When it comes to new workplace trends, these days, you need to look no further than TikTok. The app has given us a host of viral trends which include goblin mode, a concept which entered the public consciousness to the extent that it became the first Oxford word of the year to be decided by public vote.
It is “a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations”, Oxford says.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Remember quiet quitting, rage-applying, quiet firing, and bare minimum mondays? Yep: all originated on TikTok.
It’s an app that enjoys most of its success among a younger audience. Those aged 20-39 form 44 per cent of users, and with Gen-Z employees now making up more than 20 per cent of the UK workforce, it is not surprising that their trend-led concerns are entering the mainstream.
The latest term to catch on fire is “bed rotting,” which––thankfully––isn’t as gross as it may at first appear. It was coined by TikTok user @g0bra77y, who asked “who TF actually likes rotting away in their bed,” before knowingly pointing at herself.
Users responded enthusiastically, saying “My favorite activity”, “I wish it was acceptable to tell people this is my hobby”, and “Me watching this as I’m in my bed”.
But what is it? Essentially, bed rotting is a remix of an existing concept: the duvet day. While older workers are likely to be conversant with the idea of having an ad hoc day in which they can ditch work and veg out, Gen Z has given the idea a self-care spin.
Duvet days are a defined benefit which many companies offer as part of a wider employee package, and while your boss isn’t likely to give you a free day off to rot in bed any time soon, the idea remains the same.
To properly engage in bed rotting, you’re going to want to set yourself up in your bed HQ, doing your activities while snuggled in. That includes eating, sleeping, performing beauty rituals such as facemasks, reading or watching TV. But what you can’t do is work.
Doing the bare minimum
The rise of a trend such as quiet quitting is really what we used to call a “go slow”. Essentially, it’s doing the bare minimum at your job. While these concepts feel excitingly fresh for young workers, who love to pin a name onto a trend, they are not new ideas. But what bed rotting does indicate is that this is a generation of young workers which is finding work hard.
It represents a response to a hustle culture that invariably burns its participants out––and burnout is at an all-time high. A recent report from insurer AXA in conjunction with UK think tank CEBR found that nearly half of British workers are at risk.
UK workers took a total of 23.3 million sick days last year due to poor mental health, so it is no surprise that young employees are all over the bed rotting trend.
The solution isn’t that simple. Thanks to the pandemic, Gen Z is often overwhelmed by the expectations of the workplace. Onboarded remotely, they received very few of the office cues, mentoring, feedback and camaraderie which other workers have taken for granted.
One fix may be to look for a new job with better support and conditions. The London Economic Job Board is a great place to start your search, with thousands of jobs to discover.
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