‘Quiet quitting’ tightens its grip on the UK workforce

Since when has doing the bare minimum at work been a thing?! According to a recent article in The Guardian, there’s a worrying trend among workers to do just enough in the office to get by before promptly shutting down their computers come 5 pm. And not giving work another thought until the next day, and arguably not even then.

What is quiet quitting all about?

Some say the rise in quiet quitting is linked to a marked drop in job satisfaction. Gallup’s global workplace report for 2022 showed that only 9% of workers in the UK were engaged or enthusiastic about their work, ranking 33rd out of 38 European countries.

The pandemic triggered a general question about the role of work and this almost certainly lies at the root of quiet quitting. People are seeking positions that are meaningful to them and align with their core values in a way they never used to. Add in exhaustion, burnout, spiralling inflation and remote working that sometimes simply means permanently being in work mode, and it’s easy to understand why some workers might want to coast for a while.

What can employers do to stem the tide?

So what can employers do to help employees whose interest, motivation, satisfaction and engagement have disappeared? While workers shouldn’t be expected to outperform continuously, they should apply all their energy and know-how to their work tasks during working hours.

By way of response, some companies are designing jobs specifically to give employees control, pride in their work and a fair wage. They’re checking in with all their employees regularly to ensure they feel valued and appreciated, and that they have a reasonable, realistic workload.

According to HR News.co.uk, to tackle the issue, companies should regularly find out how employees are feeling – using anonymised surveys for example – and develop initiatives to deal with the issues and causes. It also recommends that managers have regular one-on-one meetings with all of their direct reports (on-site and remote) to find out how things are going and what they want from their careers. These discussions should be treated as an opportunity to talk about career progression in terms of a journey with lots of exciting stops along the way, and not just a distant end destination.

Indeed, the quiet quitting phenomenon is causing HR professionals to pause for thought. It’s an emerging trend and potential solutions are in the early stages. What are your expert tips on the subject? If you find that those quiet quitters transition to actual quitters, please get in touch. Thanks to our vast pool of talented, experienced active job seekers, we will quickly find you, great candidates, to fill the gaps.