‘Quiet vacations’ are the latest way millennials are rebelling against individual work.

Employees better make sure their Zoom backgrounds are dimmed enough—the “quiet vacation” secret is out. Employees, especially millennials, are pushing the boundaries of remote work, a new report finds. Instead of telling employers they’re taking time off, workers pretend to work remotely or go on vacation.

According to the Harris Poll Out-of-office culture statement In a May survey of 1,170 American adults, 37% of millennial workers said they took time off without telling their supervisors or managers.

“They figure out how to get the right work-life balance, but that happens behind the scenes,” said Libby Rodney, chief strategy officer at Harris Poll. told CNBC. “It’s not exactly a quiet getaway, but more like a quiet vacation.”

Millennials, who make up nearly 40% of the workforce, have gone to ridiculous lengths to give their employers the impression they’re still employed, according to a Harris Poll report. Nearly 40% said they show their computer mouse when they are active on the Internet, and many said they sent emails outside of work hours to create the illusion that they were working overtime.

“Instead of worrying whether you’ll ruffle your employer’s feathers during a tight economic quarter, millennials are doing what they have to do to take their vacation,” Rodney said. Good luck.

But, for many of these workers, the baggage of guilt and stress is the price of feathers. A Harris Poll report indicates that most employees are happy with the amount of paid time off they are allotted, suggesting that the preference for quiet time off is not a policy issue, but rather a cultural one. Nearly half of survey respondents, including 61% of Millennials and 58% of Gen Z, said they were nervous about requesting a vacation. Some of the biggest reasons are the pressure to always respond to work inquiries and the guilt about leaving the rest of the work to colleagues.

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The desire for a quiet vacation ultimately highlights a new form of worker anxiety that emerged from the pandemic, Rodney observed. There is a gap between the organizational culture young workers want and the culture their older managers continue to enforce.

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

A workspace is partitioned

Despite being four years removed from the start of the pandemic, CEOs Resolute in their opposition During remote work, the employee feels a loss of control over supervision and, subsequently, a sense of loss of status as the employer. Last October, 62% of CEOs were adamant that all workers should return to the office by 2026, a lofty goal that has fallen short. Meanwhile, 90% are office workers According to a Gallup poll conducted in the same month, they said they were not interested in returning to the pre-Covid work culture.

Further sowing discord among workers is employee innovation Boss behavior is toxic46% of employees rated their worst boss as “incompetent” or “unsupportive”. June 2023 Census From Perceptyx, an employee intelligence company. Workplace fragmentation has led to a mismatched culture of workers imbibing the value of work-life balance that the pandemic has created, while companies try to maintain the status quo.

“While our values ​​and American labor values ​​have changed, the office culture has not,” Rodney said. “The experience and expectations are as if the pandemic never happened.”

Rodney sympathizes with companies stuck in old ways. In times of economic crisis, there is an option to revert to previous norms. For employers, this is the model that worked in the past, with CEOs implementing old-guard corporate practices such as encouraging employees to work in-person and time off.

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But changes are afoot to accommodate the next generation of workers who demand flexibility: Most companies, even with traditional workplace values, Agreed to mixed work, and employee attitudes are also changing. For the first time since the pandemic, Americans prefer hybrid over remote work, not the result of free enterprise pizzas but an adjustment to new norms.

Firms have good incentives to continue to adapt. Gen Z is set Outnumbering its baby-boomer counterparts In this year’s workforce, companies have no choice but to adapt to its changing demands.

“There’s probably going to be another talent war where Gen Z and the companies that put millennial priorities and work-life balance at the top—those are the signals that will attract the next market talent,” Rodney said.

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