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The Newest Gen Z Workplace Trend: YOLO Mentality

A year of working remotely has left many employees experiencing burnout. From struggling to stay motivated throughout the day to daydreaming about vacations, it's no surprise that many employees have been feeling out of it.

However, Gen Z has flipped this burnout into a new way of thinking—a YOLO mentality. Essentially, these employees are trying to make up for lost time.

The acronym “YOLO” stands for You Only Live Once. It ignites the idea that there is always more life to live because life is short. For employees, this looks like changing jobs, pursuing their side hustles, stepping on the escalator to other opportunities that were once just a wish, or even leaving the traditional workplace for good.

Where did this come from?

In 2021, navigating uncertainties and finding new routines to make working from home feel more normal has created an emotional haul for many. This has left people with a “blah” feeling and sense of emptiness that is difficult to describe—otherwise known as languishing. 

Languishing is not quite depression or burnout, but an emotion that triggers the want to gain motivation, be more productive, and feel the excitement of thriving in day to day routines. All this leads to the adopted “YOLO” mentality and desire to find purpose.

More on the Gen Z Mentality

The YOLO mentality may seem daunting for many employers, but it’s a generational movement that needs to be recognized. By factoring in cabin fever, lack of social interaction, and the ability to work from almost anywhere, Gen Z believes that the risk is worth the reward. 

Stated in a Microsoft survey, “Gen Z reported difficulties feeling engaged or excited about work, getting a word in during meetings, and bringing new ideas to the table.” 

This leads them to challenge the status quo and take the leap of faith away from what once was stability. The generation is looking to offer fresh perspectives in places that make them feel empowered. 

It is well-known at this point that hybrid models are here to stay, and ensuring that Gen Z feels a sense of purpose is a critical component of the transition to hybrid workplaces. This generational mentality does not have to affect your whole workforce. 

COVID-19 has also brought a lot of opportunities to the job economy. In addition to job-hopping, many remote jobs have opened up, companies have blossomed, and recruiting in multiple geographical locations has given many companies more access to top talent. 

As we are all ready to regain the feeling of normalcy, it is important to realize that the new normal may be different. How can you support this Gen Z mentality and employees in large? 

Adam Grant stated in his podcast, “The most important factor in daily joy and motivation is a sense of progress.” 

This can mean carving out time for employees to work on a project that they find interesting and exciting. It can ensure that employees are excited about putting effort towards work that feels meaningful to them.

We are all doing our best as we go and have learned to roll with the punches. Hybrid work is here to stay and talent is everywhere. Clearly, the workforce has transitioned and some mentality has too. 

Looking for ways to attract young talent searching for their YOLO change? Read our eBook, How to Build a Benefits Package That Attracts Next-Gen Talent.

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