The snail girl era is in full swing amongst the Gen Z workforce, but what exactly is the trend all about? Here’s why taking things a little slower might actually do wonders for your productivity.
Everywhere we look it seems Gen Z are kissing their girl boss teachings goodbye, opting towards a far more health-conscious approach the their work-like balance.
From bare minimal Mondays to quiet quitting, iterations of the snail girl era popping up across TikTok share one major commonality: conscious self-care has never been more important than now. People are now shifting their mindset completely, guided by the concept that living a more fulfilling and rewarding life doesn’t necessarily depend on working 40 to 50 hours a week.
Joining Felicity Harley, host of the Healthy-ish podcast, Associate Professor Dr Lena Wang from RMIT University explains why there’s more to this TikTok trend than lazy employees, suggesting the snail girls might have potentially unlocked the secret to productivity.
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What it means to be a snail girl
Contrary to popular assumption, embracing your snail girl era is not synonymous with being sluggish or idle, “It’s not about laziness,” explains Dr Wang. “It’s just about a way of balancing a lifestyle so that when we work, we work hard, when we take our leisure time, we do it properly.”
The movement is being led by Gen Z, who are pivoting away from some of their predecessors’ attitudes around well-being and work-life balance. For many people, living under the guise of a girl boss has dictated many of their career and lifestyle choices since entering adulthood, where ambition, determination, and working overtime are immensely valued. Now the emerging generation is shining a spotlight on the importance of our mental well-being.
“I think people are starting to realise the way of living and the way of working we have had for so many years is probably not the best,” says Dr Wang, explaining that we often tend to sacrifice our health and well-being for the benefits of achievement. “[The snail girl era] tends to speak to that. People are starting to say no and starting to put more emphasis and attention on themselves.”
Benefits of taking things slow
According to the associate professor, slowing down and pacing ourselves throughout the day can in turn offer enormous mental and physical health benefits. The best part? These positive benefits are not only applicable to our individual well-being but also to our general productivity and ability to perform on the job, something many businesses are beginning to notice.
“If you are doing things to protect your mental health, you would end up working more productively and efficiently than when you dedicate all your attention to your work,” explains Dr Wang
As Dr Wang says, failing to provide sufficient support and flexibility for employees is one of the most costly mistakes organisations can make, “You can’t have a productive, efficient workforce if people are mentally unwell,” she explains, highlighting the prevalence of burnout in today’s workforce.
“Mental health and wellbeing is a really important issue to focus on because once you get a more mentally healthy workforce, you get more productivity,” says Dr Wang.
How to embrace your snail girl era if your boss isn’t onboard
While the expert explains many organisations across the board are beginning to understand the benefits of supporting their employees’ more health-centric approach to productivity, not everyone is bound to be immediately on board with your snail girl antics in the workplace.
Since marching into your boss’ office with a list of demands isn’t likely to pave the way for your snail girl antics, the professor explains there’s a more subtle approach you can take in setting clear boundaries within your workplace.
“I would avoid scheduling a lot of heavy meetings on Mondays and Fridays and knowing that people usually want to take it slowly a bit easy on those two days,” explains Dr Wang. “We definitely don’t want any events on those days and would avoid sending difficult emails on those days.”
Essentially, Dr Wang encourages us to structure our work week in a way that promotes a productivity peak while also allowing rest and recuperation, ensuring Mondays and Fridays are set up to be a bit ‘lighter’ than the others. In turn, our mid-week workdays would be crammed with activity.