Quiet Quitting Preceded Another Insidious Workplace Issue That's Unfolding Right Now, Survey Reveals Many employees and executives disagree on return-to-office mandates — and it's symptomatic of an even larger problem.

By Amanda Breen

athima tongloom | Getty Images

Quiet quitting, the TikTok-minted term for employees' under-the-radar withdrawal amid increasing burnout that made headlines last year, may no longer be the buzzword of the week, but workers are just as unhappy — if not more so.

Employee engagement in the U.S. dropped off for a second consecutive year, and half of workers admit they aren't engaged and are exerting minimal effort on the job, according to a recent Gallup poll reported by The Wall Street Journal — and return-to-office mandates are a frequent battleground between those workers and their bosses.

Related: Employers Should Fear The Truth Behind Quiet Quitting. Here's Why.

As pandemic workplace policies shift, many executives want employees back in the office, citing concerns about productivity and engagement. But Jim Harter, chief workplace scientist at Gallup and lead author on the report, said an employee's direct relationship with their boss is more important than where they work.

Backlash around in-office requirements has been swift in many cases: Farmers Group employees who were told they could work from home before being ordered back to the office by a new CEO aired their grievances on an internal social-media platform and called to unionize. Likewise, Amazon staff demonstrated against a new hybrid policy.

The mounting discontent around in-office mandates is hardly surprising: Most Americans have embraced the idea of remote work, with 64% saying it makes it easier to achieve work-life balance, according to the Pew Research Center.

Related: How to Gauge and Monitor Employee Engagement | Entrepreneur

The Gallup poll also revealed that more than half of workers are actively or passively job-seeking; increased pay is a primary factor, along with improved well-being and opportunities for growth and development.

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

Editor's Pick

Related Topics


Franchise vs. Independent Business? 12 Experts Weigh the Options

Is franchising right for you? These industry pros discuss the proven benefits of joining an established brand instead of starting a concept from scratch.


How Small And Medium Businesses Can Save Money and Increase Productivity With The Cloud

By investing in the cloud, small to medium sized businesses can achieve the same kinds of success that enterprise-level organizations do — without an enterprise-level budget.


How to Strategically Preserve and Evolve Workplace Culture Amidst Change Management

When handled in a thoughtful, intentional manner, cultures no longer impede but serve to accelerate change management and drive results across enterprises.

Growing a Business

How to Build an Advisory Board That Drives Startup Success

Here's what startup founders must consider when crafting an advisory board.

Side Hustle

This Millennial Dad Just Wanted to Help His Daughter Care for Her Bearded Dragon. Then His Cricket-Breeding Side Hustle Exploded — Earning $27,000 in One Month.

It wasn't Jeff Neal's first attempt at a side gig, and before long, the "prototypical millennial side-hustler" realized his product had major potential.