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Quiet quitting? 8 in 10 workers say they’re putting as much or more effort into jobs than six months ago

Despite a growing trend of workers “quiet quitting,” new survey results show the majority of workers are putting the same amount, or more, effort into their jobs compared with six months ago.
Office space.

Story at a glance

  • A new survey from The Conference Board highlights workers’ attitudes toward workplace engagement and employment overall.

  • Around one-third of respondents reported being less engaged with their position than they were six months ago. 

  • Regardless of this attitude, the majority of respondents are working just as hard as in the past.

A large majority of workers report putting the same amount of effort, or more, into their jobs now compared with six months ago, according to a new survey from The Conference Board, a nonpartisan think tank. 

The findings stand out among reports of workers “quietly quitting” or doing the minimum amount of work to fulfill their job requirements. 

However, The Conference Board data — reflecting viewpoints of more than 1,600 individuals — do show around one-third of respondents report decreased engagement with their work. Engagement was defined as the commitment and connection workers feel toward their occupation. 

The survey, carried out among predominantly office workers, was conducted between Sept. 1-8, 2022. 

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Overall, many employees are less committed to their jobs but are working hard anyway, the authors wrote.

Just 18 percent of respondents said their effort levels have decreased in the previous six months and half said their effort has remained the same. Thirty-one percent of workers reported working harder. 

Results also suggest increased remote work does not account for lower feelings of engagement, as lower levels were reported for in-person workers and hybrid workers. Women and millennials tended to report this feeling more than men, older generations and executives.

Among those who did quit their jobs in the past six months, many reported disappointment with their company. Engagement levels were also tied to desires to connect with the mission and purpose of the company, as many who left or plan to leave their posts report better connections with a new company. 

Workers did report desires to quit their jobs, although few have plans to actually do so. Twelve percent of workers said they have a firm plan to quit within the next six months. 

Threats of a recession are also top-of-mind for workers, as the potential economic downturn has nearly 30 percent of workers thinking twice about quitting. 

“While these results show that a likely recession may slow some of the high turnover we’ve been seeing, engagement is eroding for many of those who remain,” Rebecca Ray, executive vice president of human capital at The Conference Board, said in a release

“For businesses to truly thrive, they should focus on improving employee engagement, no matter the employee’s work location or schedule.” 

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, only 6 percent of employees said their company is requiring them to return to the office full-time, while the majority of respondents cited workplace flexibility among the most important job factors aside from a competitive salary. 

“Many workers have reevaluated their priorities since the beginning of 2020 at the outset of COVID,” added Robin Erickson, vice president of human capital at The Conference Board.

“Employees are not only demanding to retain the flexibility they gained from being required to work remotely, but they expect genuine and transparent communications to continue from their leaders as well.”

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