Quiet Quitting: the latest craze but perhaps nothing new at all

I think the reason #quietquitting is simultaneously “nothing new” but also “new all of a sudden” is because we have been relying on discretionary effort in the workplace for so long, it has become normalised.

This started after the 2008 crash when redundancies stopped being something that companies were embarrassed about but actually became seen by the market as a sign of strength, decisiveness and of being brave & bold.

Of course the people who paid the price are every single one of us; the ones made redundant, the ones left behind, the ones looking for work and the ones left trying to keep businesses afloat too. I see it in the job market: lots of jobs out there advertised, but in reality, companies seem to be figuring out how to operate with fewer staff, and hiring new people has been an absolute last resort. That creates unemployment and also fear among the employees who are left behind.

I’ve helped out in voluntary organisations for years and sit on committees and boards etc and it’s always amazed me how people came along all gung-ho at the outset, but quit as soon as they got a new job or have to go to work. The busy-culture meant we all got used to being Duracell bunnies but that led to burnout and fatigue at the slightest bit of adversity that comes our way.

Vague and half-hearted attempts have been made to address this, such as banning email being sent out of hours (something that I personally feel is well intentioned, but also insane in equal measure, given that it’s an asynchronous comms channel and supposed to work that way). But in reality people have just been quiet-quitting inside. That sounds like they’re doing something naughty but I think it’s just been a gradual withdrawal of the discretionary effort that became normalised.

So I think “quiet quitting” is probably a good thing to have happened because it’s a chance to reset and make sure that jobs/teams/companies are staffed properly so that once again we can have joy in giving discretionary effort when we want to

… at our discretion.

Post inspired by https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20220825-why-quiet-quitting-is-nothing-new

Perspective in Communications

As a a communicator, I am fascinated by information flows in the world today.

I’ve always been interested in sensemaking; understanding how different people make sense of what we do and say, based on their own life experiences, upbringing, social standing, wealth or health.

One theme that keeps coming up for me is that of “PERSPECTIVE”.  

After a 2-3 years of working in isolation due to the pandemic, and in my case, a little longer as I’ve been working remotely and across international borders since pre-pandemic days, I realised that what we lack these days in communications can be perspective, especially when audiences are remote.  They don’t benefit from company “vibe” that you get in an office or by sitting in the canteen at lunchtime. They might not even get out of the house much or spend much time in the city anymore.

By perspective I mean the ability to frame what we see/hear/understand in the context of what’s normal or what’s commonplace. Algorithms in social media feed us more of what we like (or more accurately, what keeps the ad revenues of the social media platforms healthy), but we lose perspective.

For example if you always click on funny videos, you’ll get fed more funny videos, and you might think all everyone does these days is make and share funny videos. But if you could actually see every single post or comment that every one of your contacts posted for the next hour, you’d find it’s not all funny videos. Likewise, if you walked down the street, you’d find lots of people neither watching nor posting videos at all!

For internal comms, remote staff are going to be very dependent on the communication we send them.

Have you thought about the impact of perspective in communications? How can we help staff in organisations maintain perspective and avoid getting a distorted view of reality?

Pressing our buttons

How manipulative communication techniques can harm society and our mental well-being. In the same way that “we are what we eat”, I wonder if as a society, we are “what we consume” from an information point of view. Here are my thoughts on ethical considerations for communicators.

From time to time, I find myself getting angered or irritated by something or other that I read on social media or sometimes even on the mainstream TV news.

Continue reading “Pressing our buttons”

Why you should think about deleting the dissenters if you really want to engage with your fans

Some think social media has become a slightly toxic place to hang out. But I don’t think it needs to be, if only brands, celebs and politicians would start to manage their accounts properly. Here is my six-step plan to dealing with negative comments and trolls.

Social media, when it was launched, was a brilliant tool for democratising communication. It gave everyone a voice and made everyone a publisher. Unfortunately somewhere along the road, something went a bit wrong.

However, I think there are things that brands, organisations, causes, celebrities, politicians could do to make social media more enjoyable again for all of us.

Continue reading “Why you should think about deleting the dissenters if you really want to engage with your fans”

Seven tips for a first-time remote worker working from home

Exhausted by endless calls and meetings? Working from home feeling more exhausting than working in the office? Here are my tips on avoiding work-from-home burnout.

I promised myself I wouldn’t write a post about working from home, because for me it feels quite normal and nothing particularly special. While I love being in the office around people, I also like some quiet time to focus on planning, design or writing work.

Continue reading “Seven tips for a first-time remote worker working from home”