Loud laborer

The latest workplace office trend: Loud Labourers and the quest for attention

Move over quiet quitters; a new office trend exists in town. But who are these loud laborers?

We’ve all encountered ‘loud laborers’ in our professional lives, even if we didn’t realize it then.

You know the type, gloating about their work-based achievements and monumental milestones, yet their actual output is suspiciously low and out of line with their lofty claims.

Self-promoting and attention-seeking individuals, ‘loud laborers,‘ have existed long before André Spicer, an organizational behavior professor and dean of Bayes Business School, coined the term in 2021.

Previously, the ‘quiet quitters’ were in the limelight, with the viral trend sweeping social media and firmly integrating itself into office slang and culture.

The two terms couldn’t be more contrasted, with ‘quiet quitters’ opting to slowly tap out of a job and do the bare minimum, almost dissolving into the monochrome background. 

At the same time, ‘loud laborers’ want to be seen and heard, declaring their importance as if it were a trophy.

Now you’re familiar with the term, no doubt your mind has plucked someone to the front of your thoughts, their characteristics and behavior encapsulated within the description of a ‘loud laborer.’ 

You could be one (gulp).

Why all the noise?

While it’s not all bad, there is a sense of negativity swirling around the gloat-hungry office workers who are potentially and unbeknownst, detrimental to their colleagues and the environment around them.

But behind every ‘quiet quitter’ and ‘loud laborer,’ there is a reason why they attribute that type of behavior.

From insecurities about self-worth and job safety, it’s time to avoid writing off the attention-seeking ‘loud laborers’ from the outset and try to understand the why.

In our evolving work landscape, the strategies of expressive employees have advanced to the point where mere sighs, groans and grunts no longer suffice. Instead, our loud, laboring friends have adopted a repertoire of self-promotion tactics, excelling at spotlighting their substantial contributions during team meetings emphasizing the monumental energy invested in a project.

Crafting elaborate plans, pitches, and future visions for their accomplishments has become their forte. For these vocal contributors, a task left unspoken is a task left unfinished.

In a 2022 article for The Guardian, Spicer declared how the virtual takeover of office work has contributed to disgruntled employees witnessing their efforts going unnoticed, and he believes that “many feel underappreciated because there are no bosses or colleagues to see their hard toil.”

He says that “workers have become increasingly desperate for some kind of recognition” and “in this world of virtual working, we rapidly learn that it is often only those whose work is seen and spoken about who get handsomely rewarded.

So we clamor for our efforts to be visible.”

There’s a delicate balance between rightfully showcasing your achievements and becoming a “loud laborer.” Discussing your successes is essential, but when the chatter eclipses actual productivity, there’s cause for concern.

Aliza Naiman, Marketing Manager at Olgam Life, believes ‘loud laborers’ “can have adverse effects on workplace dynamics.”

She told Muscle and Health that office workers applying this mentality “can create a hostile or competitive atmosphere, where colleagues may feel overshadowed or undervalued. “Excessive self-promotion can also be arrogant or insincere, diminishing the trust and collaboration essential for a productive work environment. In the long run, it may lead to resentment and isolation among team members.”

Naiman promotes a more subtle approach for those more attuned to broadcasting their achievements, focusing on showing “genuine interest in your colleagues’ work and achievements, fostering a reciprocal environment of support and recognition.

By demonstrating humility, acknowledging others, and choosing appropriate moments to discuss your accomplishments, you can maintain a harmonious workplace while still getting credit for your hard work.”

Lily Li has been Customer Services Manager at Suproto for ten years, and noticed the phenomena taking shape years ago at an annual group team building event.

Certain team members are outspoken about their contributions, constantly mentioning their own accomplishments, sometimes overshadowing the low-key accomplishments of others.  

The ripple effects of loud labor are multifaceted,” she told Muscle and Health.

On the positive side, it can bring positive value affirmation for itself and inspire others to push their boundaries. However, there is also a dark side.

Constant loud work can create a competitive atmosphere that leads to less team cohesion and can overshadow equally valuable but quieter contributions.

For example, the aforementioned team building situation caused other team members to become dissatisfied and complain to me.”

Viral workplace trends

Arguably, many phrases within the office workplace world are nothing more than predictable buzzwords created to briefly seize the spotlight. However, their widespread use underscores the profound changes that office workers have undergone.

In just over three years, we’ve experienced mandatory remote work and witnessed the “great resignation” and the subsequent “great return,” all accompanied by economic turbulence.

Since the World Health Organization officially declared the end of the Covid emergency in May, there are as many individuals questioning the value of work as those clinging tenaciously to their jobs amidst multiple waves of mass layoffs.

Our language has been adapting to mirror the post-pandemic reality. As aptly put by Rani Molla at Vox, terms like “quiet quitting” may come across as buzzwords that prompt eye rolls, yet they succinctly encapsulate genuine workplace phenomena.

Here are just a few other office workplace trends sweeping TikTok and the rest of social media.

The quiet quitters

Okay, we definitely all know a quiet quitter! The bare minimum army who clock in one second before their shift begins before hastily dashing out of the same door eight hours later.

Non-mandatory meetings? No thanks. 

Come in early to catch up? I’ll stay in bed. 

Stay late to save yourself a job the next day? That’s a problem for tomorrow.

According to a Gallup survey conducted in June 2022 among workers aged 18 and older, “silent disengagement” encompasses at least 50% of the U.S. workforce and potentially even more. This phenomenon is particularly prevalent among employees under the age of 35, as reported by Gallup.

Gen Z lady giving up

Also known as silent disengagement, quiet quitting refers to meeting only the minimum requirements of one’s job and investing no additional time, effort, or enthusiasm beyond what is strictly necessary.

Interestingly, this term can be misleading because employees who engage in silent disengagement do not leave their positions but continue receiving their salaries.

During the early 2020s, driven in large part by the influence of social media, silent disengagement gained widespread attention as a prominent trend in the United States and other countries.

The resenteeism brigade

When you find yourself desperately unhappy at work but have no choice but to stick it out due to external circumstances, you are part of the resenteeism club.

In short, it’s a contemporary workplace concept that characterizes the state of remaining in a job while harboring deep dissatisfaction.

Factors such as concerns about the cost of living, job stability, or a lack of better opportunities often lead individuals to stay in their current roles while feeling a deep, burning sense of resentment.

This resentment can permeate various aspects of their work life, including their workplace, the entire organization, and even their colleagues. It’s an unpleasant reality for all parties involved, not a position office workers want to find themselves in.

Presenteeism and the quest for freedom

Have you ever been somewhere but have yet to really be there? 

Your physical body may be in place, but your mind is not. It’s a case of being present for being present’s sake, an office-based issue known as ‘presenteeism.’

Before the pandemic, data from a U.K. survey revealed that 80% of employees believed presenteeism was a prevalent workplace issue. However, the advent of remote work due to the pandemic has offered employers and employees a much-needed opportunity to reassess this profoundly ingrained culture of presenteeism.

Man ill at work

The drawbacks of presenteeism have long been recognized: it can inflict significant economic costs on a nation when unwell individuals drag themselves to work and potentially infect others.

It can also foster toxic work environments by normalizing overwork, as those putting in long hours inadvertently pressure their colleagues to do the same. We have understood for quite some time that what truly matters is productivity, not being tethered to a desk or computer, and this discussion has been ongoing for years.

Even though there might be perceived benefits to physically attending the office, it doesn’t necessarily translate into higher productivity.

Yet, employees still face pressure to showcase their commitment in person and now virtually. Managers often need help to discern whether their employees are genuinely achieving more.

Goldbricking it

It’s normal for employees to occasionally become distracted; however, some office workers consistently seem to prioritize other activities over their assigned tasks. Basically, they are doing anything other than what they should be doing! 

When we use the term’ goldbricking,’ we describe presenting something of little value as if it were valuable and expensive.

Gold bars

Referring to someone as a ‘goldbricker’ implies they receive a salary or wage for work that they aren’t genuinely performing. While they might give the impression of being engrossed in their duties, the reality is that they are dedicating their time to personal matters.

The concept of goldbricking gained widespread attention when Yahoo! made headlines in late February 2013 for prohibiting remote work. The decision was prompted by the company’s revelation that its remote employees were not frequently accessing the corporate VPN.

Shift shockers

The term’ shift shock’ describes the feeling of realizing you may have made an ill-advised decision to accept a job offer. It’s that moment of horror as you sit there learning you made a big mistake.

This sentiment frequently arises from issues related to workplace culture or the realization that the job was misrepresented. TikTok has become a platform where users often share their unsettling experiences with shift shock.

This phenomenon often prompts employees to quickly switch jobs or return to their previous employers, seeking a more suitable work environment. Make sure to do your research before signing anything!

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