Studies into the fairly recent phenomenon of “quiet quitting” show that an estimated one in three UK workers consider themselves quiet quitters — meaning they do the bare minimum just to retain their jobs and not be fired, but that they are not attempting to be productive team members by any measure.

While this category of employees may fall just short of joining the Great Resignation, they can still be a hamper on businesses’ bottom line. But while managers might be tempted to respond by axing these workers, there could be a better option available.

“It’s no big secret that most UK workers want at least some form of remote work,” says Joseph Boll, CEO of RemoteWorker, an online jobs board that specialises in helping hiring managers and businesses connect with job-seeking professionals for remote work positions. “With #Flexfrom1st soon to come into effect, businesses can no doubt expect to receive far more requests for flexible, hybrid or remote work from here on out. Given how popular remote work is, this is an easy opportunity for businesses dealing with ‘quiet quitters’ to turn that trajectory around by offering more flexible work options.”

Employees who feel stifled are naturally more likely to have lower morale, and can understandably spend their days quiet quitting. At worst, they could be spending time actively looking for new opportunities — time that could otherwise be spent on meaningful, productive work for their employer. Instead, an employee who has more flexibility to determine where they work (remote or hybrid), when they work and how they work can arrange for the work schedule that maximises their productivity, on top of feeling more motivated.

Boll says the knee-jerk reaction may be to fire employees who seem to be quiet quitting, but it may be more valuable to compromise instead: “Don’t think of it as ‘rewarding poor performance.’ Instead, look at the big picture of what it means for your company. High turnover is expensive. The cost of losing human capital, recruiting new workers and having to re-train is great for businesses — and most new candidates will still be looking for remote work anyway. Successful businesses are better off just offering existing staff flexible work to retain them, saving time and money while improving morale and boosting productivity.”