5 Strategies to Break Free from the Hustle Culture
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5 Strategies to Break Free from the Hustle Culture

In today's hustling culture that glorifies long working hours, employees and employers can get into a trap. It can be summed up by a catchphrase “ain't no rest for the wicked”. To be fair, hustling used to be an ok word in business, but it kinda losts its original meaning.

So while you think that you are making money and your employees achieve better and better results, in reality, you are on a crash course. You’re moving so fast that you can’t see the warning signs.

On average, 8 in 10 ‘quiet quitters’ change jobs to escape the hustling culture. The cost of not responding to the concern results in extra costs for your business: the rest of the burned-out employees increase financial losses.  It’s been estimated that burned-out workers cost firms 34% of their annual salaries. 

So if you are planning a long-term strategy that does not involve your business hustling year after year, then you might find this article interesting. 

We give you some tips on how to support your teams and make sure that your employees feel good about working for you. 

Look at the data

If you want to lend a hand to your team members, first arm yourself with hustle culture statistics related to your workers. Simply, check data on how employees manage their time. 

Time-tracking tools might open a curiosity gap. You can see at a glance how much time people spend on work versus leisure activities and sleep.

If there are significant discrepancies between what should be happening and what really happens, then something needs to be changed.

Find the cause

Okay, you’ve detected a few colleagues with signs of workaholism. Let’s try to find the real root cause.

The reasons may stem from a malfunctioning manager-employee relationship or errored personal motivation. Generally, the hustle culture is connected to the following problems:

  • A lack of trust in employees' abilities or decisions

This is often associated with micromanaging culture. You may discern by seeing overworking employees who may feel stifled in their roles. 

Nobody likes working under micromanagers. Moreover, micromanagers are the first people to implode when their stress reaches a critical level.

  • An emphasis on quality over quantity 

In such a case, employees are frequently working long hours but not making progress toward goals. Here perfectionism can be the root of many evils. There got to be a deadline, an acceptable result, and an exit strategy. 

The endless research frequently causes paralysis by analysis. Quality and quantity should not be the goal. Instead, cost and time efficiency is the name of the game.

  • A lack of communication from the leadership

Employees might focus on short-term goals over long-term strategy by mistake. But it's critical for everyone involved to understand how they fit into the bigger picture. 

Moreover, if your employee doesn’t feel like they contribute to business progress, they don’t feel valuable. Chances are they will want to find a place that will give them more feeling of belonging. 

  • Lack of confidence 

Some employees naturally tend to work long hours to prove something to themselves or others (regardless of the feeling of exhaustion). Stop them! Have a chat and try to direct their effort into something more meaningful. Try to figure out together what project they would be interested in with the benefit to your business.

  • Pursuit of money

A debilitating situation may cause an obsession with money. Probably, your worker struggles financially. Maybe they are a single parent, or they aim to pay off their debts. There is nothing wrong with the motivation to provide a better life for themselves and their family. 

But it’s not something that works well in the long term. To appeal to a healthy commitment without burnout, you can sit together and draft a career plan with suitable salary progression and make it as clear as possible. 

Equally, you can launch an upskilling program for your talent. In the end, you both will achieve the desired results.

When surveying your employees about the origin of workaholism, be ready to face awkwardness. Speaking about hidden and intense emotions feels like that. Then you can lead the way out of the situation.

Change before it's too late

To alter the hustle culture, you have to first give food for thought to your employees.  Get them to know the consequences. The trouble isn’t overblown. Statistics prove the hustle culture hit both work results and employees’ health. 

When people are hustling all the time, in the aftermath they’re more likely to quit their jobs. If you’ve reached this place, you would probably want to learn how to improve work-life balance at your workplace.

Another problem employers admit is disengagement. Hustle-centric companies often see employees who’ve lost connection with company values and goals. That’s not all.

Besides that, the hustle culture cultivates cynicism and a toxic environment. But on a personal level, hustle culture creates more damage - it harms mental and physical health.

Anxiety (41%) and depression (24%) are common symptoms of burned-out employees, as Monster reports. Physical illnesses come next. 

55-hour-a-week workers had a 33% greater risk of stroke than those who worked 35 or 40 hours (according to a large study led by scientists at University College London). 

If you want to see more effective and happy employees, try to dissolve risky illusions.

Set up clear expectations

As a manager, you have the power to define how your team members should report and interact with one another. You can make sure that everyone knows what's expected of them. But also allow them to say, for example, no when they need a break. 

This can be as simple as not checking work emails when employees are off the clock. Help them understand this isn't a crime or something selfish. Such behavior will benefit everyone in your company in the long run.

There are a number of ways you can foster work-life balance in your workplace. 

It's important to be clear about what your team can accomplish in a given time frame and what they need to do it. If there are specific goals or deadlines, make sure they understand them and agree on how they'll be achieved. This will help everyone manage their own commitments more effectively and avoid getting frustrated when things don't work out as planned (which is bound to happen).

In addition, to help employees feel less stressed, you can add more flexibility to their work.

Provide flexible work conditions

Employees are humans. And they have different needs and responsibilities apart from work. If you behave in a supportive way you do a balancing act. As we know, what doesn't bend at all will eventually break under pressure. 

For example, you can implement a work-from-home policy or flexible hours program. In doing so, you give your employees the option to leave early if they have personal commitments. It will allow them to focus on other aspects of their lives and reduce the amount of time they spend commuting. 


Changing a hustle culture is not easy, but it can be done. The first step is to evaluate your company culture and identify areas where it might need improvement. Once you know what needs fixing, then you can move on to making changes that support work-life balance and help employees lower their stress levels.


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