New ‘snail girl era’ trend that prioritises slowing down and taking it easy sweeping Australian workplaces

A new “snail girl” trend that prioritises slowing things down and taking it easier on the job is sweeping Australian workplaces.

The idea appears to be the antithesis of the “girlboss” trend, whereby instead of fanatically focusing on ‘the grind’, one is urged to slow down and be kind to themselves at work.

It was first introduced by designer Sienna Ludbey, who wrote about the concept in the Australian magazine Fashion Journal.

In the piece titled “Snail girl era: Why I’m slowing down and choosing to be happy rather than busy”, Sienna delves into the traits of a ‘snail girl’.

“She goes slow, retreats when she needs and follows the path at her own pace,” she explained.

“For me, it is not about a holiday or stopping work completely.

“It is just about taking that time to remember to not be as hard on myself, to have a work-life balance and to stop comparing my journey to others.”

What is the 'snail girl' workplace trend?

Fashion Journal’s branded content and feature editor Maggie Zhou, said in a TikTok that the piece stood out to her.

“This girlboss is rolling over in her grave,” she joked.

“Welcome to the snail girl era. I’m obsessed with this idea.

“Snail girl eras can look different to different people, but at the crux of it, it’s about slowing down and being kinder to yourself.”

Sienna, who is the founder of handbag label Hello Sisi, went on to explain that she recognises the idea of slowing down at work comes from a place of “financial privilege” and understands not everyone will be able to partake in this trend.

However, she adds that every employee can incorporate the “snail girl” concept into their lives in some small way.

“I’m aware my ability to slow down and take a step back comes from a place of financial privilege,” Sienna added.

“Not everyone can just ‘hit pause’ on their professional lives. In saying that, you can incorporate a little snail girl into your life without stopping the cash flow.

“Instead, think of it as a time to put yourself first, set personal and professional boundaries and protect your peace.

“Remember, it’s okay to say no sometimes! A snail girl takes her time and creates to create.

“The speed at which everything is put out into the world is just getting faster, but she doesn’t care.

“She’s running her own race, and maybe that race isn’t going anywhere but home and back to bed. I want to hopefully hold on to this new freedom and take it into the next chapter of my business.”

Workplaces across the country have undergone major changes in the last few years.

The number of Australians deciding to change careers was at its highest level since 2012 earlier this year, with about 1.3 million people making the jump, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Jennifer Luke, a researcher at the University of Southern Queensland, specialises in career development and meaningful work.

She stated that the ‘snail girl’ concept is not surprising to her as she recognises the modern

shifts in how individuals view their career ambitions.

“It all comes back to the fact that people are getting burnt out,” she told the ABC.

“They’re asking themselves, ‘I’m running myself into the ground, and I’m not actually sure why?’”

This gentle ‘snail girl’ approach to work can be seen in other workplace trends, with Adelaide marketing manager Caitlin Winter introducing another concept to her team known as “Bare Minimum Mondays”.

The movement that promotes a “gentle start” to the working week by easing the usual pressures and expectations that arise after the weekend.

While it can look different for each team, it usually entails staff working from home on Mondays, while doing the least amount of work required for their role.

The 31-year-old told that for her, it was a way for staff to take their day at their own pace and to treat themselves with “space and kindness” to set up for a productive week.

“A lot of people think it means I sit in my PJs all day in front of the TV and do no work,” she laughed.

“But in reality, it is simply a day where we work from home, don’t schedule in any meetings and generally just treat ourselves with a little more space and kindness to set up for a productive week ahead.

“For us, it means not putting pressure on ourselves to get those big projects done.

“Other things that we might get to do on these days are loads of washing we didn’t get to on the weekend, grocery shopping, planning dinners for the week or walking your dog.

“For one member of my team, it means being able to drop off and pick up her kids from school which she is unable to do during the week.”

Caitlin said she first came across the idea after reading an inspiring article by Marisa Jo on the topic.

For most of her life, she says she has experienced anxiety on Sunday evenings in anticipation for the big week ahead and the expectations that are placed on her for Monday morning.

“For a while now I’ve had an internal battle between the millennial who worked like mad at the beginning of her career to ‘prove herself’ as a hard worker and reconciling with the fact that even though that is what I went through, it doesn’t mean that is the way things should work,” she revealed.

“Of course, it depends on what industry you work in and what position you hold. But I think that it just seems crazy that we expect everyone to be able to work efficiently in the exact same way.”

Despite some negative backlash over the idea, Caitlin said that the changes in her small team since introducing Bare Minimum Mondays have been impressive, with overall happiness and productivity improving.

“My team and I seem happier and more efficient when we’re given ‘permission’ to work when it is good for us and when we’re most productive,” she said.

“Our team are all very capable and have a great level of pride for the work we produce, so the benefits of Bare Minimum Mondays is that we feel supported in our roles and we have space to work in a way that fits around our lives.

“Giving ourselves a quieter start to the week means that the days when we’re in the office together feel more energetic and productive.”

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