Are Gen Z Workers Rejecting Hustle Culture?

Britain’s Gen Z workers are rejecting hustle culture and embracing a healthier work-life balance. Post-pandemic, we saw one of the biggest shifts in the workplace with the surge in remote working and workers seeking a better balance.

Gen Z are continuing to change the landscape of the workplace with their approach to employment. Research from job site Adzuna has shown an increase in searches for roles with flexibility, out-of-office work, and fewer responsibilities such as overtime.

The same data also showed that there is greater interest in junior roles that pay at least £35,000 a year, offering a healthier work-life balance.

Employers might be mistaken in assuming that offering roles that don’t provide benefits or a healthy work-life balance would be enough especially amid a cost of living crisis. However, the current economic climate is a factor in Gen Z workers seeking out lower-stress jobs.

Are Gen Z ‘Lazy’?

If you’re not on this side of TikTok (or TikTok in general) then you might have missed the viral hashtag #lazygirljob. Coined by TikToker Gabrielle Judge, she encouraged finding a remote job with solid pay and few responsibilities.

When probed about it she says that it actually has nothing to do with being ‘lazy’, but rather a way to look after your physical and mental wellbeing. She also says that what these types of jobs look like will be different for everyone as each individual has their own circumstances and needs.

What’s interesting about this is that it illustrates a growing sense within the workplace that uniform ways of working are no longer acceptable to younger generations. Whereas previous generations might have normalised overtime, strict working hours, and 5 days a week in the office, Gen Z and millennials have rejected these working patterns.

Gen Z and millennials have become empowered in the workplace and the power dynamic between employer and employee has shifted. Employees are now looking to vet companies, the work-life balance, and company culture when deciding if they want the job.

Deloitte’s Gen Z and Millennial Survey found that workers are not willing to sacrifice their wellbeing for a job. According to the survey there have been improvements in the approach to work-life balance by employers but there is still a lot more space for improvement. In 2019, 21% of Gen Z workers surveyed were happy with their work-life balance, while in 2023 this has increased to 34%.

Did You Know?

Gen Z are more addicted to their smartphones than other working generations, spending 3 hours more on them.

How To Attract and Retain Gen Z Talent

As a business, you must be wondering how to cater to these changing needs while also ensuring that you’re able to find and retain the best talent. Based on data, we know that Gen Z workers are looking for a work-life balance, but as a business, you’ll need to offset this with the business’s needs. Each business is different, and your goals, objectives, and ways of working will differ. An efficient way to figure this out is to speak to your current employees and see what kind of perks and benefits they would like to see.

For example, a 4-day working week might work well for your business by offering your employees greater flexibility that in turn provides your business with refreshed and engaged employees.

Another potential benefit could be mental health days which are a specific number of days that can be taken at any point, no questions asked. This also helps to create a culture where employees don’t necessarily feel the need to divulge personal information but do feel comfortable enough to ask for a needed last-minute break.

Gen Zers are looking for a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in a workplace. This doesn’t mean just a company that claims to value this, but a business that has a diverse leadership and promotes DEI values.

Another factor Gen Z workers are looking for is clear communication and transparency regarding career progression. Outline this internally and advertise this on your open job notices to give Gen Z workers the confidence that you’re a business that won’t waste their time.

Interview processes are no longer just about the employer trying to find the right candidate but the interviewee is now often vetting their potential future employer. So, your business must be able provide a clear pathway for career progression within your business.

In one of Gabrielle’s TikTok’s she posts a series of questions to ask during a job interview to assess if a company is right for a #lazygirljob. One of the things she looks for is if the interviewer is tired or unprepared as this could signal being overworked or a recent lay-off.  It’s important to ensure that you put your best foot forward when carrying out interviews.

A quick guide to attracting and retaining Gen Z talent:

  • Promote a healthier work-life balance culture
  • Provide a clear outline of career progression
  • Prepare well for interviews
Looking to attract Gen Z customers?

Read our handy guide to Gen Z marketing strategies.

How to Create a Work-life Balance in Your Business?

The Great Resignation is a trend that was kickstarted in 2021 and involved employees walking away from jobs in droves. Typically, these employees felt like they were being overworked and underpaid and left their jobs to find a more fulfilling and healthier role.

While money is an important part of a job’s compensation package, for Gen Zers, it’s not enough. A greater societal awareness of the importance of mental and physical health has meant that Gen Z workers don’t want to destroy their wellbeing for a paycheck.

As a business, to attract and retain the best young talent, you’ll need to ensure that your workplace culture encourages a healthy work-life balance. You should incorporate ways to show employee appreciation, such as publicly praising employees and even supporting your staff’s side hustles, which allow workers to develop passion projects and alternative sources of income.

Extensive sitting and a lack of physical activity can lead to various health risks so your business must open up opportunities for your employees to get in as much physical activity during the working day. This could look like encouraging regular walks, health clubs, or gym discounts. Model this behaviour by having leadership carry out these activities.

We’ve already mentioned flexible working schedules above such as a 4-day working week or mental health days. Flexible working has been embraced by British workers so much so that a new bill has been introduced to provide workers with more flexible working.

The bill comes into effect from Spring 2025 and provides employees with the opportunity to make 2 flexible working requests within a 12-month period. Employers will need to respond to the request within 2 months.

Critics of the bill have said that the bill is too vague and it means employers can deny the requests, leaving employees with the same rigid working schedules.

According to research, 43% of employees surveyed found that hybrid working led to better work-life balance and 34% found that it increased productivity. Flexible working schedules can often be a win-win solution for both employers and employees.

Flexible working can look different for everyone, for example, some employees prefer socialisation and having a proper office space and others prefer to spend less time commuting daily and might opt to stay home more often. We recommend introducing a flexible working policy that empowers employees to make decisions that work for them.

To round up, Gen Zers have high standards when it comes to employment. They’re looking for healthy compensation and a work-life balance. Use the tips in this article to help find and retain the best Gen Z talent and cultivate a workplace culture that encourages balance and growth.

Written by:
Zara Chechi
Zara is a Payments Expert, specialising in writing about Point of Sale systems. With a Law Degree from City University of London, she has used her legally-honed research and analytical skills to develop expertise in the Business Services world. Featured in FinTech Magazine, she quickly became an expert in payroll, POS systems, and merchant accounts.