“The number one danger to Salesforce and other companies is that people are going to become disengaged in the culture of the company,” Brent Hyder, Salesforce’s chief people officer and president, said in a white paper from American Express Global Business Travel.

The phenomenon of “quiet quitting,” as Gallup defines the term, could be more widespread than many realize. According to a new survey from the marketing research firm, at least half of all US workers now are “not engaged” or do the bare minimum of what’s required from them at their jobs. Gallup also found that 18% of workers are now “actively disengaged” – a group it describes as “loud quitters.”

Quiet quitting might be described as a state of mind. The growing psychological detachment employees are having from their workplace can hurt a business, including diminished productivity, morale, and product quality, so it’s in an employer’s best interest to root out the problem.

According to a Society of Human Resource Management survey, of the HR professionals who report that their organization is experiencing quiet quitting, 60% say their company’s culture enables this behavior. The study found that management issues (e.g., lack of engagement, communication issues) and remote and hybrid work (e.g., poor supervision support, lack of accountability) were common themes affecting workplace culture and encouraging quiet quitting.

“With a slowing economy, employers can’t afford to have employees loudly or quietly quit. Organizations must ensure they have strong, healthy cultures that are communicated clearly to their employees,” said Johnny C. Taylor Jr., SHRM president and chief executive officer.

Building a strong, healthy culture and engaging employees is key to quelling the quiet quitting mindset. However, creating that kind of work environment and dynamic can be incredibly challenging in today’s remote world. Strong bonds among employees, what can be considered the glue of a thriving culture, are harder to foster when people work virtually.

As Microsoft demonstrates in a recent study, employees are less involved and connected with their teams in a remote work environment. The tech company discovered this by comparing the emails, instant messages, video calls, and calendar invites from 60,000 Microsoft employees before and after the pandemic shift to remote work. The study showed that in addition to work teams and friends becoming less connected, different groups became more static as employees clung to existing connections they share tasks with instead of developing new ones.

This is troubling news for employers since the strength of workplace connections and job satisfaction are related. Gallup has repeatedly shown that having best friends at work is key to employee engagement and job success. The company’s latest findings reveal that since the pandemic started, there has been an even stronger relationship between having a best friend at work and important outcomes like employees’ likelihood to recommend their workplace, their intent to leave, and their overall satisfaction with their workplace.

Developing work friends typically requires physical proximity, which means companies need to do more to provide a shared space where employees can come together and bond in real life. However, it’s a catch-22 for employers since many people don’t want to return to office life as they knew it and would rather be working from home more often than not. Therefore, companies must find creative strategies to cultivate culture and nurture connections between colleagues.

One way they can do so is by building their internal travel and meetings program and giving employees special opportunities to rebuild a rapport with one another. Bringing teams face to face on a monthly or quarterly basis can help revitalize connections and inspire collaboration without anyone having to sacrifice the work-from-home lifestyle they love. There are many services available now that enable businesses to rent out workspaces, from hotel suites to unique venues, where their teams can gather for the day.

Many companies are taking it a step further and organizing lavish corporate retreat-style gatherings. Such events are becoming popular in the remote-work era as organizations look for ways to foster a sense of camaraderie and unity among workers who don’t get to connect regularly at the office.

Some organizations are even creating their own retreat-like gathering space – like Salesforce, which built its Trailblazer Ranch in California’s Redwoods after learning that “finding more ways to connect” was the number one thing workers asked for in an employee survey. In addition to onboarding, skills building, and talent development programs, employees at the ranch can participate in tactile experiences like guided nature walks, restorative yoga, garden tours, group cooking classes, art journaling, and meditation.

No matter what type of event your business plans, it’s important to unite teams and bring back some of the magic that happens when colleagues meet in person, as it can be a powerful way to mute the quiet quitting thoughts people are having. And we are here to guide you every step of the way. Contact us so we can help plan your next event, big or small.

To learn more about how your company can use travel to bolster your culture and employees’ relationships, check out our new white paper, Why Business Travel Is the Center of the New Company Culture.