Whether your business has fully embraced remote working or has established a hybrid of office and home working, it’s likely your employees are enjoying the flexibility your company continues to afford them long after the pandemic moved on. However, there’s now a new challenge that employers must look out for, and remote working is a major cause. It’s called “quiet quitting.”
What is quiet quitting?
Quiet quitting is when an employee appears to be working, but they’re actually only putting in the minimum effort required in order to keep their job and collect a salary. This means they’re not contributing any of the enthusiasm and energy that they used to and have mentally “checked out”. In some cases, they use the time they’ve saved by doing less work for you to take on a second job and another line of income.
Why are people quietly quitting?
We’ve already mentioned that quiet quitting can free up time for those in need of additional income to take on a second job; something growing in popularity due to the cost of living crisis. But there are other reasons.
The pandemic caused fatigue for many people. It changed their working life beyond recognition, may have reduced their responsibilities, and they may have lost colleagues. Thanks to reduced time in the office, many are feeling disconnected from their job and colleagues.
Not only that, but the mental health crisis continues to worsen, which can have a huge impact on productivity and focus.
The last reason is boredom. Without the commute, the banter, and the travel to meetings – there is more time in the working day to get work done, and that feeling of not being busy can be very demotivating. So, what can be done about it?
How do you identify employees who are quietly quitting?
Here are some tell-tale Quiet Quitting signs to look out for:
- Decreased productivity: If someone used to be very productive but their output has suddenly dropped, this could be a sign they’re no longer putting in the same effort.
- A lack of enthusiasm and focus on the job. If a once enthused employee has lost their spark and no longer invests in their job, this could be another sign.
- Increased errors and mistakes. Without care or focus on the job, more mistakes will inevitably be made.
- A request to work from home a lot more often, or a refusal to return to the office as frequently as you’d like them to.
What can you do as an employer to manage the situation?
There are a couple of things you can do as an employer to tackle quiet quitting head-on. First, you need to understand why your employees appear less engaged. Armed with this knowledge, you’re in a better position to act accordingly or provide help where needed.
Ensure regular check-ins, both as a team and one-on-one with your direct reports. This will allow you to identify any issues quickly and address them before they escalate.
If productivity has declined, reiterate your expectations by referring back to their performance plan or targets and highlighting areas that need improvement.
We mentioned that changes in productivity and engagement could stem from poor mental health. As an employer, you have a duty of care to support their mental well-being. Ensure proper support systems are in place for employees who are struggling. This could involve internal coaches or external assistance.
Combat boredom by offering training and development options and assigning challenging tasks. Recognise and appreciate hard work to build morale and cultivate a positive working environment.
Promote team building and combat feelings of isolation stemming from remote work. Regular video calls or virtual team events will maintain connections among team members.
What are the consequences of not managing quitters effectively?
Ignoring the signs of quiet quitting can be detrimental. Poor performance, lack of motivation, and unhappiness affect the entire team, lowering morale and productivity. If these issues aren’t addressed promptly, it may lead to further disruption in your workplace.
Moreover, if you don’t understand why an employee is quietly quitting, they may feel unsupported and unfairly treated, leading to larger issues like a damaged employer brand or even potential legal actions.
In conclusion, employers must be vigilant for signs of quiet quitting. Understanding the reasons, offering support, and creating growth opportunities can prevent larger issues. This proactive approach ensures a positive work environment and keeps employees engaged and productive.
For more support on quiet quitting or any other people management issue, get in touch.