The adversity that the transition to remote working brought in early 2020 has made way to a fresh new challenge threatening to fragment your workforce: quiet quitting.
The recent phenomenon of quiet quitting has seen many employees ‘acting their wage’ and putting in the bare minimum as a form of labor protest. The underlying reasons behind the rise of quiet quitting range from a lack of engagement to work-related burnout.
Quiet quitting is a way of raising awareness of the need to protect work-life balance. It’s a pushback against the aggressive hustle culture that has largely characterized the past decade.
It isn’t just individuals, either - this is a collective issue. As such, the onus is on business leaders to reevaluate their policies, listen to their employees, and open the floor to discussions that can lead to lasting change.
Put simply, unless you want a silent revolution on your hands, you need to deal with quiet quitting quickly and decisively.
Top 5 Reasons for Quiet Quitting
By the time you notice a quiet quitting revolution, it’s probably too late. To prevent a landslide issue that results in dozens of employees leaving their positions, you need to take a proactive approach.
The evidence shows that lack of employee engagement at work is an issue that’s taken center stage in the past few years.
A sobering report from Gallup shows that while employee engagement has been on the up for over a decade, it has declined since 2021. 36% of employees were engaged with their work in 2020, and this has since slumped to 32% in the early stages of 2022.
To combat steep levels of disengagement, you need to know why some employees are putting in the bare minimum, so you can act now.
While it’s tempting to blame the phenomenon on individual laziness and disengagement, you can see the quiet quitting revolution as an opportunity to reflect on your business practices and boost employee retention through meaningful changes.
Employees aren’t robots: every individual has their limitations, and sometimes a heavy workload is enough to lead to burnout and disengagement.
It’s possible that during the first six months or so following the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, employees were asked to go above and beyond to maintain momentum. With colleagues subject to enforced lockdowns, dealing with difficult family situations, or suffering from the illness, some employees may have had to pick up the slack.
As a result, perceptions of productivity in your company may have changed, and it could be that a few employees have ended up with a lot more on their plates. This can lead to undue stress, and at worst, burnout.
How to Address it: Make sure team leaders distribute workloads evenly among their teams and maintain a system for continuous assessment of workload allocation. You can use free employee monitoring software like Insightful as a barometer for productivity, checking in on where everyone stands and identifying cases in which employees are over-exerting themselves.
Too Many Responsibilities
While a lot of your workforce may well have lofty ambitions and the drive to climb the career ladder, many individuals don’t. This is even more so the case now that the transition to new ways of working has caused many of us to reflect on what constitutes a healthy work-life balance.
Heaping additional responsibilities on employees is a risky strategy if you want to keep hold of your top performers. It’s important to draw a line and let your employees know that the effort they’re putting in is acknowledged and appreciated. Regular conversations with your team about their aspirations is also an important way to assess your team members’ willingness to take on more responsibility.
How to Address it: Pay attention to how hard each employee is working, so you know if they have the extra time to take on more responsibilities. With a PC activity monitor, you can assess how much time everyone in your team is pouring into various activities and whether that leaves them with much to spare.
Lack of Communication
Communication is often the key to maintaining healthy relationships with your employees. If each team member feels comfortable enough to mention an issue as soon as it arises for them, you can nip the problem of quiet quitting in the bud long before it develops.
When communication isn’t open within a company, you can end up in a situation where employees feel unheard - their gripes go unacknowledged and their problems are made to seem insignificant. If you want to fuel a quiet quitting revolution, the best way to go about it is to make your employees feel as if there’s a wall between you and them.
How to Address it: It sounds overly simplistic, but sometimes lending an ear and exercising real empathy is all it takes to prevent a disengagement issue. To aid the timing of these conversations, you can watch your employees’ computers periodically and call meetings when you notice slumps to address issues that might be going under the radar.
Blurred Work-life Boundaries
A strange precedent seems to have set in since the COVID-19 pandemic first started: less defined work-life boundaries. Many employees feel as if their superiors infringe on their right to a life outside of work as they’re bombarded with notifications and messages long after they clock out.
The last thing an employee who’s already struggling to cope with work-related stress wants is to feel as if they can never truly clock out of work. The rise of asynchronous communication tools has been a welcome adjustment to remote work life for many, but for some, it can sometimes feel like an additional burden.
How to Address it: Establish clear work-life boundaries and ensure managers and team leaders know when their employees clock out so they can respect work-life balance. You can use a pc monitoring tool like Insightful to schedule employee shifts, so team leaders can be notified once each shift ends.
If there’s one thing most employees want more of, it’s autonomy. Autonomy is the freedom to make your own decisions free from constraints and operate as an individual that has value to offer rather than simply following a preset, inflexible work plan.
When employees lack autonomy, their work schedule can quickly become intimidating when it’s assigned to them and they have no say in how to tackle it. This causes a problem when you have various working styles - while some prefer to ‘eat that frog’ and tackle the most urgent task first to get it out of the way, others thrive when they can build momentum by knocking off several smaller tasks first.
How to Address it: Even if you can’t offer your workforce much autonomy, you can let them determine their hours, approach certain tasks their own way, or track their own productivity. For the latter, you can use activity tracking software to transfer power into the employees’ hands and provide ownership of their own productivity.
The Bottom Line
Empowering your employees is an excellent way to increase engagement and curtail the risk of quiet quitting. If you’re wondering how to keep track of employee performance so you can identify signs of disengagement, sign up for an online work tracker such as Insightful.
When you use Insightful you can establish a benchmark for productivity on an individual, team, or company-wide level. You can see how many hours the top performers put in each month, and from there, identify the outliers or those at risk of burnout.
Using productivity benchmarks, you can take a proactive approach to address quiet quitting by actively listening to your employees and adjusting workload and responsibilities in accordance with each individual’s output.
By taking the time to monitor employee internet use, you can have a much clearer understanding of engagement levels across your organization.