- How Low Job Satisfaction Fueled the Great Resignation.
- How Quiet Quitting Became the Antidote to Hustle Culture.
- Middle Managers and the C.Suite are Also Experiencing Burnout and Disengagement.
- Businesses and Leaders can No Longer Afford to ignore the Growing Mental Health Crisis
- Steps Businesses Can Take to Improve Employee Engagement, Productivity, and Retention
- Boost Employee Well-Being and Retention with Structured Support from a Sigrid Virtual Assistant
1. How Low Job Satisfaction Fueled the Great Resignation
According to a recent study from PwC, one in five workers globally plans to quit in 2022. There are many reasons for this heightened employee attrition rate—and chief among them is workers’ desire for greater work-life balance.
After a long period of remote work with no commutes, many workers want to hold on to the flexibility they enjoyed during the lockdowns. Workers are also prioritizing other intangibles, like job fulfillment, the ability to be authentic at work, and collaborating with teams that support their well-being.
A survey released by the Pew Research Center in 2021 cited similarly negative feedback from employees. The majority of workers who’d resigned that year cited low wages (63%), limited opportunities for career advancement (63%), feeling disrespected at work (57%), and childcare issues (48%) as some of the main reasons why they’d resigned from their jobs.
Numerous studies have also shown that it’s the younger generations (i.e. Millennials and Gen Zs) who are most likely to feel dissatisfied at work. Burned out from demanding jobs, rising living costs, and the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic, many are looking for jobs that offer greater flexibility, more generous compensation, and more opportunities for career advancement.
Employees who aren’t happy at their current jobs but aren’t looking to resign immediately are resorting to "quiet quitting" to avoid burnout and safeguard their mental health.
2. How Quiet Quitting Became the Antidote to Hustle Culture
Known by previous generations as “coasting at work” and “slacking off,” quiet quitting is a new buzzword that was popularized on TikTok by a user named Bryan Creely. In his video, Creely explains that workers who’re fed up with toxic work environments and long hours are turning to quiet quitting to avoid getting fired or becoming unemployed.
But what exactly is quiet quitting?
According to Creely, it describes people who hate their jobs and are “kicking it back and taking it easy” without actually quitting. Investopedia describes it more elegantly as “doing the minimum requirements of one’s job and putting in no more time, effort, or enthusiasm than absolutely necessary. As such, it is something of a misnomer, since the worker doesn’t actually leave their position and continues to collect a salary.”
Rather worryingly, quiet quitters make up at least 50% of the US workforce, according to Gallup. Workers who fit this description are disengaged at work and are committed to accomplishing just the bare minimum to get by. This psychological detachment from work has had a negative impact on productivity and the overall growth of businesses and the economy.
Shrinking productivity could also force employers to initiate mass layoffs to survive, as demonstrated by the recent bloodlettings at Meta and Twitter.
In many ways, quiet quitting appears to be a reaction to previous workplace norms like hustle culture. Also known as “burnout culture,” hustle culture is focused on working excessively long hours—often to the detriment of personal relationships and work-life balance—in order to achieve one’s professional goals.
Quiet quitting appears to be an extreme reaction to these toxic work attitudes, exacerbated by the pandemic and employees’ desire to find greater meaning and fulfillment outside of their jobs.
And it isn’t just rank-and-file employees who are feeling actively disengaged from their work: The same Gallup study indicates that managers have also experienced a major drop in workplace engagement since the second half of 2021.
3. Middle Managers and the C-Suite are Also Experiencing Burnout and Disengagement
Of all office workers, middle managers are reporting the highest levels of stress, burnout, and poor work-life balance, according to new research from Future Forum. Forty-three percent of all surveyed middle managers reportedly felt burned out—and their exhaustion is driven by the pressure to deliver results amid declining productivity and economic uncertainty.
Middle managers also have to deal with the frustrations of direct reports who’re being forced to comply with ever-changing remote, hybrid, and return-to-office (RTO) policies. RTO policies tend to be unpopular with workers, and middle managers don’t always feel comfortable enforcing work policies they may not personally endorse.
The most disenchanted of middle managers are choosing to throw in the towel, returning to roles that don’t require them to supervise people. Others are exiting their professions altogether.
C-level executives aren’t immune to burnout, and record numbers are joining the exodus of resigning employees. “So far this year, 518 CEOs have left their posts, the highest January-April total since [we] began tracking monthly CEO changes in 2002,” states a new report on CEO exits from Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
To combat attrition, some companies are increasing wages for their top brass. However, it’s pretty clear that money alone won't prevent exhausted senior executives from walking out the door.
Like their rank-and-file and middle manager counterparts, leaders are succumbing to “COVID clarity”. Many are leaving demanding positions due to a perceived lack of work-life balance.
A common thread has emerged: the pandemic has forced many people to take stock of their lives—and many have come to the conclusion that they’re no longer willing to sacrifice their health and personal lives for extremely demanding careers and unrealistic work hours.
Workers are looking for the following:
- Greater flexibility,
- work that aligns with their values and passions,
- a return to wellness, and
- an emphasis on enriching personal lives.
4. Businesses and Leaders can No Longer Afford to Ignore the Growing Mental Health Crisis
Businesses that want to survive and thrive in the immediate future can no longer afford to ignore the mental health crisis exposed by the Great Resignation and quiet quitting. They need to invest in programs and policies that promote employee health, wellness, and well-being.
Organizations that invest in viable employee retention strategies are more likely to produce happy, productive, and engaged workers. This, in turn, will have a positive impact on the organizations’ resilience, productivity, and future growth.
5. Steps Businesses Can Take to Improve Employee Engagement, Productivity, and Retention
There are a number of policies and programs employers can introduce to improve employee retention, engagement, and productivity. Aside from offering competitive base salaries or hourly wages, businesses can also provide flexible schedules and reduced workdays.
Some employers are testing four-day workweeks, which would allow employees to work only four days a week while still receiving the same salary and benefits as employees who work five days a week. These employees would still shoulder the same workload as those who work 40 hours a week.
Just as importantly, employers need to foster a culture that actively encourages work-life balance. This could be as simple as encouraging employees to take personal leaves and discouraging them from answering emails or phone calls outside office hours.
Employers should also focus on building a strong rapport with their employees. By giving them a safe space where they can voice their concerns, struggles, and aspirations, employers can boost employee engagement and increase morale. This would have a positive trickle down effect on the rest of the organization and would reduce employee turnover.
As for wellness, employers should focus on providing their employees with quality health insurance and discourage them from working when they’re sick. Employees who are experiencing severe burnout should also be encouraged to take mental health leaves. Exhausted employees could use this time to rest, recharge, spend time with loved ones, or enjoy their hobbies.
6. Boost Employee Well-Being and Retention with Structured Support from a Sigrid Virtual Assistant
While employers can take meaningful steps to enhance their employees’ well-being and work-life balance, another key factor that is sometimes overlooked is administrative support. A major contributor to workplace burnout are endless to-do lists and secondary tasks that aren’t directly connected to major goals and projects.
To maximize your employees’ productivity and avoid spreading them too thin, consider providing them with administrative support from a qualified Sigrid Virtual Executive Assistant.
Admin support from Executive Virtual Assistants allows C-level executives, teams, managers, and rank-and-file employees to outsource repetitive and non-core tasks to qualified professionals who can perform these tasks for them.
You can also offer virtual assistant services as a work perk to employees who need a Family Virtual Assistant to help them manage their household and family logistics.
Here are some of the work-related tasks and personal to-dos that can be delegated to your Sigrid Virtual Executive Assistant:
- Calendar Management & Meeting Scheduling
- Travel Management
- Project Management Assistance
- Human Resources
- Social Media Management
- IT Support
- Household Maintenance & Repairs
- Child & Family Logistics
- Personal & Family Agendas
- Bookings at Pubs, Restaurants & Hotels
- Activities & Entertainment
- Birthdays & Holidays
- Child Care & Schooling
- Home, Car & Garden
- Online Bills Payments
- Health & Personal Care
- Reminders About Important Dates & Events
We also offer Virtual Project Management Assistants to teams that require structured support for their projects.