Loud Leaving, Work Addiction and Disgruntled Job Candidates
Date: 16 May 2023
Media: Channel 9’s Today Extra Show, National Australian Television
Story: Loud Leaving and Work Addiction
Hosts: David Campbell and Sylvia Jeffreys
Guest: Sue Ellson
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRs26eC3ceM
On 16 May 2023, I appeared on Channel 9’s Today Extra show to talk about Loud Leaving, Work Addiction and Disgruntled Job Candidates live on national television from their Adelaide Studio. Here is the recording:
Well first we spoke about the Great Resignation that we spoke about Quiet Quitting so there’s no doubt Australian workplaces are changing rapidly the latest trends are being described by experts as toxic and impacting on thousands of Aussie workers career experts Sue Ellson is in Adelaide to explain so good morning Sue we’re hearing a lot now about loud leaving what is that why is it gaining so much momentum?
It’s when people actually announce that they’re going home for the day and I believe the reason it’s gaining so much momentum is because people have realized that they need to have some form of work-life balance now I think it’s okay for leaders to do it it’s probably a little bit trickier if employees start doing it
So what are the negative impacts of loud leaving? I mean are they leaving for the day or they’re just leaving work?
Well no just leaving for the day and the idea being that look there’s some concerns here because if there are other people at work who have to stay because they’ve got different responsibilities or they’re on the front line then they could potentially become very resentful of the fact that these other people get to leave and that they don’t get to leave so I think you know there’s some concerns around that and that people might still be going online later which is also a concern so they haven’t really left and yeah that’s a worry
Correct me if I’m wrong but maybe there’s something here and just people being really firm with their boundaries all of a sudden when perhaps they haven’t been in the past. Are there some benefits with this?
Yes there definitely are in Melbourne there’s a government Department that actually dims the lights at 5 PM for five minutes so it’s a really good physical signal that it’s time to go home um there’s other benefits like if by setting an example to other people by giving yourself a bit of extra time to rest and recover when you go home from work and also it can create this conversation where we say well if they’re leaving maybe I should be leaving and and we can make this work better
So we’re also seeing a lot of work addiction is another Trend so what do we know about that Sue?
Yes Rachel Potter from the University of South Australia has been doing some research into this and she defines it as anybody who feels a compulsion to work and they really feel like they’re losing control if they can’t do or access those work opportunities these are people who can’t sort of stop and recover and they feel guilty or anxious if they can’t do that type of work and sadly about 30% of the workforce is at risk of it in particular women people in their own business and younger workers and there was a story recently of a woman in New South Wales who was still checking her emails while she was in labor with her second child so clearly a concern
So if you’re in that category what can you do to switch off from work well?
I like the three two one rule where three hours before you go to bed you stop eating two hours you stop working and one hour you stop looking at any screens you can definitely incorporate some more time during the day for some rest and recovery and also make sure that you’ve got some social activities booked with your friends and family at least once a week and any form of self-care so this could be one minute of deep breathing through your nose or going somewhere where there’s no phones no watches and no screens so that you can just really tune out
So yesterday one Aussie business owner shared a shocking response she received from an unsuccessful job applicant what trend would this kind of behavior I mean it’s abusive it’s awful but I’m sorry people work out what that language is saying there but what is it saying?
Look I think there’s a lot of employers who don’t respond at all to any job applicants and it’s really stressful when you’re applying for a job so if you do get a response it’s much more likely that the person can take it personally and believe it’s a personal insult now I would suggest it’s much better to say thank you for letting me know yes I’d be happy to keep my details on your records because you’re likely to get a lot more opportunities that way than if you respond negatively so yeah a lot of people are sort of Keyboard Warriors. They’ll happily put something in a text message but they won’t necessarily say it in person
Exactly that’s what Twitter’s for
Thank you Sue always great to get your insights appreciate it thank you coming up on today extra he’s one of the
We’re being told about ‘loud leaving’. What is it and why is it gaining traction?
It’s a trend where people announce out loud that they are about to leave for the day and go home and recent research conducted by Censuswide for LinkedIn surveyed over 1,000 Australians and found that 46% of Australians have already experienced loud leaving.
I believe it is gaining traction because people are still readjusting to life after the pandemic and they know that they need to make an effort to leave on time to maintain some form of work-life balance.
It could be a useful strategy for leaders to set an example to employees, but I believe it is a bit riskier for employees.
What are the negative impacts of ‘loud leaving’?
If employees announce it in front of other employees who can’t leave because they have different responsibilities, it could definitely cause some resentment.
Some employees might leave the workplace on time but still go online when they get home, so they haven’t really left.
Ultimately, I don’t think it addresses the real issue which is that many employees are still adjusting to our new normal.
Negative Impacts Loud Leaving
- Resentment from other employees
- Might still go online later
- Not addressing the real issue
Are there any benefits with this trend?
Yes. When people speak up, it can create change. There is a government department in Melbourne that actually dims the lights at 5pm for five minutes to remind employees that it is time to go home.
As I said earlier, it can be used by leaders to set an example to employees and it may be a catalyst for real conversations about how to manage workflows going forward.
Research by Gartner suggests that employee wellbeing is a ticking time bomb so if people can leave on time and rest, they may have a better chance of coping in the future.
Benefits of Loud Leaving
- Set an example to others
- Start a conversation
- Improve wellbeing
Gartner’s latest Global Talent Monitor Survey 12 April 2023
Do you think Loud Leaving will help deal with these issues then?
Unfortunately, just leaving on time is not going to solve all of these issues at once although I am aware of a government department that turns the lights down at 5pm for five minutes to remind people of how important it is to finish on time.
If employees are starting to feel overwhelmed or burnt out, it is going to take a lot more than leaving on time to fix the problem.
If employers can recognise each person as a whole person and provide flexibility and autonomy, that will help.
A logical way forward is to adopt a trauma-informed approach, and encourage proactive rest opportunities, safe discussion without judgment or consequences and additional mental health support or coaching.
- Encourage proactive rest
- Safe discussion
- Additional support
Source: Gartner Future of Work Trends 2023
That sounds great if an employer can take on that responsibility, but what if they don’t? What can employees do to make sure they leave on time?
Firstly, they need to look at how they spend their time at work and focus on the essentials first and check to see if they have developed any bad habits and deal with those.
They need to set expectations around realistic timelines and if need be, under promise and over deliver which means saying you will do something by Friday if you need the week rather than trying to cram it in by Wednesday.
Whilst there is a lot more technology monitoring what is happening in many workplaces, I would also suggest it is really important to have the tough conversations in person where possible and make use of external Employee Assistance Programs and other community supports before you reach crisis point.
The goal here is to create a manageable work life.
- Essentials first
- Fix bad habits
- Set expectations
- Ask for help
So do you think ‘Loud Leaving’ is just a symptom of a bigger problem?
I think it is a timely wake-up call for us to look at ourselves, our workplaces and how we can create enough time and space to adjust to life after the pandemic.
I would suggest we are all still in transition, but we are lucky that we live in Australia and that there are various forms of support available and we shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. We are all still in recovery.
There’s also another trend of ‘work addiction’. What do we know about that?
Yes, Dr Rachael Potter from the University of South Australia has been researching this area and defines work addiction as people feeling a “compulsion” to work and as if they have “lost control” if they are not fully immersed in their job.
These people are unable to switch off or recover and feel guilty or anxious when they can’t do or access work and this can ultimately lead to burnout.
Around 30% of people are at risk and women, people in business and younger workers are most at risk.
There was another story recently of a woman in NSW answering emails whilst in labour with her second child.
If you do find that you are unable to switch off from work, what should you do?
You can try the 321 rule where you stop eating three hours before you go to bed, stop working two hours before and stop looking at a screen one hour before to make sleep a priority.
You could schedule some recovery time breaks throughout your day and book in social activities to do with friends once a week.
Finally, regular self-care, anything from some deep slow breathing for a minute through to doing something special just for you without a phone, watch or screen in sight.
Unable to switch off
- Schedule recovery time
- Weekly social activities
- Regular self-care
Is this a sign then that Australian workplaces are not adjusting to our new normal?
Sadly, yes. Gartners’ Future of Work Trends report shows we have younger workers who have started their working life working remotely and not able to develop their social skills.
Other workers who lived through the pandemic either at work or working from home had to deal with career insecurity and some have developed bad habits – like always checking their messages all hours of the day and night.
Of greater concern is the fact that nearly 60% of employees are feeling stressed at their jobs every day and direct managers are being squeezed from multiple directions
- Younger workers less social skills
- 60% of employees are stressed
- Direct managers are squeezed
Source: Gartner Future of Work Trends 2023
One Aussie business owner shared a shocking response she’d received from an unsuccessful job applicant. What trend would this kind of behaviour fit into?
You are probably referring to the person who applied for a job with Jane Lu’s Showpo and didn’t like being told they had missed out.
I know how stressful it is looking for work and there are a lot of employers who don’t provide any feedback at all. So when an employer does respond, a candidate is probably more likely to take it personally.
Sadly, some people are very good keyboard warriors and feel more comfortable saying how they feel in a text message than what they would say in person.
As the end of the day, I don’t believe in burning any bridges, and I have found that saying thank you and please keep my details on file has been a way to secure more opportunities rather than less.
Disgruntled Job Candidate
Loud Leaving – LinkedIn Stats
HR Toolkit: Tackling 2023 Future of Work Trends 20 January 2023