October 3, 2022

Feeling the pull of “quiet quitting?” 4 Ways to stay engaged

I’m guessing you’ve come across the term “quiet quitting,” or psychologically disengaging from work, if you keep up with the news (or have been on TikTok recently). Talk of this emerging trend seems omnipresent these days, and it’s not entirely surprising. Coming off the heels of the pandemic, high inflation, and crisis-level global events, the threat of economic instability is real. Meanwhile, burnout rates continue to hit record highs. 

You are not alone if you have contemplated quitting quietly. A new study from Gallup shows that more than 50% of U.S. employees are not engaged at work. 

There are many theories as to why employees are opting out of work beyond the scope of their core tasks. Some point to stress, work-life imbalance, and the rejection of hustle culture; others to a disconnect from organizational purpose. Yet psychological detachment from one’s career comes at a cost. As noted by a Gallup researcher, being involved and enthusiastic about work is foundational to thriving and well-being. 

Before making the decision to check out, here are some steps you can take to proactively reconnect to your sense of fulfillment at work.

Know your “why’” Question what may be driving you to quit quietly. Do you feel there’s a discrepancy between the effort you put in and your compensation? Does the work that you do align with your values? Are you able to adequately balance your workload and home life? What is it you need right now to support your workplace well-being? Gaining an understanding of the factors contributing to your discomfort, and identifying potential solutions to alleviate your dissatisfaction, will help you act with intention. Try tapping into mindful awareness as a basis for this self-inquiry

Open up dialogue with your manager. Now that you know what is causing you to take a step back, you are better prepared to advocate for yourself. Set up some time to have a transparent conversation with your manager to voice your concerns, even if it feels uncomfortable. Keep in mind that your leaders can’t fix what they don’t know is broken. Use mindful communication skills to help you craft your message and speak with clarity and intention. 

Set boundaries to prevent burnout. Work-life interference significantly increases burnout rates, which contribute to higher disengagement and lower career satisfaction. In a recent Pulse Survey conducted by eMindful, we asked participants if they were experiencing burnout and if so, what was contributing to that. The same question was asked of participants in July 2021. More than a year later, work-life balance remains a top factor leading to burnout for employees, with over 20% of respondents around the globe experiencing difficulty balancing time working versus not working. 

Talk to your manager about what boundaries you need to uphold to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Propose a solution as to what your ideal availability could look like. Perhaps you reserve space for non-meeting hours at work to boost your focus and maximize efficiency, or come to an agreement on turning off notifications after-hours. Remember that your paid time off is there for you to use. Per the U.S. Travel Association, Americans left an average of 33% of PTO days unused in 2020. Taking breaks from work is crucial to relieve stress, recharge, and ensure your personal life doesn’t take a back seat. 

Connect to your purpose. We humans are intrinsically motivated to perform work we find meaningful. If you’ve lost sight of the shared purpose behind the task at hand, or are feeling a disconnect from the organization, consider raising it to your manager. You may find it helpful to see the bigger picture in how the work you are doing is moving the needle on corporate goals, and impacting the wider organizational purpose. 

Be open about your passions, skills and personal goals, so that your leaders can help ensure you are in alignment with your purpose. Mindfulness practice can help you call to mind what you are passionate about, and allow you to notice when you are off-track. If you’re interested in guidance in this practice, give eM Life’s 7 Days of Meaning and Purpose on-demand program a try. 

Written by Annie Slaby