Amid 'quiet quitting,' would a return to the office revive morale and engagement? - The Dallas Morning News

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People have proven how much they can accomplish by working from home, and many prefer the arrangement.
“A new norm has been established and working from home is the new norm,” said Steven Haynes, assistant professor specializing in risk management at the University of Texas at Dallas.
But the wage premium for finance and computer occupations was significantly reduced in 2021 after so many started working from home, according to a recent report.
“It’s intuitive: If everybody was working from home, why would Silicon Valley pay that much?
Su cited a study by Harvard graduate students that found call-center workers were over 7% more productive when working from home.

Amid 'quiet quitting,' would a return to the office revive morale and engagement? - The Dallas Morning News

The Texas Squeeze: A series examining the high cost of high growth in North Texas. The pandemic changed the way much of America works, and the latest disruption is known as “quiet quitting.” That doesn’t refer to the over 4 million employees who actually quit their jobs every month. Quiet quitting describes workers who put in their regular hours, perform assigned duties and then draw a firm line: They won’t work beyond what they’re paid for. The idea is getting attention on social and mainstream media, and it appears to be a backlash from years of remote working and the feeling that you’re always on call. “What the hell is ‘quiet quitting,’ and why is it all over your newsfeed right now?” Jessica Williams of Dallas-Fort Worth wrote on LinkedIn. “Oh, it’s just refusing to have your labor stolen without proper compensation!” Don’t fall for it, she added: “People are simply acting their wage.” It’s not new for workers to push back against long hours or argue for more pay for extra work. And the idea of a better work-life balance has been touted by human resources departments for decades. What’s different is that a new generation is pushing to establish boundaries at work – employees who just endured a deadly pandemic and an economy that challenged traditional notions of office work and engagement. People have proven how much they can accomplish by working from home, and many prefer the arrangement. “A new norm has been established and working from home is the new norm,” said Steven Haynes, assistant professor specializing in risk management at the University of Texas at Dallas. Quiet quitting isn’t a new concept, just “a new brand,” Haynes said, and one limited to white-collar workers who have the flexibility of tapping the brakes on their daily output. “Blue-collar workers don’t get to quietly quit,” he said. “They’re tied very heavily to daily performance goals.” Haynes sees quiet quitting as part of a broader work-life discussion that took on more prominence during the pandemic: “When COVID pushed everyone home, it gave some people time to reflect on what they really value.” Many wanted more time with their families, and they didn’t miss commuting and spending on gas and lunches. Over 58% of those able to work from home said they wanted to go into the office three days or less a week, according to the monthly Survey of Working Arrangements and Attitudes. But the lack of daily in-person contact makes it easier for people to disengage, and there’s less peer pressure to compete with top performers. “In the office, you know how much work and effort your colleagues are putting in, and you feel pressure to keep up,” Haynes said. “It’s different when you’re sitting on a computer and maybe not really interacting with anyone. You’re thinking: ‘Why would I take on the extra responsibilities?’” There are advantages to working in an office and collaborating, especially in businesses that emphasize innovation, relationship-building and professional networks. A concentration of firms and workers in large cities support those activities, and the upside is reflected in an urban wage premium. But the wage premium for finance and computer occupations was significantly reduced in 2021 after so many started working from home, according to a recent report. Researchers said remote work undermined those productive, face-to-face interactions. That was further reflected in job postings with smaller financial rewards for relationship-building and marketing skills. Some urban pay premium has begun to recover as more return to the office even a few days a week, said Yichen Su, senior research economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and co-author of the report. “It’s intuitive: If everybody was working from home, why would Silicon Valley pay that much?” Su said. Answer: “There’s more knowledge spillover,” he said. “A big part of the reason they’re so productive is they share so much knowledge with their colleagues. They do it in coffee shops, in all kinds of weird offices and when they just run into each other.” Productivity rose in the early months of the pandemic, surprising many executives and economists. Su cited a study by Harvard graduate students that found call-center workers were over 7% more productive when working from home. As a researcher, Su said he also prefers remote work. “There are benefits in working from home and we can’t dismiss them,” Su said. “But I’m trying to highlight that there’s a flip side.” What can be lost is the chance to have top performers influence their colleagues. An individual worker may well be more productive working alone at home, Su said. But in the office, the worker’s impact could ripple far and wide – and could justify management action. “Why do you need a mandate to get people back to the office?” Su said. “Because they’re not just benefiting themselves; they’re benefiting others around them.” Many employees feel less committed and less engaged because they’re working remotely, said Veetahl Eilat-Raichel, CEO and co-founder of Sorbet, a platform that buys vacation time and puts the cash value on prepaid cards. In her view, quiet quitting is a response to over two years of being away from colleagues and the office. “You used to feel part of something larger than yourself,” she said. “It’s hard to create that working from home. Some of the closest people to you, the people you spend the most time with – they’re often friends at work. It’s very difficult to replace that with happy hours over Zoom.”
The Original Article can be found on The Dallas Morning News

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