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    Work in review 2022: The five biggest lessons of the year

    Worklife news Дек 18, 2022 at 05:16
    Work in review 2022: The five biggest lessons of the year

    For the first time in three years, many things felt normal about daily life. But the work world is still a major exception – and lots remains in flux.


    Even as many people moved closer to pre-pandemic living in 2022, daily life still doesn’t look exactly like it did before. That’s especially the case with work; this year, it became much clearer that many of us will never return to the workplace as we knew it.

    Although it’s true that we’ve learned more about what a pandemic-era workplace might look like, there’s a lot we still don’t know going forwards, particularly about working models and equality. Both employers and employees are still contending with a landscape that is anything but settled. And the power struggle over flexibility is still raging, even as the global economy takes a downturn.

    Here’s what we’ve learned about work this year – and what it might tell us about what’s coming in 2023.


    The not-so-quiet rise of The Great Buzzword 


    In 2021, Anthony Klotz, at the time an associate professor of management at Texas A&M University, US, coined the term ‘The Great Resignation’. It’s been core to explaining the mass worker attrition that’s occurred during the pandemic and, especially in certain sectors, such as service.

    This term has been great to describe the large-scale shift in the labour force – an unprecedented shake-up in equally unprecedented times. But admittedly, it’s also become a bit exhausting, having given way to many copycat terms that both media and researchers alike have created to describe the ongoing state of labour in 2022.

    A speedy glossary of a few:

      • The Great Reshuffle: Not every quitting worker has left the workforce entirely, but many have instead found themselves switching positions, even industries. (This one originated in late 2021, but found its sea legs this year.)
      • The Great RethinkSome workers are re-examining their relationships to their jobs and work at large, in some cases motivating them to request changes or move positions.
      • The Great RegretSome workers who quit their jobs to move into other positions have expressed regret for quitting or finding a different job.
      • The Great RemorseSimilarly, some of these workers with regret are struggling to find new positions, and are remorseful for taking the decision to resign.
      • The Great BreakupWomen leaders are leaving their jobs at record-high rates in search of better opportunities for advancement.
      • The Great DisengagementWorkers are increasingly feeling a disconnection from their employers.

    A second swath of buzzwords also emerged in the latter months of 2022: the ‘quiet’ trend.

    The best guess as to the origin of this new lexicon is a March 2022 TikTok video about ‘quiet quitting’ – the idea of scaling back one’s work to the bare minimum of a job description, instead of leaving a company outright. But the term ‘quiet quitting’ exploded in July 2022, when a different TikTok video went viral, propelling the term into the mainstream. Although the idea isn’t new, the sentiment of foregoing the hustle-culture attitude of years past has particularly struck a chord in the pandemic era.

    As commentary on quiet quitting proliferated, the term morphed. The two biggest additions have been ‘quiet firing’, in which an employer silently nudges out a worker instead of outright letting them go; and ‘quiet hiring, a recruiting practice mostly linked to Google, in which the company promotes employees who are already going above and beyond.

    As tiresome as these buzzwords have become, their rise is not surprising. Over the past three years, workers, bosses and experts alike have struggled to explain the novel phenomena of the radically re-shaped pandemic workplace. These terms have helped put a name to and, in some cases, crystalise some of the biggest changes in both organisational and employee behaviour and attitudes.