, decided that they don’t want to follow in their footsteps. 


Turning one extreme into another, they coined the term “quiet quitting”, which, according to the Los Angeles Times, was used for the first time in 2022 by a career coach on TikTok and YouTube. However, there is much debate around the fact whether quiet quitting is a new phenomenon or not. Many claim it has been around for many years now, but just wasn’t given an official name until recently. 


What can employers do?


Jim Harter boldly stated in his article for Gallup that quiet quitting is the result of bad management. But it’s not the issue of managers not holding enough surveillance over employees or setting goals that aren’t ambitious enough.


It’s quite the opposite.


Quiet quitting is the response to too much pressure and unachievable quotas leading employees to a quick burnout. Young employees discover quickly on in their careers that the better their results, the more they will be expected to deliver in a never-ending cycle. As a result, they’d rather underperform than spread themselves too thin under excessive expectations. 


A solution to the problem of quiet quitting is to stop “rewarding” good results by constantly raising the bar. Steady improvement is important, but the measures have to be kept realistic. 


Employees would also like their efforts to be noticed and acknowledged. If they feel like instead of being praised for their satisfactory performance, they will be pushed harder, they will simply stop trying. 


  1. Lazy girl jobs 


This workplace trend is loosely connected to quiet quitting. Lazy girl jobs are roles where employees keep healthy working hours, receive a decent salary, and don’t have to break their backs to meet the quota or support themselves. 


Lazy girl jobs are all about work-life balance. Older generations entered the professional world believing that they would be adequately rewarded if they worked hard enough. Once their children joined the workforce, they were welcomed by a much more complicated environment.


Gen Zs - and many Millenials - are disillusioned with the promise of a lucrative life resulting from centring everything they are around work in the current unstable economy. They don’t want to be part of the hustle culture, but at the same time, they don’t think keeping a healthy work-life balance should come at the cost of struggling to pay their bills.


There is a lot of controversy surrounding the word “lazy”, but the trend is not about young workers wanting to slack off. Understanding that work is only one element of life is not the same as being indolent or privileged. The lazy girl jobs movement, in its purest sense, is about avoiding burnout and living a life one is happy with.


What can employers do?


Work-life balance is one of job seekers’ main priorities, which means it should also become the top priority of the employers looking to hire them. Flexible hours and hybrid working schedules are no longer an option, but a must in a job description. 


Reviewing salaries is another step businesses can take to address the lazy girl jobs trend. Nowadays, wages often struggle to keep up with the rapidly rising costs of living. Young employees who can’t yet count on high-paid managerial positions desire financial independence in a demanding economy. 


  1. Quiet ambition


Another term following the line of “quiet” workplace trends. Quiet ambition is a phenomenon when an employee fulfils his or her own professional goals alongside the company’s.


This doesn’t mean that employees work less hard, or use the company for personal gain. It simply means that workers are tired of building their lives around work - they want to live the other way round now. 


Gen Zs want jobs where they won’t feel like parts of a machine working towards corporate success. They want to be given a chance to be individuals and to achieve their own goals - whatever they might be.


In an ideal world, this would always be the case, but it wasn’t until recently that workers became bold enough to speak about this basic need out loud. Quiet ambition is about working in concordance with oneself and the company’s mission. 


What can employers do?


Everyone has a different definition of success. Embracing individualism may be difficult in large enterprises, but an attempt must be made by employers who wish to appeal to the younger generations. 


Offering a selection of personalised courses is a good way to start. Training should be in line with one’s career path, but employees would like to feel like they have a choice in what they learn and how. 


In smaller companies, where an individual approach to each employee is possible, conversations can be carried out with each worker about their own professional goals and a vision of their future in the company over the next few years. 


  1. Quiet firing


Quiet firing is a term regarding leadership. Managers and leaders, it concerns you, but are you aware of what it means?


In a way, quiet firing is the opposite of quiet quitting. Quiet quitters are employees who stay in their job, but get disengaged with their work and keep their performance to a bare minimum for various reasons. Quiet firing, on the other hand, is when the management doesn’t put in enough effort.


So, quiet firing doesn’t relate to leaders actively firing employees. Rather, it is about failing to fulfil workers’ expectations, offer adequate options for career development, provide satisfactory training, or any kind of basic support. This results in employee dissatisfaction and drives them to leave the organisation in search of better opportunities.


What can employers do?


Investing in a complex onboarding process pays off. An employee who is feeling lost will underperform and eventually quit. Making sure every new hire is correctly onboarded benefits both parties.


Providing access to continuous training remains crucial even once onboarding is over. Professionals who are serious about their careers want to constantly develop, and expect their employer to provide opportunities to do so. 


Employee upskilling keeps employees happy and improves the quality of their performance. If they are satisfied with their career development, employers can avoid quiet firing. 


  1. Boomerang employees


This workplace trend is far from new, but its name may be quite recent. Boomerang employees are workers who have previously quit their jobs to later return to the same employer. 


This phenomenon has perhaps been more prominent in the recent years. One of the reasons is the growing focus on professional well-being and tailoring the job to one’s life, not the other way around. 


Many employees become disillusioned with their current role and start looking for new opportunities which might offer them more flexible working hours or better pay. But sadly, many job descriptions don’t match the actual job nowadays, leading to shift shock. Workers realise that their new position isn’t what they imagined and start missing their previous one.


Other people might experience quiet firing, and leave a new employer when they don’t fulfil their expectations. Unfortunately, it is also not uncommon to get laid off soon after starting a brand-new job. 


Such negative experiences sometimes make workers reflect on their previous roles and become boomerang employees when they realise they had actually been quite happy in them.


What can employers do?


Leaders should keep their minds open to the idea of re-hiring an employee, especially if they have proven to be a valuable worker. 


Better yet, perhaps more focus should be placed on preventing employees from leaving in the first place by providing decent salaries, a healthy work environment, adequate working conditions, and satisfactory opportunities for career growth. 


  1. Bare minimum Mondays


The last workplace trend we will discuss sounds worse than it actually is. It is not as popular as lazy girl jobs or quiet quitting, but it does get mentioned among Gen Zs every now and then.


Bare minimum Mondays happen when workers give themselves some time to ease back into work after the weekend. This doesn’t mean they don’t do any substantial work - they just hold off heavier tasks and focus on more friendly ones such as admin to slowly build up their productivity. 


This workplace trend arose from the growing importance of mental health care in the workplace. Many people noticed they would get so stressed over the amount of workload waiting on them on Monday over the weekend, it would impact their mental health. 


So, bare minimum Mondays are an attempt at easing anxiety and when the idea is not abused, the trend is not at all harmful. An article in the Guardian explains this phenomenon in a humorous way.


What can employers do?


Mondays are often the most hectic days in a modern workplace. They are full of meetings, answering emails, returning phone calls, and other forms of catching up after putting professional life on hold for two whole days. 


If possible, leaders can schedule meetings that aren’t absolutely essential for other days of the week. Enforcing better time management strategies can also take some stress off employees, who would be informed about looming deadlines with plenty of time to do their work. 


Why should employers care?


Some of the workplace trends discussed in this article pose a question: why should we care? After all, Gen Zs are still young - they have yet to learn that the professional world doesn’t work in the way every individual wants it to. 


So, why should global leaders change their policies to please a generation that is only just entering the job market?


Well, they might only be starting their way down their career paths, but Gen Z already makes up 27% of the global workforce. This means that nearly 1 in 3 employees are representatives of Generation Z. 


What’s more, according to PwC, Gen Zs and Millenials together are expected to make up around 58% of the global workforce by 2030. In just 6 short years, those young people reshaping the working landscape with their trends and ideas will be in a majority.


The answer; therefore, is quite simple. Employers should care if they wish to keep sourcing new talent. The two youngest generations are particularly adamant about not accepting working conditions they don’t agree with and openly boycotting companies that rub them the wrong way.


Businesses that don’t keep up with current workplace trends and adapt to accommodate the new generational needs will be brutally discarded by a majority of the workforce very soon.


Change takes time, so the sooner employers start taking into consideration the changing dynamics of the professional world, the better prepared they will be when Gen Zs and Millenials take over the workforce.


These are some of the most popular workplace trends in 2024. They are reinforced by employees, but employers need to be aware and keep up with them if they want to welcome young candidates into their workforce.


This can be a big shift for some, as the values of Generation Z are much different from the needs of their parents and grandparents, which leaders in the professional world have already grown used to. 


But businesses can set themselves up for great success by meeting young employees in the middle and demonstrating that they are open to innovation.