It's 4:00 pm, and you've been working at the pop-up desk next to your bed since 9:00 am. You could get ahead of the game and finish that report for tomorrow, or you could spend an hour scrolling through TikTok and then get dinner on. If you're choosing the latter, then you are not alone.
Attending your meetings over teams and updating your managers via meaningless emails, you're feeling lonely, and under-appreciated, and you're concerned that your employer feels indifferent about you. These are all signs of 'quiet quitting'. But what does this new TikTok trending hashtag mean?
What is quiet quitting?
Put simply, 'quiet quitting' is a term used to describe an employee putting the bare minimum effort into their work. There is no suggestion that not going the extra mile at work is a new concept, however, social media may be increasing the percentage of people working in this way. You may be thinking, how can one trend on social media influence generations of employees? Social media has the power to influence people, turning things we think about subconsciously into something we actively work towards.
In fact, the phrase, which became viral on TikTok in the summer of 2022, had more than 1.2 million online searches during August alone. (Similarweb, 2022)
Disengagement whilst working from home doesn't just have effects on company productivity but also the mental wellbeing of employees. And we're not talking about people working their set hours, moving away from the long-hours culture we've had historically. Overlapping of personal and work time caused by hybrid working is the real cause for blame here.
But how are employers tackling this issue and are there better alternatives that haven't been explored yet?
"While 87% of employees felt they were productive, 85% of bosses said hybrid working made it difficult for them to be confident of that." (Microsoft, 2022)
Considering the above data, a lot of companies are exploring new ways to improve the productivity of hybrid workers.
"57% of UK companies have already implemented or are planning measures to monitor productivity since the shift to hybrid." (VMware, 2021)
But is the idea of monitoring productivity too invasive for the modern worker? With the progressive changes in the working world brought about post - covid, our guess is this solution will not sit lightly. Bosses need to delve deeper into the root of why workers are choosing to do the bare minimum and nurture them back into a positive workspace where they feel productive and appreciated.
So what are the alternatives?
1. Ensure proper communication
Communication is one of the main factors that contribute to company productivity. Without a built-in communication system, say Teams or Slack, businesses fail. Communication plays a significant role in helping employees to understand their job responsibilities. Whether you need to onboard, deliver employee training, or have a place to accommodate important notes, consider creating an effective communication channel for all teams within your company.
2. But don't let that communication seep into their personal time
Burnout may be confused with productivity and if it goes on for too long, have the opposite effect by pushing employees to quiet quitting. By helping hybrid workers to differentiate work and personal time, your company will reap the benefits. The use of technology to actively prevent hidden overwork outside of work hours can be a great alternative to productivity monitoring and uplift your employees.
3. Reward your employees
Employees work best when given a reason to do so – they want their work to be appreciated and would rather have real praise compared to a ‘virtual pat on the back' from their employers. According to a recent study, 85% of employees felt more motivated to do their best in exchange for an incentive. (Genesis Analytics, 2021) These incentives can be in the form of money, paid vacation, free vouchers, extra time off, free lunch/coffee, etc.
To answer the question of whether the modern worker will put up with screen monitoring is simply a no, and retaining talent in the industry will become very difficult for companies who factor this into their agenda. Instead, bosses should be looking at maintaining a healthy, positive relationship with their employees to prevent 'quiet quitting' and build up their hybrid workers' spirits.