Common sign-offs used in work and education settings include “best wishes”, “kind regards”, “sincerely” and “thanks”.
But a video posted to TikTok earlier this week by Gen Z social media agency NightyEight, which has since been viewed almost seven million times, showed that none of these are in rotation at the LA-based company.
One employee signed off with “that’s all”. Another simply wrote “hehe, bye”, while a third rejected use of commas, writing: “alright alright alright”.
One employee went as far as using a profanity, telling his colleague: “F**k you, I’m out.”
NinetyEight is not the only workplace with lax rules on communication.
The CEO of Fox & Robin, an activewear company which claims to “hire only Gen Z”, also shared some emails he has received from his employees in a TikTok video on Wednesday.
“It’s a Gen Z world, I’m just their millennial boss,” he captioned the post, which has more than one million views.
“Hasta la pasta”, “don’t cross me”, and “talk soon, loser”, were some of the examples.
Another signed off with: “Let me know if you have any questions, or don’t.”
Others wrote: “Apologies for existing”, “insert pleasantry here”, and “kill me”.
The approach has been praised by viewers, with one person commenting: “Look how great life could be without professional formalities.”
Another said: “This is all I want from a company.”
Others despaired at the formal culture at their own workplaces. “Meanwhile, I get told that using two exclamation points in an e-mail is too many,” one person said.
“Cries in ‘best regards’,” another person wrote.
Gen Z’s relaxed approach to written communication ignited a debate on Twitter last January, after professor at Rutgers University in the US asked why “modern college students” don’t use formal language in emails.
“Why don’t modern college kids know how to send a formal letter/email? I thought everyone knew to begin Dear Prof. X or Dear Dr. X. Instead these kids stay emailing me Hello There! Or Hello (no name): Why are they like this?” she said.
Why don’t modern college kids know how to send a formal letter/email? I thought everyone knew to begin Dear Prof. X or Dear Dr. X. Instead these kids stay emailing me Hello There! Or Hello (no name): Why are they like this?
— Brittney Cooper (@ProfessorCrunk) January 12, 2021
Some students said they found the use of “dear” too formal, while others said they didn’t know beginning an email with “hello” was considered informal.
A recent study by Deloitte, which surveyed 1,500 Gen Z workers, found that the younger generation expects “more personalisation in how they want to be treated by their employer”.
Mark McCrindle, co-author of Work Wellbeing: Leading thriving teams in rapidly changing times, previously told the BBC that while older generations, and even millennials, are likely to “code switch” at work and adopt formal communication, Gen Z is much less inclined.
He said remote working during the pandemic had also accelerated this.
“We’re starting to really pull down those barriers between our work and personal or social life. We’re working from home, or in a mobile work environment, and that’s naturally creating a more relaxed workplace,” he said.