To safeguard the interest of workers across various sectors and industries, India introduced the labour laws in the late 1940s. Later, with time, industries evolved, working environment improved sometimes bringing in more complexities, making it important to introduce reforms as a result to generate more employment and ease the process of conducting business.
In June 2022, India again introduced a set of changes to its labour laws. The said changes were driven due to multiple factors, a few being the need for social equity, social security, ease in performing business activities and other such policies which would drive these reforms. The newly passed laws by the parliament had a severe impact on the employees’ working hours, paid leave days, salaries, pensions, and much more.
If we consider the aspect of the working hours which the law reformed, it mentioned that the new labour code will permit offices and companies to not restrict the working hours to 7-8 hours per day. This meant that the working hours could extend to 12 hours in a day. However, if a firm decided to take this approach, the workdays would be capped at 4 days a week with 3 mandatory offs. When this change was announced, the same was taken with an excitement in the corporate world, however, working 12 hours a day was a condition which would affect the well-being of the employees and their productivity.
The COVID-19 changed the working conditions for all, some became habitual to working from their home spaces, while other perceived that working from office was a much better option, a prime reason being, their working hours were designated while operating from their office space. In 2021, we heard the term ‘great resignation’ making rounds, just when the job market started opening globally in the post-pandemic era. This buzz has now been replaced with ‘quiet quitting’. The phenomena has risen from change in the way people perceive work in the post pandemic world. While the great resignation made people resign from their works, for some the same was not an option, which led to the trend of ‘quiet quitting’.
The trend of ‘quiet quitting’ is simply about doing the bare minimum expected at work. According to many analysts, this trend has been effective in improving the mental health of employees, especially the young generation that seeks flexibility and purpose in their work, and balance and satisfaction in their lives. The previous notion of live-to-work does not sit well with many people now, individuals believe in continuing their work but they do not want their job to control their personal lifestyle. Under this aspect, workers perform only the duties prescribed in their job description and shrugs any responsibility beyond that. Employees even rejects work longer hours and stick to the timing necessary for their role.
An employee now wishes to only operate under their KRA- key responsibility area. The hustle culture is no more being given a seat at the table, people are more than happy signing in at 10 am, signing out at 5 pm, and only doing the work that they were hired for. It stands true that we should not bite more than we can chew, and in some ways it is good that people are setting boundaries. But the truth is, there stands a very thin line between setting healthy boundaries and being disengaged. For instance, it is favourable that employees clock out of their system at 5 pm, relieving themselves of the duty for the day, but if their work still remains pending, it implies that they are not being entirely productive.
Over the course of 2022, we had witnessed immense changes in the employment sector. We realised about the potential which employees showcased about their eagerness to take on new challenges, learn new skills and change careers. This has also led to the introduction of another trend, called as ‘rage applying’.
Reported by the Fortune Magazine, rage applying is exactly how it sounds like, people apply to multiple jobs when they are dissatisfied with their current employer. It is clear that when workers will be exhausted or underappreciated, they will try to look for other alternatives. It is strange that this concept was popularised on the social media platform TikTok, where the video which gained about 2 million views, mentioned the person saying, "I got mad at work, and I rage-applied to, like, 15 jobs. And then I got a job that gave me a $25,000 raise, and it's a great place to work. So, keep rage-applying. It'll happen." To support our previous statement of how employers believe they are being unappreciated, a survey held in April 2022 revealed about 52% of the employees working with management software platform Lattice who had been at their job for three months or less said they are actively looking for another job. That figure increased to 59 per cent among those who had been in a job for three to six months.
To conclude we can establish that most of our workforce is made up of youngsters or people who cannot resort to resigning from their jobs unless their receive a hike in their salary at a new firm. But the aspect of salary is not where things end, employees today want a working environment, where their efforts are appreciated and they can seek new opportunities. If employees will not be able to provide this balance, they should expect employees to simply lose interest in their jobs, thereby resorting to rage-apply or quiet quitting.
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