Is “silent resignation” the latest workplace trend?

Silent resignation is the latest trend in the workplace, as staff aim to restore the balance.

The term silent resignation doesn’t actually involve resigning or quitting a job, but rather that staff are doing less work, setting boundaries at work and only committing to doing what they’re paid for, especially outside of normal working hours. It’s a way for employees to take back control of their life and in part, is seen as a response to stress or potential burnout.

silent resignation

Those choosing to distance themselves from work, are among a growing number of employees under the age of 30, who are adopting this new alternative to resignation and hoping to reclaim their freedom outside of the office. However, the trend is putting more strain on existing employees, who are often asked to do more for the same pay.

Recent research revealed that the UK saw a sharp rise in people quitting their jobs in 2021, and one fifth of UK workers still say they plan to resign in the next year in search of greater job satisfaction and better pay. PWC’s Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey, which was carried out in March, found that more than one in five around the world plan to quit their jobs in 2022.

There are a number of reasons people are seeking a change. Unsettled by the pandemic, the movement is causing a shift in employee attitudes toward their jobs, with people adapting to new ways of working during lockdowns and beginning to re-evaluate their careers and work-life balance as a result.

For many, employers have played a big part in why they’re walking away, with more workers questioning why they should put in 110% when their employers aren’t putting in the same effort in looking after their needs.

And yet experts agree that whilst it should be relatively easy to spot those disengaging from the wider workforce, the debate could ultimately benefit both employees and employers by revealing how communication between workers and managers in the modern workplace must change.

While some employers may wish to treat the quiet quitting as a conduct issue, it’s recommended that informally connecting with employees and fully understanding how and why the feel as they do, is the first step to resolving the issue.

Managers need to engage with their teams, to better understand what types of jobs they find unfulfilling, reinforce those tasks that get them motivated and question their motives and goals.

And there are experts who warn workers who are thinking of stepping back from their roles. With economic uncertainty comes the potential of recession and unemployment, and those with less visibility and doing the bare minimum may be the first to go.

Employers should be looking to collaborate with the employee and putting in place an effective plan which supports realistic workloads, appropriate boundaries, and ensures mental health and balance are at the heart of workplace culture.

For additional information on how to engage and motivate staff within the workplace in a post-Covid era, seek an independent HR advisor for guidance.