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Diana Blazaitiene

Management

Telltale Signs of Ghosting

Is your office haunted?

Published: Wednesday, September 14, 2022 - 11:02

Pandemic fatigue, tense geopolitical situations, and increasing professional burnout might all lead to employees ghosting—or completely cutting off all communication without any explanation—their employers. A 2021 study shows that about 28 percent of employees admit to having ghosted their employer, compared to 19 percent in 2020. The reasons for the growing numbers vary from talent shortage in the market to emotional states due to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

Although ghosting occurs in various kinds of relationships, the situation is especially jarring for remote-team employers, who might find it harder to grasp an employee’s mental state.

Many of us suffer from professional burnout or post-pandemic fatigue, which can compromise our work motivation and might lead to ghosting at some point. New hires also might lack the confidence to deal with the task load and fear failure; therefore, they might see disappearance from work as a way to resolve these issues.

Here are several telltale signs that an employee is about to ghost the workplace.

Increased dissatisfaction in a professional setting

Over the years of working with remote teams, I’ve noticed that employees might ghost the employer after showing decreased motivation for tasks at hand, unwillingness to engage in communication, reclusiveness, or apathy toward their future with the company.

When a person starts demonstrating obvious dissatisfaction with their work or colleagues, this may be a sign that they no longer feel a connection to the employer or the workplace and are experiencing a mental block toward their professional life.

In this case, employers should take time to observe their employee’s moods and mental state, how they cope with stressful events, and whether they are more apathetic or agitated. The employer also should invite teams for regular one-on-one chats or even offer a specialist to help them resolve any underlying issues.

Remote employee misses work unexpectedly

I had a firsthand encounter with employee ghosting. After a year of working with the company on a contractual basis, the company’s project coordinator suddenly disappeared. For an entire month, I couldn’t get in touch with him or his family members, and had to terminate his employment. After a while, the former employee got in touch with me, stating emotional breakdown as the reason for ghosting.

This experience has really forced me to reevaluate all employment processes. For one, I understood the need to check former employers’ references and ask the candidate to provide several contacts who could recommend them. If the company operates on a remote basis, regular checkups through video calls are a must—at least several times a week to be on the same page regarding workload and to get a good grasp of any potential mood changes within the team.

After my personal experience, I now advise employers not to take it lightly if an employee suddenly disappears for even a day. They should try to reach them via phone or email. It could be a signal that the employee might ghost them for good.

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About The Author

Diana Blazaitiene’s picture

Diana Blazaitiene

Diana Blažaitienė is the founder and CEO of Soprana Personnel International provides Scandinavian technical and administrative personnel recruitment services offshore and onshore in different career fields.