What is ‘Quiet Quitting’ and why is this a trend?

quiet quitting

As we’ve noticed during the pandemic, mental health has become a higher priority in the work-life balance. These shifting ideologies have created a new trend called quiet quitting.

Quiet quitting is the mental/personal decision to stop putting in the extra effort at work. A shift in mindset may appear if your employees have checked out of work. For some, it may mean doing the bare minimum to maintain their job. For others, it may be saying no to tasks outside their job description or that would require them to put in extra hours. They end their shift on time and do not open or respond to office emails or other work until the next day.

So what is causing people to make this shift? It’s likely a response to burnout at work. Working from home prevents people from having a rigid and out-of-office time frame, leaving many working longer hours to get the job done. This situation may sound like typical work burnout, but it goes further. The cause is also similar to the existential crisis. All the long hours and over-productivity have no positive effect on their career. There’s a sense of frustration, a feeling of quicksand or walking miles on a treadmill to nowhere. The outcome, lack thereof, doesn’t seem to be worth the cost.

Companies have already responded to burnout by offering four-day work weeks or hybrid work from home and office schedules. But the lack of clear boundaries between life and work at home contributes to the issue.

What to do to avoid and address this trend:

  • Please take a moment with each employee and revisit the expectations of their current role using a reevaluation/re-definition, if needed.
  • Setting clear boundaries of work hours and expectations for communication outside of those hours would also be beneficial.
  • Use this one-on-one time to reiterate how the employee makes a difference at the company and thus reassure them that they have value and a purpose in their work.

What to do if an employee has quietly quit:

  • Revisit the tasks and expectations of their current role
  • It may be time to redefine their job description
  • Set clear boundaries of work hours and expectations for communication outside of those hours
  • Let the employee know they make a difference at the company

Remember, these Quiet Quitters aim to have a work-life balance and defined boundaries.

It is better to pave the road for clear communication with a current employee than to let one go due to quiet quitting. It is better to attempt to re-establish a connection with a current employee than to let them go without the chance to reconnect with healthy boundaries. Most industries are struggling to find suitable employees to fill already open roles, so best not to create another space to fill.

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