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4 New #worktok Trends You Need to Know

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  • Talent Management

4 New #worktok Trends You Need to Know

New Worktok trends

Watch out, HR pros — more #worktok trends are taking over workplaces. And some of the newest affect how you and other leaders manage talent.

It’s nothing to pooh-pooh: #worktok has almost 2.5 million views. People are posting what they hate — and sometimes love — about work. More importantly, millions more are watching what they post.

#worktok exploded for a number of reasons:

  • remote and hybrid work created a void for water cooler moments
  • people don’t see a boundary between work, life and social media
  • workplaces have become more transparent, and
  • many people find it a place to have fun, vent or both!

Concerned about #worktok trends?

So should be you be concerned? Kind of.

“It’s not necessarily that managers should be concerned about these trends, but more so prepare for them. My job as a leader is to see these trends in my own company and try to meet employees where they are – this leads to increased productivity and happier employees, which in turn makes for a more successful business,” says Frank Weishaupt, CEO of Owl Labs.

So let’s look at the newest trends — and their potential effects on the workplace.

👤Shadow Policies 

What it is: With shadow policies, some managers let some employees work remotely even when the company’s official policy is they have to be in the office. Why do they do it? Some feel it’s not worth the risk of enforcing RTO policies when valuable employees might quit to work somewhere with a more flexible policy.

What it means to you: These employees aren’t completely off base, considering Owl Labs’ 2023 State of Hybrid Work report found that 42% of employees would look for another job if their option to work in a hybrid or remote environment was removed.

What to do: We aren’t going to tell you to change your work location policies. But you’ll want to consider some extra flexibility because 90% of hybrid workers feel equally or more productive and 79% of managers feel their teams are more productive when working remotely/hybrid, the Owl Labs study found. So if you can continue with flexibility, go with it.

🧛Vampire Tasks

What it is: Vampire tasks are repetitive or tedious activities that take people away from deep work. It’s often behind-the-scenes, housekeeping work that sucks time and adds little value to the bottom line — but probably needs to get done.

What it means to you: People who spend their day on more vampire tasks than deep work will likely become disengaged and less interested in the workplace quickly. That can lead to unnecessary turnover.

What to do: This calls for a regular work audit. You might ask managers or teams to break down their tasks and grade the importance of each toward the collective goals. When they find unnecessary tasks, they can eliminate them. For tedious tasks that still must be done, consider using AI to automate or simplify them.

“Of the current #worktok trends, I would say the most likely to lead to a decrease in productivity are vampire tasks,” says Weishaupt. “For employees who struggle to figure out whether the office or working remotely benefits their working style, trying task-based work is a great solution. Task-based work allows employees to choose where and when is best to get a specific task done.”

🥕Calling in Healthy 

What it is: Calling in healthy is when employees push through work when they’re sick so when they’re feeling great they can use sick time off for something fun and/or relaxing.

What it means to you: People are showing up to work unhealthy, not at their best and possibly affecting co-workers. But they are being conscious of good mental health care.

“I like the ‘calling in healthy’ trend. It’s similar to taking a mental health or personal day, which I fully advocate for everyone at Owl Labs to regularly take,” says Weishaupt, “But I would not recommend pushing through work days when you are sick.

What to do: The better bet, he says: “There should be room for both sick days and healthy days. If your employees are opting to work when they’re sick so they can take advantage of time off when they are healthy, you may want to rethink the number of PTO, sick, and personal days you’ve currently allotted as a company and add more.”

😎4-Day Work Week

What it is: The four-day work week might not be a specific TikTok trend, but it’s gaining momentum with #worktok and beyond. More companies are experimenting with them — and finding it works. Plus, for companies that want or need employees on-site, the lure of just four days there — and three for leisure — is a powerful incentive.

What it means to you: Your employees may start pushing for the shorter week — or leave for companies that offer it.

What to do: Again, this goes back to flexibility. “I think something that will be interesting to follow will be the rise of the four-day work week,” says Weishaupt. “We found that 28% of survey respondents said this would be appealing in a future employer, 25% would even take a 15% pay cut for this perk.”

If you can’t offer a four-day week, consider different options such as job sharing.

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