Spotting the signs of languishing: Blog part 1


Weary of hearing about Quiet Quitting? Us too. Instead of focusing on the negatives, let’s instead draw our attention to recognising when colleagues are languishing and how to help lift them up - benefiting them and the organisation in the process.

What is languishing? 

Languishing; to be weak or fail to improve. to exist in an unpleasant or unwanted situation, often for a long time. - Cambridge English Dictionary

It doesn’t sound like a place anyone wants to be, does it? 

Languishing sits at the crossroads of mental ill-health in one direction and flourishing in the other, and has a slow, draining and sapping effect on our workforce. 

Did you know that 40% of employees feel stagnant since the pandemic, and 1 out of 3 feel unmotivated? It’s hardly surprising, given how working environments have changed to create the perfect storm: reduced human face-to-face interaction and shared experiences, and lack of variety and change means many employees are stuck in cycles that they are struggling to move out of.

Why does this matter?

As the saying goes, if you’re not moving forwards, you're moving backwards. With lack of growth being one element of languishing, it’s at this point intervention is most needed to move apathetic employees from a state of staleness - unmotivated, uninspired and doing the bare minimum to cope, to back on track - feeling valued, energised and engaged. 

Recognising the signs

So how do you recognise the signs of languishing to better support colleagues before they are given a ‘QQ’ label, or even worse, you’re staging a mental health intervention?

  • Changes in attitude - have they gone from optimistic to pessimistic?
  • Withdrawing from opportunities to socialise or connect with colleagues
  • Either not attending meetings, or contributing less than is usual 
  • Showing up late, leaving early or being absent more frequently
  • Unenthusiastic to take on new projects, or bring ideas to the table
  • Changes in performance, not in keeping with their capabilities and skills

If you’re making mental ticks against the list above for your colleagues, or even yourself, and want to find out what you can do, from single task focus to psychological safeness, read on in the next blog of this series: Flow to flourish: Blog Part 2

 Author: Jayne Burton | Wellness Specialist at WorkLifeWell | ILM Executive Coach. 

P.S. Share this blog with your network and help us with our mission of creating happier and healthier places to work.

Related content: Flow to flourish: Blog part 2


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