Featured Image - Understanding ‘Quiet Quitting,’ the Phenomenon that’s Taken the Nation by Storm

Understanding ‘Quiet Quitting,’ the Phenomenon that’s Taken the Nation by Storm

Date Published: October 13, 2022 | Last Updated: September 15, 2023 | By Suraiya Sarwar

The term “quiet quitting” has taken the nation by storm, right on the heels of “The Great Resignation”. Quiet Quitting refers to the idea of not going above and beyond at work to avoid burn out. This trend is causing concern for many employers seeking to understand exactly what is happening and why.

However, quiet quitting doesn’t mean employees are choosing to forego any accomplishments or just do the bare minimum. Simply put, it’s more about creating healthy boundaries between their work environment and personal lives.

What is Quiet Quitting?

Quiet quitting is not outright quitting your job. It’s more about quitting the idea of taking on extra work and projects that are outside of your job description. “You are still performing your duties, but you are no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentally that work has to be our life,” says TikTok user Zaiad Khan.

Quiet Quitting Goes Mainstream

Many employers and analysts have viewed the action of passively quitting as a way for employees to get out of doing extra work. However, employers should strive to shift their perspective on this misunderstanding. While some employers may think going above and beyond is the standard at work, employees believe carrying out your documented job duties is enough. This miscommunication leads some workers to believe they must work themselves to death to be successful when, really, good time management skills and communication with your boss are all that are needed. Miscommunication is the keyword here. There is a widespread miscommunication between expectations between employers and employees globally.

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Many experts have cited the cause of this phenomenon stemming from rapid changes in work citing remote work as a big proponent causing division.[JG1]  Recently Malcolm Gladwell criticized the remote work movement by saying, “We want you to have a feeling of belonging, and to feel necessary. And if you’re not here, it’s really hard to do that.” Additionally, remote workers have become a larger portion of the job market at large. Many individuals have felt the benefits of improved mental health and time spent with family in the comfort of their home. Workers have a strong desire for greater flexibility and understanding with regards to how, when, and the amount that they are asked to work. The world understands that a pandemic pushed for radical changes in the ways we work and drastically changed the labor market, allowing for greater flexibility. Now, we are seeing the same labor market setting healthy boundaries regarding expectations from employers.

In summary, quiet quitting is not silently walking out and leaving a job. It is doing what the job and employer stipulate in the job description. The concern from employers is quality output goes down and labor shortages worsen. This won’t happen so long as we take into consideration the needs of workers, provide adequate compensation, and build trust among employees. Listen to workers, provide incentives for growth and opportunity, and incentivize or reward better effort.

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In addition, if your organization wants to create a culture of high activity, it’s important to put measures in place that creates rewards for high outcomes. High-performing companies can create a rewarding culture that compensates their top performers in various ways. This can be done through direct pay increases, added PTO, leadership opportunities, and appreciation. Employees who consistently perform at a higher level deserve to be rewarded through pay increases and a path to promotion – and if they aren’t, they’ll look elsewhere.

The labor market is sending a message that it wants flexibility, improved workplace mental health, and reasons beyond personal growth to participate beyond their job description. The work-life balancing act of quiet quitting is seen as a new generation enters the workforce, having to discover and understand what’s most important in life. It’s vital that employers differentiate between those doing the bare minimum to skate by, and those working themselves to death and experiencing burnout fatigue.