“Lazy girl jobs” have become quite the phenomenon in the workplace.
Spreading rapidly on TikTok, the idea has quickly built a caché with young professionals, especially among young Millennials and Gen Z talent.
But what is a “lazy girl job?”
According to The Wall Street Journal, a lazy girl job “can be done from home, comes with a chill boss, ends at 5 pm sharp and earns between $60,000 and $80,000 a year—enough to afford the basic comforts of young-adult life, yet not enough to feel compelled to work overtime.” Advocates tout roles such as “digital marketing associate,” “customer-success manager,” and “office manager” as the best bets for achieving a true “lazy girl” lifestyle.
The movement comes in stark contrast to the previous phenomenon of “girlbossing,” which focused on a conquer-it-all, high-energy attitude at work.
Many employers have reacted to the idea of “lazy girls” with fear, concerned that it’s just the latest moniker of “quiet quitting,” set to wreak havoc on productivity levels.
But what if we’ve been thinking about “lazy girls” the wrong way?
In the modern world of work, where business success depends more on task completion than hours logged, “lazy girl” team members might actually be your highest performers. Able to complete complex tasks in just a few hours, there’s little doubt that these people know how to work efficiently and effectively.
That means these individuals might just be the most resilient and burnout-proof out there: able to deal with change and protect their wellbeing—while taking first place in efficiency and productivity.
If so, employers and HR professionals can do more to leverage the lazy girl phenomenon to their advantage. Here are some ways to do just that.
#1: Recognize top talent
Today’s best and brightest don’t talk or act the same as previous generations. This can make spotting talent in a competitive market difficult for HR professionals and managers.
Recognizing and utilizing the core talents that drive business success is essential to finding the best high-potential team members. Focus on people’s productivity, work quality, and outcomes. It’s also important to recognize any unconscious biases and prevent yourself from being distracted by external branding.
Identifying high achievers—even if they don’t promote themselves especially well—can help you accelerate your teams’ performance. After all, if people drive positive outcomes, achieve their objectives, communicate clearly, and support organizational success, does it really matter how they (or social media) brand them?
#2: Capitalize on hidden talents
As businesses require an ever-growing array of skills, the key to agility could be right in front of you: with your internal talent. The perfect candidate for a new role may already be in your company—they might simply need training and encouragement to hone their talents and develop their skills.
HR teams who can draw out people’s proficiencies and channel them properly can build stronger, more agile teams. Hiring from within can also be a low-cost way of filling roles, as it means reduced recruitment fees, onboarding time, and paperwork.
By keeping your L&D programs strong and capitalizing on the talents within your existing teams, your organization will have a better chance of keeping up with the age of AI and surpassing the competition.
#3: Incentivize your people
Fundamentally, the “lazy girl” psychology prioritizes health, wellbeing, and personal time over work. The trend is predominantly followed by Gen Z talent, who prioritize a healthy work-life balance above almost everything else.
People-focused businesses expertly find ways of incentivizing multi-generational workforces and facilitating flexibility for different working styles. Driving a healthy workplace culture with positive people policies can make a big difference in motivating younger talent.
Providing opportunities for growth at work is also key to keeping people engaged in their output and their own professional development. You can create a positive environment built on a principle of progression by creating incentives to learn, skill up, and reach for promotions.
Think carefully about your approach to generational and gender equity and consider that people may wish to move laterally and upward within your organization. Diversity hiring—in all senses—might just be the key to closing skills gaps and getting the most out of “lazy girls.”
#4: Take inspiration from the traditional C-suite schedule
Even in the most traditional organizations, many in the C-suite work shorter hours while making a substantial impact. Others trust them to deliver results with less oversight of their working hours and patterns.
Instead, people understand that achieving their goals requires a more diverse and flexible style, typically involving a range of work activities.
Consider how you could apply this approach to your workforce as a whole. By allowing your people to adapt to their own needs and find the best way to deliver excellent work, they will feel trusted, empowered, and committed.
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#5: Think out of the box
The struggle for the best talent shows no signs of abating, and there’s no easy way to find the perfect candidate for your business. Companies must align recruitment efforts with workforce planning—all while keeping a firm eye on the economic climate and future business needs. These all evolve rapidly, and you need all your best people with you to succeed.
The most effective HR teams find ways to inspire their people to enjoy work and feel engaged. Create a sense of purpose and belonging by celebrating achievements, facilitating effective collaboration, and building dynamic teams that revolve around interesting and challenging projects.
Consider creating a shared sense of community between office-based and remote professionals and between geographically dispersed teams with a mixture of engagement programs.
That might also mean thinking more extensively about your people’s resilience and how to support longer-term tenures in your company. In today’s work world, it’s crucial to avoid penalizing people for working quickly and efficiently by giving them more work.
If the efficiency of “lazy girls” tells us anything, it’s that the best reward for high-quality work is giving people more trust and the flexibility and freedom to use their time in ways that work best for them.
According to Hannah Yardley, chief people and culture officer at software company Achievers, team members participating in the “snail girl era” aren’t putting in less effort at work. “They’re just prioritizing themselves over their work—and it’s making them more productive at work, and leading to a better sense of connection in the workplace.”
Are “lazy girls” here to stay?
While the “lazy girl” phenomenon may well come and go as the ever-changing waves of fashion do, the movement behind it will likely remain.
But, as Bill Gates alluded to some years ago, laziness can be a superpower: “I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” After all, the key to success is high productivity and quality work in less time at less cost.
Be bold. Look past the negative connotations of the term “lazy girl” and consider recognizing those team members for the top talent that they are instead. By finding ways to leverage their skills, you can build a huge advantage in the competition for talent, inspiring better engagement and creating a more diverse, equitable workforce.