“Quiet Vacationing” Is the Stress-Free Trend You’ll Want to Try This Summer

published Jun 5, 2024
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Now that “quiet quitting” — basically doing the bare minimum on the work you’re being paid to do, and nothing more, as a way to combat burnout — has made its way from the TikTok FYP to the mainstream workplace, the anti-hustle culture trend is getting a summer upgrade. With more people coming back to the office on a hybrid or full-time schedule, Gen Z and millennial workers are embracing “quiet vacationing” as a workaround for limited PTO. 

Contrary to its connotation, the term doesn’t mean staying off social media during your travels (although that can definitely be part of it). Instead, “quiet vacationing” is about keeping your managers in the dark about your “out of office” plans and working remotely while you’re on a trip to a beach or a faraway city. As long as you’re getting the work done in the hours you’re meant to be working, the thinking is, then it shouldn’t matter where you are. And in the after hours, you can explore or do whatever other vacation activities you want.

It’s all part of the very self-care-forward practice of setting boundaries and rejecting the culture of going above and beyond at work — especially if you feel like you aren’t being appreciated or being compensated for it by your manager. 

“Quiet vacationing” likely owes some of its popularity to the current period of economic uncertainty. According to a new Harris Poll survey, 78% of United States workers — that number was highest among young professionals who are Gen Z or millennial workers — revealed that they don’t take all of their PTO days. Unlimited PTO can make this number even worse, as it doesn’t set guidelines for how much time is acceptable to take off.

Libby Rodney, chief strategy officer at The Harris Poll, said in the study that Gen Z and millennial workers are particularly afraid to ask for time off because they don’t want to appear like they don’t care about their career, or they can’t, due to deadlines or other work-related commitments. 

However, many young professionals have still found a way to take a break from work. According to the poll, almost 40% of those surveyed said they’d taken PTO without telling their manager. 

Some people on Reddit believe that the trend is a response to managers who care more about seeing their direct reports in the office versus actual productivity. “Get your work and deliverables done when they need to be. Be on meetings you need to be on. Answer emails when you need to. What’s the problem?” Reddit user @buckeye2114 wrote

In the same thread, Reddit user @LikelyTrollingYou called “quiet vacationing” a “management failure.” They wrote, “Absent clearly defined goals and results-oriented work environments, productivity is measured in hours that ‘butts are in seats,’ which is why these workarounds exist.”

In an ideal world, all workers would feel comfortable taking time off and setting boundaries on how much time is spent working versus on personal time. However, the rise of these “quiet” work trends in recent years show that professionals are pushing back on the existing hustle culture by choosing to prioritize their mental health over the work grind, not the other way around.