If last year brought us ‘quiet quitting’, this year is bringing us its noisier, angrier siblings.
‘Loud quitting’ and ‘rage applying’ are about making a fuss. An employee wants a pay rise? They’re asking for it. A team is unhappy with their manager? They’re letting people know.
Quiet quitting, when people work to the letter of their contracts and give up going above and beyond, is no small thing. It can sap energy and positive culture and it’s no good for employers or the staff who are doing it. But loud quitting, which involves making public threats to leave in order to improve your working conditions, and rage applying where angry employees fire off countless job applications to escape their current role, are much spikier opponents. They’re more public, a bit less predictable, and potentially more damaging. So how can businesses combat them?
The first, and really the only answer, is by nurturing happy employees. Engage them, value them, and respect them. It sounds easy, but the truth is that achieving that on a company wide level, for all the individuals you employ, involves many layers of care, thought and planning. Employees have a strong collective sense of self-worth now. The pandemic was certainly a big part of that as it showed what could be achieved when traditional working practices were suddenly turned on their heads. But there was also Me Too and Black Lives Matter, as well as the current general strikes in the UK and France, and a prevalent feeling that enough is enough. Employees have never been more equipped to know and ask for their due rights, and employers are not always the fastest to catch on. When you view it with all of that context then it’s easy to understand where this rage might have come from.
McKinsey research shows that people who say they have a positive employee experience are 16 times more engaged with their work than those who reported a negative experience, and they are eight times more likely to want to stay at a company. But what do people want exactly?
Pay rises and promotions are definitely helpful. Clear goals, regular pay reviews and meaningful career guidance are all on the common wish list. But there is much more to it than that. Research by IWG found that 72% of office workers would prefer long-term flexibility over where they are based to a 10% pay rise. They want their job to be worth all of the time and effort that they put in.
“Workers are hungry for trust, social cohesion, and purpose,” according to McKinsey. “They expect their personal sense of purpose to align with that of their organisation. And they want an appropriate physical and digital environment that gives them the flexibility to achieve that elusive work–life balance.”
Catering for the individuals
Hybrid work has been shown to contribute to a positive employee experience. It’s good for wellbeing as it prioritises more family time and less commuting. It’s also been shown to increase happiness by as much as 20%. Why? It comes down to that feeling of trust that workers want.
They want to be trusted to make the right decisions for them when it comes to work and have the agency to create a working lifestyle where they can be most productive, most creative, and the least tired. No. More. Burnout. Flexspaces enable people to work close to home, in a space that works for them – whether that’s a quiet office or a busy one, one that can cater for their specific needs or one that happens to be in the right location that week. Then they can enjoy a trip into the company HQ when it is needed.
This flexibility and balance of locations makes workers more productive too. In a survey by IWG earlier this year, nearly a third of workers (31%) said they believed productivity is enhanced by the hybrid model. And according to Nicholas Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford, the increase in productivity brought by hybrid is typically around 3% or 4%.
There have also been improvements in office design in recent years. Working through lockdowns helped to clarify the things that are important, such as zoned areas to fit with the fluctuations of mood and workload. Our Spaces offices are created to be agile and fluid, where people can meet, work, and collaborate as equals. Private zones, cafe areas and large collaboration tables are combined to fit the needs of the day, or the project, or the team. It’s about high-level connections, which bring with them a feeling of voice, energy, and creativity.
Having happy engaged employees has no downside and as mentioned, it’s not something that has to cost money. It’s a culture thing, and flexspaces are an important part of building this culture because they are more than just spaces, they are a loud and clear message that you value and trust your staff.
Find out more about how we can help you to build a working culture that works – for everyone.