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It’s viral, it’s the latest work trend, and it’s called Quiet Quitting. It is the idea of refusing to work overtime and not taking calls after work. Quiet Quitting has many workers rethinking the value of their jobs and the time and attention they assign to them. This trending topic is generating a lot of debate and here is what you need to know about it – if you want to stay connected to workplace culture.
WHAT IS QUIET QUITTING?
Quiet Quitting may sound like you are bowing out officially from your job, but instead it means quitting the overworking culture but staying on the company payroll. Viewed in its most positive light, the concept encourages employees to maintain an appropriate separation between work and personal life and break away from hustle culture.
Whether it’s the phenomenon of Quiet Quitting or not, a lot of people are feeling disconnected from the purpose of their jobs. According to a 2022 Gallup survey, 60% of employees report being emotionally detached from work; 19% report being miserable. Only 33% say that they’re engaged at work. “So if we think that the other 60% are emotionally detached — maybe the emotional detachment is the quiet quitting”, says Rebbeca Knight, Senior Correspondent of Careers and the Workplace at Insider.
WHERE DID QUIET QUITTING COME FROM?
The phrase Quiet Quitting has been generating millions of views on the social networking platform, TikTok. TikToker Zaid Khan made “Quiet Quitting” a huge hit on the internet. Zaid has been quoted saying that Quiet Quitting is “quitting the idea of above and beyond for your job”. They are doing only what they are paid to do. In a nutshell, it is a shift to focus on life beyond work and its commitments, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant mental health problems and burnout.
WHO QUIET QUITS?
According to a Resume Builder survey, ‘1 in 4 of workers are ‘quiet quitting,’ saying no to hustle culture. Maggie Perkins is a teacher who began quiet quitting in 2018 when her daughter was born. In a discussion with CNBC, Perkins said she chose to work only her minimum contracted hours so she could make it to her daycare pickup on time and avoid late fines. Some news coverage have suggested that Quiet Quitting is primarily done by Gen Z or people in their early 20s. But Fast Company pointed out recently that Gen X-ers, now in their 50s, were also called out for deciding there were more important things than work.
IS IT GOOD OR BAD?
Well, it depends on who you ask. It’s either a healthy boundary or an example of the worst sort of passive-aggressive behavior you can bring to work. Asley Lutz’s Fortune article explores how Americans have normalized this trend and the passive-aggression that comes with it. Plenty of backlash to the trend exists, and the argument is that silent, quiet, withdrawal is one way to burn bridges and leave your boss and coworkers demoralized and dissatisfied.
WHY SHOULD MANAGERS BE PREPARED FOR IT?
Since the trend is spreading like wildfire, managers who want to deal with staff shortages and meet their organization’s goals should be ready for Quiet Quitting. While work life balance is a priority for Gen Z and Millennials, finances are also a cause of worry. Burdened by inflation and rising cost of rents, many Quiet Quitters are simply not willing to work without pay.
WHY IS IT A CONCERN?
Since the occurrence of COVID, there has been a significant transformation in the workplace. From the rising popularity of shared workspaces to the talk of a four-day workweek, the rules for the new workplace are still being written.
Managers can maximize retention and meet deadlines more effectively by giving employees the work they enjoy and letting them decide how to spend their time on it. Simone Ahuja, a Fortune 500 strategic consultant who focuses on fostering innovation, suggests managers ask employees about their progress. She recommends managers understand how employees feel about their workload, and ask how they will balance it with everything else on their plate. A collaborative approach among employees to achieve team and individual objectives with breathing room for their personal life can be fruitful for employee retention.
To break out of the Quiet Quitting mindset, Allison Peck, a career coach suggests that people find a job, manager, team, or company that better aligns with them in order to stay motivated.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
Corporate space planners, managers, and executives need to work together to keep employees driven at their workplace. Space Planners can bring utilization metrics to the table to build better spaces that can improve employee satisfaction and help employees feel better about their work environment.
Nupur Patra contributes to the Blog and Social Media channels for Lambent. She is currently a graduate student at Northeastern University in the Digital Media program.
Everyone’s heard of remote and hybrid work models, but what about the “shybrid” approach? The term “shybrid” was first coined by Paul McKinlay, vice president of communications and remote working at printing company Cimpress, in a Bloomberg article in December. McKinlay described it as “the failure of companies to accept that they have, in many cases, lost the right to demand in-person attendance at a piece of real estate on any kind of regular basis. It’s about continually pushing back return dates without declaring on a future model and leaving people in this limbo.”
This shybrid approach is the result of a big gap between what employers want and what their employees want. An August survey from accounting and advisory organization, Grant Thorton, showed that 89% of executives plan to return to the office full time while 17% of non-executive workers want to fully return to the office.
This reluctance to commit to a single return to office date or strategy causes valuable talent to walk out the door–every departure costing companies money, resources, and time to rehire.
WHY DON’T EMPLOYEES WANT TO RETURN TO THE OFFICE?
Employees enjoy the flexibility that hybrid work offers them. They can decide when and where they work instead of being confined to a cubicle from 9 to 5. Hybrid work settings also allow employees to have a better work-life balance. Flexibility makes it easier in some cases to work around strict childcare hours and have more opportunities to participate in hobbies outside of work. Remote work also eliminates expenses for employees whether it’s wardrobe or commuting costs.
The pandemic has introduced the benefits of working from home, and many people aren’t willing to give up the freedom that a hybrid or remote work model provides them. A January poll from Bloomberg Morning Consult showed that 55 percent of remote workers would consider leaving their job if they were asked back to the office.
WHY IS SHYBRID STILL HAPPENING A YEAR LATER?
Some suspect that this stubbornness from employers comes from their refusal to relinquish a sense of control. Others believe it may be due to fear of losing the company culture and difficulty collaborating and communicating virtually.
Despite employers’ efforts to get people back in the office, many employees are reluctant to comply. Since many companies adhere to a hybrid or remote approach, organizations that continue to push in-person attendance suffer to retain talent, costing them money.
Since many companies adhere to a hybrid or remote approach, organizations that continue to push in-person attendance suffer to retain talent, costing them money.
Robert Teed, a Lambent advisor, and Founder and Chief Coaching Officer at Integri Group, acknowledged the battle between executives’ desire for a full office and employees’ preference for remote work at a recent fireside chat. Workers have said, ‘Hey, we want more flexibility,’ Teed remarked. “I tend to sort of wrap that [together] as being choice and flexibility, but the concept is exactly the same: it’s that they want to control that part of their lives.”
SO, WHAT’S NEXT FOR RETURN TO OFFICE?
Well, the summer months and typical vacation schedules might not help. The Pew Institute conducted a survey that showed that 64 percent of workers felt that it was easier to balance work and personal life after switching to telework. This includes the ability to vacation and spend time with family.
Not being constrained to the office, remote employees are able to work from wherever they choose which allows them to travel during the summer months.
WHAT CAN EMPLOYERS DO?
If employers are going to continue to pressure workers to come back into the office, then they need to redesign their spaces to enhance the in-person experience. Consequently, space planning teams have been tasked to plan the smartest spaces possible. For example, Space and Occupancy Planners at Wells Fargo, Inc. in Minneapolis are expected to understand shared and flexible seating and workplace strategies as well as concepts such as desk sharing.
Space planning teams are also reducing costs with better space management. Corporations need to reduce or restructure their office space in order to accommodate a workforce that will not return to a 5-day office presence.
Space planners need data they can easily visualize and the ability to predict future utilization patterns. They can get some information from badging but it lacks sophistication and the ability to predict future trends. Powerful AI software like Lambent Spaces has helped major employers bring workers back to the office safely.
Alex Trotto contributes to the Blog and Social Media channels for Lambent. She is currently a Northeastern University student in her sophomore year.
As the effects of the COVID19 pandemic continue to be felt deep into 2021, companies are still wrestling with the problems of reopening. Thousands of companies abandoned their physical offices in the first couple of months of the pandemic, despite many thinking about their office reopening in a few weeks or a few months. People were shocked to think we’d be out past the first September. With buildings empty, many companies even considered selling or leasing out their space but there was no one to rent the space to. That space, however, is ready to be put back to use. As employees plan their return to their respective physical offices, they should be considering a set of questions regarding the safety of their workplace.
DO I HAVE TO COME TO THE OFFICE, AND HOW WILL I GET THERE?
For employees, the fear around returning to the workplace safely may have less to do with the office itself, and more with their means of getting there. In major cities like San Francisco, New York, and Boston, commuters rely heavily on mass transit. During the peak of the pandemic, Time described public transport like buses and trains for COVID19 as ‘apocalyptic’. Some passengers don’t use masks, and bus drivers can sometimes ignore capacity limits, leading to potentially dangerous overcrowding. Even if masks are worn and drivers are mindful of occupancy limits, it’s very understandable to still feel uneasy about using public transportation. In response to this concern, companies like Freemark Financial are given employees stipends for Ubers and Lyfts to ensure their employees are comfortable with their means of transportation. The question of whether ‘I have to come to the office’ is more often than not situational, and dependent on policies already in place at your company.
IS MY COMPANY ADOPTING A HYBRID OR FLEXIBLE MODEL, OR BOTH?
Naturally, companies have begun to adopt a hybrid or flexible work model for their employees. These models are only gaining popularity, and according to GoodHire, 85% of Americans said they would prefer to apply for a job that guaranteed remote or hybrid working arrangements.
Understanding the difference between these two models is very important. A hybrid office allows employees to choose which days of the week they want to be in person, and which they want to remain at home. The hybrid model is particularly useful for limiting the total number of employees in the office at a given time. This number can be based on previously established occupancy thresholds determined by space occupancy data. Hybrid is still 9:00 to 5:00, whereas a flexible model has more lenient, less concrete hours. The flexible model allows an employee to step away from the office to tend to other manners. Leaving work at 3:00 to pick up your kids from school, for example, would be part of a flexible schedule.
HOW WILL MY COMPANY KEEP ME SAFE?
If your company is allowing employees in person, there should be multiple measures in place to ensure their health and security. Your office can guarantee this is done safely and efficiently using AI and crowd management solutions. People counting software and occupancy heatmaps can be used to track overall capacity in different rooms. Real-time alerting can highlight whether a space is getting too crowded, or an entire floor is at capacity. Knowing that a hotspot is forming is extremely powerful for facilities staff, and making sure your employees are comfortable when they are in person. Sanitation schedules become smarter after seeing typical flow throughout a building, and security schedules can be more efficient after reviewing space use for events on the calendar. Employees don’t only fear their workspace, but equally their colleagues. A Deloitte survey confirmed that 91% of employees are concerned about masks, 89% social distancing, and 56% daily health confirmation. In order to maintain safety, 84% of employees surveyed would prefer some combination of the following protocols:
- Masks for all employees in the office.
- Only being allowed back in the office with proof of a vaccine.
- Capacity limits on the number of people allowed in the office.
- Daily sanitizing of all workplace surfaces.
It’s only natural that employees will be hesitant about returning in person after so long, so having sound safety precautions in place is a must.
WILL I HAVE MY OWN DEDICATED SPACE AND DESK?
It is very likely that your office space, and your own personal space, will look far different than it did before the pandemic. Facility managers should be prepared to repurpose and adapt space in order to maintain social distancing and safety for employees. In the new flexible workplace, companies are starting to use hot-desking– a system that limits the number of desks in the office space. This means multiple employees will use the same physical workstations at different points in the day in order to limit contact and maximize space. For more on hot-desking and maximizing your space, check out our space utilization blog.
WHAT DO LEADERS THINK ABOUT REMOTE WORK?
If your team is curious, don’t leave them asking; talk about how your organization will help them navigate a new type of work. This question has divided many CEO’s, and is again dependent on your company’s policies. Jonathan Wasserstrum, CEO of the New York commercial-real-estate company SquareFoot, told The Atlantic, “I believe that work is better when most of the people are in the office most of the time together”. Wasserstrum would go on to say, “if somebody didn’t believe in the value of an office at least one day a week, they probably shouldn’t be at the company anyway”. Studying the efficiency of work from home is not a new concept. In 2010, Kimberly Elsbach, a management professor at UC Davis, interviewed 39 managers concerning their views on in-person and remote. The study found that there was a strong belief amongst managers that if you really wanted to move up in the company, you had to be in the office, and be seen in the office. This included coming in early and staying late in order to be noticed by management. If you are concerned about job security because of your work-from-home status, voicing these concerns to an advisor could be the best course of action.
These are just five frequently asked reopening questions your employees may be wondering about. They certainly have others. The best thing that you as a leader in your organization can do is proactively communicate policies, implement safeguards around the spread of diseases, and ease their fears with as much guidance and assistance as possible.
Gabriel is also on the Society for Information Management (SIM) National management team and is a Board member for SIM Metro New York. In recent weeks, Gabriel has been on calls with senior business professionals as well as with SIM members across the nation who are discussing how and when to reopen businesses. In large companies, Gabriel expects health monitoring and change management to be top priorities.
Gabriel spoke recently with Lambent about CIOs, COVID-19 and reopen strategies. The CIO & Executive series is being showcased by Lambent as we explore our role in helping campuses and venues reopen.
On CIO Pressures: “They’re getting more inundated with all the virtual meetings and emails they normally wouldn’t need—because people would be around them. They’re getting clobbered with a lot of virtual meetings and they’re extending the work day. And we all know that most companies and most people are not good at having effective meetings, where people keep to an agenda point without going off on tangents. So, time is actually a bigger problem now. I haven’t heard of one person yet say ‘My job is easier now.’ They actually have more to do than they did when they went to the office.
It’s tough. If I were a CIO now, one of the two biggest issues I would be facing is the impact on major projects, ones that you know you need to do—they’re stacking up, and the need for those projects isn’t going away. But what’s happening now is they’re getting pushed out. So, when we do reopen, you’re going to have intense pressure to get these delayed projects done as fast as possible. The other pressure I would be concerned about is my vendor relationships, where the account executives would often come [to my office.] My assistant would be curating all that; they might come in for a 15-minute or 30-minute update, and it was one after the other. While I could do that virtually, it’s not the same. When someone’s in the room, you could sense a certain energy. You could just sense things differently. If you have a project that is sliding, you can feel it. You can’t necessarily see it. You can just feel it. For now, that extra sense is gone.”
On Workplace Health: “Do you have it [COVID-19] or did you have it—and do you have the antibodies? Those things are crucial. My personal feeling is that in large companies, the human resources department, which almost always has some medical assistance-will be bulked up.
Whether that is taking the temperature of people before they come in, whether it’s to assess [prior to reopening] who in their companies had it, or is showing symptoms. I think there’s going to be a lot of that surveillance, whether it’s with cameras, or whether it’s with people just reporting.
Are we going to have to wear masks? Probably advisable. Should the company provide those masks? Absolutely. They should have those available so that everyone coming in [to the building] has one.But social distancing with mass transit and office buildings is a definite concern. How are you going to distance anyone working in a large multi-floor building? Is one person allowed on the staircase or an elevator at once? It doesn’t work. There’s no reasonable way I could think of social distancing working at any scale in those scenarios.
I would probably start by staggering it—some people work at home, and some people work at the office – in some rotation that makes sense based on the work they do. Everyone’s going to try some things and see what works and share some best practices. And if you end up with a breakout in your company, you’re probably going to retreat very quickly to everyone again working from home.”
On Trust: “It’s really tough. We know almost everywhere we go, some technology company or the government knows where we are— and what we’re doing. But for some reason, we feel less comfortable with our own company doing that. I think it would probably need to have some level of communication with the staff and possibly some polling of them to say that if we were going to use a particular application, we won’t know who you are. What we know is 10 people got on the elevator and that’s a bad thing. And if we use it purely for that purpose and had some vetting, maybe our external audit firm would be able to validate that privacy—and verify there’s no way we can see who it is or use that information for another purpose.”
On the New Normal: “I think anyone who’s saying this is the new company scenario—where there are no main physical locations, and everyone can be more productive at homes—is somewhat delusional. I really do. I know someone at [unnamed company] who needed to do network segmentation to improve security. Now they can’t continue with that because they can’t physically be in the building to address physical equipment. That can’t be done remotely. Some projects are stopping, and people have things they need to do. I think we’re going to see more flexibility with work at home, but we already have seen a lot of it before COVID-19. I think we may just see more of this flexibility going forward–unless COVID-19 has strong medical mitigation, and even then we have to be prepared for the next outbreak.
People do want to go back, though. They miss the socializing. They miss going out to lunches and dinners, breaking bread, and talking to people and sharing experiences. They miss the physical contact. Even if it’s a pat on the back, they miss that. You don’t get that through video. Most people I’ve spoken to are saying ‘I like some of the home time, but I really miss being in the office.’ I think if this continues it will also affect retention, because when you’re just working from home you don’t have the same level of attachment that you do in an office environment.”
On Implementing Change: “The success rate of any major change initiative, or any major project, unfortunately, has been about one-third successful—fully successful—for four decades. Major change initiatives and projects, more likely than not, do not succeed. That’s with everyone being available, being able to go down to their office, being able to pull people into a meeting quickly, knowing where they are. We don’t know what that’s going to be like in this virtual world. We know that some people, like software engineers, actually can become more productive if they’re not bothered by everyone around them. Some workers could be more productive working remotely, but if you’re part of a team, very few large teams could perform as well if they’re separated remotely. Communication usually starts to break down at some point, and I don’t think we’ve been doing it long enough to see the impact of that yet.”
Lambent is helping campuses and venues reopen with confidence by relying on AI-driven data to help company executives and employees make informed decisions about space utilization and workplace social distancing.