The work culture has completely changed in 2022, and not only in terms of whether you want to work in the office or from home. In 2022, we first learned the Great Resignation and then the Quiet Quitting, leading to the experimentation of a new way of working: the 4-day work week. It all started when companies started calling their employees back to the office after two years of home office or, to put it more formally, remote working. But people now had enough time to organize their working lives away from the office and realized that this way of working… The work culture has completely changed in 2022, and not only in terms of whether you want to work in the office or from home. In 2022, we first learned the Great Resignation and then the Quiet Quitting, leading to the experimentation of a new way of working: the 4-day work week. It all started when companies started calling their employees back to the office after two years of home office or, to put it more formally, remote working. But people now had enough time to organize their work lives away from the office and realized that working this way allowed them to spend more time with their families and take better care of themselves. ALSO READ: Lessons from the Big Resignation for Small Businesses The great resignation The Big Retreat refers to a US-led trend of workers resigning in large numbers amid the Covid-19 pandemic, opting instead for stimulus packages. However, it has sparked similar movements around the world, including South Africa, as workers seek more flexible working environments at home and abroad. According to RemChannel’s most recent semi-annual Salary and Wage Movement Survey, conducted in September, the rising cost of living coupled with inflexible work environments continue to push employees to seek greener pastures. Compared to the March 2022 survey, turnover excluding temporary workers has increased by 2.4 percentage points and by 2.8 percentage points since September 2020, while resignations have increased by 2.1 percentage points to 38.5% compared to the March 2022 publication , despite a declining economic situation. The changing world of work has increased the complexity of compensation management and in particular the Employee Value Proposition (EVP). The shift in power from employer to employee, especially among skilled workers, is becoming increasingly clear, says René Richter, Managing Director of RemChannel. ALSO READ: Quiet Quiet? This is how you ensure a good work-life balance Peaceful exit at work Then came quietly quitting the workplace, the trend to just do the bare minimum required at work that first emerged on TikTok, though many people have since said they’ve been doing it for years. Quitting quietly frustrates managers, but it’s not about avoiding work, it’s about not avoiding a meaningful life outside of work, writes Nilufar Ahmed, Lecturer in Social Sciences at Bristol University, in The Conversation. He says many people have embraced a global culture of overwork over the past 20 years, where unpaid work has become an expected part of many jobs. “After multiple recessions and a global pandemic, Millennials and Gen Z in particular often don’t have the same job opportunities and financial security as their parents.” Many young professionals expected a relatively uncomplicated life, but are now struggling with precarious contracts, job insecurity and trying to climb the career ladder. Some are constantly working overtime and doing anything for promotions and bonuses, but they are still struggling. “Perhaps in response to this disappointment, a recent study by Deloitte found that young people are increasingly looking for flexibility and meaning in their work, as well as balance and satisfaction in their lives. Many young professionals are now rejecting the live-to-work lifestyle by continuing to work but not letting work control them.” However, Ahmed writes that quietly quitting might actually be good for you, as working less is good for mental health. Studies have found that work-life balance is linked to mental health across a wide range of jobs, and a 2021 survey of 2,017 UK workers by employer ratings website Glassdoor found more than half felt they had a having a bad work-life balance. Silent cessations aim to restore the balance that work has crept into your personal time and can also help separate your self-esteem from the workplace. “When all you have is work, it’s hard not to derive your sense of worth from it,” writes Ahmed. Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2022 report reveals that just 24% of South African workers are engaged at work and just 29% are thriving in terms of their overall well-being. ALSO READ: Will the 4-Day Workweek Improve Your Wellbeing? Maybe we’ll find out soon The 4-day work week The 4-Day Week is based on the 100-80-100™ model developed by 4-Day Week Global co-founders Andrew Barnes and Charlotte Lockhart. The model mandates 100% pay for 80% of the time in exchange for a commitment to deliver 100% of the work. It is recognized as a way to support and empower workers to increase organizational productivity and have a positive impact on society and the environment. The National Business Initiative (NBI) has joined the Stellenbosch Business School and a growing base of partners in the 4-day week SA coalition to support the 4-day week as part of the future of work in South Africa. Companies that will throw a party to the 4-day workweek in the workplace in South Africa from February have started signing up for the country’s first-ever trial, which will begin a two-week intensive onboarding in February, says Karen Lowe, Director of 4 day week Sat. ALSO READ: Pilot of the 4-day work week so successful that all participating companies are sticking with it Biggest pilot of the 4 day week was a success The largest pilot of a 4-day week was a huge success according to the first published research, with companies rating their experience a 9 out of 10, with none returning after trying a 5-day week and taking revenue rising to an average of 38 % compared to the same period last year, while absenteeism and terminations decreased. More than 30 companies and nearly 1,000 employees in countries including the US, Ireland and Australia recently completed a six-month, 4-day week pilot program coordinated by non-profit organization 4-Day Week Global. The extra day off became so valuable to workers that 70% say they will demand a 10-50% wage increase to get back to 40 hours. Workers felt less stressed and burned out and reported greater life satisfaction, while the results also show a significant reduction in the duration and frequency of commuting, as well as other positive environmental impacts. None of the participating organizations will return to the five-day week.