a software developer coasting at work

Go the Extra Mile and Tactfully Manage Your Coasting Employees

Differentiating between underperforming employees and those who excel is easy for business owners. How, then, can they identify those who “coast,” while still completing their tasks sufficiently?

In today’s world of quiet quitting, coasting at work seems like a normal occurrence in the day-to-day operations. These ‘coasters’ barely meet the requirements to avoid performance management. However, they are not at your company to succeed, and don’t talk much to their coworkers. They may be dissatisfied with their roles, and express a lack of enthusiasm to go the extra mile and contribute to your company’s goals.

This where you come in to go the extra mile yourself. As a business owner and decision maker, you should keep in mind how contagious work attitudes are, especially in small groups. You don’t want a hardworking team to turn into a team of slackers because one of their colleagues is putting in less effort. Read on as we talk about coasting at work, and how to tactfully navigate this when managing your employees.

What is Coasting at Work?

When employees do the bare minimum to get by, they are coasting. These individuals don’t want to be fired, but they aren’t engaged and don’t see long-term growth opportunities. Hence, for them, there isn’t an urgent need to put in a lot of effort.

Essentially, coasting at work is a delicate balancing act of just working enough to avoid getting caught. Some people prefer to balance family activities, hobbies, and other non-work-related tasks during the day. To be fair, after the mental, physical, and emotional strains brought by the pandemic, burned-out workers feel they need a break.

an unmotivated employee coasting at work, staring at his computer screen without enthusiasm.

What Causes Employees to Coast at Work?

Coasting at work has always been a thing. However, there are some studies that suggest that since the pandemic started, coasting has gotten easier, more prevalent, and more appealing.

Workers may coast or slack due to several factors. These include a lack of motivation or distractions caused by other priorities or problems. Coasters may believe that their opportunities for growth within their organization are restricted, and that any effort beyond the bare minimum will not be recognized. Older workers who have attained a comfortable income level may be more likely to coast than younger, more ambitious employees.

On the other hand, coasting at work isn’t always something to be concerned about. To cite a few reasons, it has allowed overworked employees to recharge slowly while still getting their work done at a more moderate pace. Additionally, many people’s mental health has been strained because of various pandemic restrictions.

Here’s the thing: Coasting happens not because workers tend to place less significance on their professions. Instead, employees sometimes take things a little easier at work due to the work stresses brought about by the unpredictable nature of schedules, projects, and deadlines. When people feel like they’ve worked hard and accomplished a goal, they have a natural tendency to coast a little in order to almost get back.

Pros and Cons of Coasting Employees

Knowing now that not all coasting is bad, it’s important to recognize the pros and cons of coasting at work.

Advantages of Coasting

Boost in Creativity

As we’ve noted in this blog, coasting at work can give workers ample time to recover their mental health, strength, and motivation. This recharging period can help spur creativity since they’re not putting in considerable efforts all the time.

Low Employee Turnover

When you think about it, allowing a little slacking and cyberloafing may be beneficial to businesses in the long run. If employers fire someone, it will be difficult to find a replacement in this competitive labor market. It may take a long time, and the new employee’s pay will most likely be much higher, as excessive inflation causes people to want more money.

Work-Life Balance

Lastly, coasting at work may allow for a better work-life balance because employees may not feel the need to put in extra hours or take on additional responsibilities. And in the bigger picture, this can actually help your business.

Disadvantages of Coasting

Nonetheless, coasting can be a big problem. The following are some of the disadvantages of coasting at work.

Low Employee Engagement

Every employee contributes to workplace culture, and coasting can result to poor employee engagement. This, in turn, reduces productivity and promotes absenteeism. It can have a negative impact on your company culture.

Delayed Deliverables

When an employee fails to fulfill their responsibilities, the rest of their team must take up the slack. When one person fails to do their part, everyone else suffers. Worst-case scenario, your top performers may resign or even burn out. Burnout and turnover are detrimental to your bottom line.

No Opportunities for Promotion and Growth

Coasting at work may give one employee a reputation that they are non-active members of the organization. They can then miss out on promotions and other important projects that could boost their career.

a female employee working from home, showing a lack of engagement and interest in her tasks

Common Signs of a Coasting Employee

Nonetheless, when left unchecked, employees who merely coast along can be a problem in every business. The issue is that these individuals meet their targets but do not add anything further. They do not strive for greater achievement, do not participate actively in group or team conversations (unless asked to), and do not go out of their way to share their expertise and experience with others.

  • Not taking initiative
  • Pretending to look busy
  • Only meeting their minimum targets
  • Not meaningfully contributing in meetings
  • Lack of interest in feedback
  • Poor time management
  • Cyberloafing

Managing Your Coasting Employees

Here are some tips on how to effectively manage coasting at work:

1. Define specific goals and expectations.

Setting goals allows you to exercise the most important management skill: delegating. Intentions and expectations must be clear and comprehensible. Employees should work within clearly defined boundaries. Clear goals ensure that your coasting employee understands what is expected of them.

2. Schedule a meeting to discuss it.

This should take place outside of regular performance conversations to avoid more confusion. Spotting the signs isn’t enough. You have to tackle this from a place of understanding, which involves listening to their side of the story. If you do regular employee check-ins, you should already be aware of any ongoing difficulties. Even so, a quick face-to-face conversation never hurts.

3. Conduct regular performance evaluations.

Frequent employee reviews are an effective way to ensure that their performance meets expectations. Poor performance can be concealed from managers, but coworkers can provide honest feedback on employee behavior in the absence of authority. Besides general performance assessments, these check-ins will allow you to ensure that your employees are taking care of their mental health and work-life balance, which may influence their attitude toward work.

4. Create programs for employee recognition.

Your employees may be coasting because they do not expect their efforts or initiatives to be recognized. So, being proactive is sometimes your best bet. Keep an eye out for ways to congratulate people, such as outstanding sales results or a timely project completion. When trying to handle coasting staff, taking the effort to individually express gratitude can make all the difference.

5. Review internal business practices.

Employee coasting may be because of your business practices. So, assess your business procedures and policies to ensure they are both challenging and fair for your employees. Recognizing individual and team goals and achievements helps employees feel valued and appreciated for their efforts. Employees will be more inspired to keep up their good job or work harder when their efforts are recognized through individual and team goals and achievements.

6. Encourage job crafting.

Some employers may think of boosting employee engagement as a challenging task, especially in the age of remote work. By fostering job crafting in your business, employees become the drivers of engagement, enhancing happiness and job satisfaction with minimal effort from the organization.

7. Become a mentor.

A mentor is someone who has previous expertise and can guide an employee. They’re an outlet for their frustrations, a source of counsel, and someone who will have their back. That indicates they’re someone your employee can chat to if they’re stressed out about their job. When someone is at a loose end, talking to someone can be really beneficial. However, when your job is the issue, it can be difficult to discuss with a manager. That’s where employee mentoring may truly help.

An executive guiding a newcomer through his work

Ensure Business Efficiency by Working with FilWeb Asia’s Dedicated Staff

When it comes to dealing with employees that aren’t giving their best effort, it’s better to take action at once. A coasting employee not only costs you money; they can also slow down your company’s progress.

It takes hard work to get employees to work hard, but the results are tangible, with improved performance leading to boosts in productivity. Hire a dedicated team of industry experts, as well as cutting-edge technology and facilities, while saving money on operational costs. FilWeb Asia is committed to offering our partners with high-quality, dependable outsourcing and virtual solutions. Partner with us today!