A lot has been written recently on quiet quitting - the tendency for employees to "check out" and do the minimum required at their job. They don't actually quit but they no longer engage in any "extra-role" behaviors, often seen as an important characteristic of workforce engagement.
Remote work practices may have contributed to this phenomenon as they can make it harder for managers to identify and address motivation issues. They may sometimes create a disconnect between the employee and the rest of the team, which can erode team spirit and "belongingness". The blurring of the lines between work and personal life, can make it harder for employees to achieve work-life balance, and even contribute to burnout.
Having said that, it is also possible that some employees may experience a sense of discomfort or dissatisfaction with returning to rigid schedules after experiencing a period of flexibility or autonomy. This can manifest as a feeling of being "trapped" or constrained by the new demands (and perceived lack of adequate justification) and may lead to a desire to disengage or withdraw from certain activities or responsibilities.
Given the prevalence of this phenomenon, it is important that managers can spot the behaviors that signal "quiet quitting". Indeed, to spot a quiet quitter, one should look for signs of disengagement such as lack of participation in meetings, decreased productivity, and lack of communication with colleagues.
Quiet quitting can be compared to sneaking out of a party without saying goodbye to the host, or slowly backing out of a group text conversation without alerting the other members. It can also be seen as a subtle and polite way of ending something while avoiding any potential drama or conflict.
Here are some examples:
• Pretending to be busy and not responding to invitations or messages.
• Unsubscribing from emails or newsletters without letting the sender know.
• Quietly slipping out of a meeting without drawing attention to themselves
• Gradually reducing their involvement in a activity like a workgroup without formally letting anyone know.