Will Employees be Returning to the Office and What’s Behind Quiet Quitting?

The Great Resignation – Will Employees be Returning to the Office?

One of the key questions being asked in the business world today is “Will employees be returning to the office?” According to a recent Gallup poll, the majority of office workers across the US want to return to their jobs . . .  some of the time anyway.  The primary reasons for a partial return include collaborating and socializing with their co-workers as well as making important decisions alongside them.  However, this is only a part of the scenario as there is another side to this that many are neglecting to talk about.

Interestingly enough, some employees preferred the remote working life over returning to the office.  Many were upset because of how much they had enjoyed it and couldn’t figure out why, after nearly 2 years of working at home, they would have to return to the workplace.  Furthermore, individuals who were anxious about returning to their offices didn’t find the same situation that they left behind when they were forced to start working remotely.

Why Isn’t the Return to Office Life Working Out?

There are several reasons that the return back to the office place isn’t working.  For one, bosses and employees have different regarding how their offices should be used.  After two years of living with the pandemic and working remotely from home, individuals have developed their expectations as to how their time should be spent.  Unfortunately, as increasing numbers of individuals are returning to the workplace, their ability to focus, level of satisfaction on the job, and stress levels have deteriorated.

The Other Side of the Equation

With the onset of the pandemic, many office employees started working remotely from home.  In a sense, it was the beginning of a new era in the jobs sector.  Unfortunately, many of those remote workers opted not to return to their former employers and have sought employment elsewhere, thereby leaving holes to fill at their former workplace.  As an employer in these circumstances, you have to be concerned about replenishing your workforce and bringing your daily operations back up to speed.

What’s Behind ‘Quiet Quitting’

Returning to the office is one thing, but returning to the former level of effort and the ‘above and beyond’ mentality is something all together different.

This new work ethic is based upon a priority to life-balance and that work is not the end all, be all that it was once was seen as. It’s not something that a person declares or can be labeled as, but what everyone can agree on is that the term doesn’t mean that an employee has quit, but rather that they are setting boundaries at work and refusing to go above and beyond in completing their duties.

That seems healthy, and productive, but it’s not the same as the person who was just doing the bare minimum to keep the job. As we see in this article from CBS news:

“People see ‘quiet’ and ‘quitting’ and they think it’s about quitting, but really what quiet quitting means is someone who has decided, ‘I want to prioritize my well-being overall and things outside of work’,” Elise Freedman, senior client partner at consulting firm Korn Ferry, told CBS MoneyWatch.

But, she added, “This is different from someone who is disengaged.” Instead, it’s about doing what is required of them, without volunteering for an ambitious project, agreeing to work at nights and weekends, or otherwise going the extra mile in ways that Americans are traditionally encouraged to as a way to demonstrate their worth to an employer.

If you travel the world, it seems to me that America is simply growing up. The rat race had it’s time and place and now side hustles and self preservation have replaced it. If you’re going to ‘go all out’ it’s going to be for yourself and on your terms, otherwise I’ll do the best I can. Who knows, if we keep down this path, the afternoon siesta might be the next culture piece we adopt in America.


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