Quiet Quitting isn’t New, Caregivers Have Always Had To

Quiet Quitting isn’t New, Caregivers Have Always Had To

Herein lies the problem that many of our younger employees see and refuse to play along with. Why should our choices be between making a comfortable wage and living outside of work? Why do we live in a world where we have to “quit” being engaged in our work or decide against fully engaging in our families and communities? Moms have had to make this choice for years. Be a good mom and care for your children by lessening your career opportunities, or be a bad mom and focus on your career.

Why is that the choice?

I see article after article talking about the “loss” of productivity to companies when employees are not fully engaged. Still, no one ever calculates the loss in our communities from people who contribute nothing outside of their job. We don’t put a number on the damage done when fathers are uninvolved in kids’ lives or on the missed mental health benefits of being involved in hobbies, friendships, and community groups.

Linked – Remote workers are feeling pressure to prove their productivity

Linked – Remote workers are feeling pressure to prove their productivity

It’s all the remote equivalent of sitting at your desk later than your coworkers to show you are hard-working. That never told anyone who was getting the most work done, but it rarely stopped bosses from using it as a proxy and rewarding people for looking like they worked hard. It’s been an issue in the workplace for years, and remote work finally allowed us to get rid of it forever if we chose to.

Or we can just keep doing it and never make any improvements.

Linked: Mental Health Challenges are Common – and Talking about them at Work Should be Too
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Linked: Mental Health Challenges are Common – and Talking about them at Work Should be Too

As I read about various companies and hear stories from a variety of peers, it becomes obvious that there might be two mindsets when it comes to managing people. One says these are human beings and should be treated as such. The other says these are labor costs and anything I can do to get more productivity from these “tools” for less money is good for my business.

Those might seem like extremes, and they are. I’ll have more to say about these extremes in a later blog post, but if you fall on the side of seeing your people as people, take a look at the suggestions. I truly believe that even in a company that does want to recognize the importance of mental health and support employees, it is still really difficult to talk about. It shouldn’t be that difficult. Consider how we can make it more acceptable and comfortable for everyone to prioritize their mental health.

Linked: Employers Grapple with Surge in Mental Health Issues
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Linked: Employers Grapple with Surge in Mental Health Issues

Having HR professionals understand this is important. Having them try to influence the business leaders might help too. At the end of the day, though, this only gets better if the entire culture buys into it. Any individual manager who isn’t capable of making reasonable accommodations because they haven’t been trained or because the actual business practices create a roadblock for them only proves that this is all just talk.

People who’ve struggled for years to continue working at the risk of their mental health deserve a lot more than talk.

Shared Links (weekly) April 27, 2022

Shared Links (weekly) April 27, 2022

Linked: Is the 4-day workweek a ‘perfect recipe for burnout’?
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Linked: Is the 4-day workweek a ‘perfect recipe for burnout’?

Pre-2020 we spent 8+ hours in the office, plus maybe an hour or more commuting, turning our workday into about 10-11 hours of our day, on average. But, as I mentioned, part of that was just commuting, and part of that in-office time was spent interacting socially with coworkers, going to get lunch, etc. Now? We wake up and start working. (If you’re lucky and plan you might even get a chance to shower before work.) You eat at your desk. You work right up until 5-6PM and you simply shut down. Again, you’re lucky if someone doesn’t still email or “ping” you after that. So, for many of us, our workday might still be 10-11 hours, or it might even be a bit shorter, but it’s ALL work, and as we just saw, the reality is that around the 6-hour mark our productivity started to dip. The key then, to not burning out, is to make that day flexible. Instead of demanding you put in “x” hours each day/week/month, we should simply lay out what work needs to be completed, what the deadlines are, and give workers the freedom to find the best way to accomplish that. Maybe, for some, they will want to really focus for 4 days per week and have the extra day to live their lives. For others, it might look like working some in the morning, some in the afternoon, and then again in the evening. Not everyone is going to fit into the same bucket when it comes to finding the balance that allows them to do their best work, and also have a life. Don’t force them to fit into the bucket you like. That’s how you burn them out.