Quiet quitting might seem to be a way to regain a healthy work-life balance right now, but it can adversely affect your career in the long run.
Picture this: You just recently got hired at a new company. You want to impress your boss, so you give every single task your 100%. But over the course of your time at the company, you realize you aren’t getting anything out of this extra work you’re putting in. Hence, instead of going the extra mile, you start to log off at 5 PM as you are supposed to.
That is basically what quiet quitting is. In a world where everyone is constantly hustling to get more work done and rise up the ranks, quiet quitting is a trend focused on doing just as much as is expected of you and nothing more—the bare minimum. Let’s find out why this trend is becoming so popular and what it means for the modern workplace.
Origins of quiet quitting
While the name “quiet quitting” may have emerged relatively recently, workers have been using the tactic for a long time. Previously called “work to rule”, it essentially involved doing only the tasks that were strictly under the scope of the job to protest against worker issues. For instance, in 1968, employees of Air Canada carried through this tactic and strictly adhered to company guidelines to protest against a labor issue. Prior to this, they were made to use whatever means necessary to keep passengers moving at a fast pace.
Today, the trend has made a comeback because of pandemic-induced burnout. Working from home has made employees feel anxious and isolated, leaving many vying for a much-needed break.
Quiet quitting has also emerged as a way to defy the hustle culture prevalent in the workplace. Young people today don’t want their self-worth tied to their jobs. They value flexibility and prioritize their passions, which require time outside of work. Thus, we see people quietly quitting their jobs and spending their free time on freelance work or their own businesses.
How modern workplaces are a push for quiet quitting
It wouldn’t be fair to simply look at one side of the coin and call out employees for merely doing what their job descriptions state. To fully understand why people are quietly quitting, we need to know a bit more about the modern workplace.
The sheer fact that people are quiet-quitting points to a culture where you are expected to do more than what the job description highlights. It points fingers at bad bosses who demand the life and blood of a young new employee eager to climb the corporate ladder.
According to research conducted by the Harvard Business Review, quiet quitting has a lot to do with those in management positions. The study found that three out of four cases of quiet quitting happened in companies with inefficient management. The same research also suggests that 62% of employees were willing to go the extra mile for managers who balanced work outcomes with employee relationships. In short, the lack of employee motivation can be a direct consequence of the behaviors of the company’s upper management.
Why quiet quitting is a problem for employees
With over 566.7 million videos hashtagging #quietlyquit and #quietlyquitting on TikTok, it is undeniable that the movement is gaining momentum.
There is nothing wrong with not going above and beyond for your employer, but doing the bare minimum signals that you are unhappy with the job or the work environment.
Instead of taking the leap and pursuing your dreams, quiet quitting can leave you utterly dissatisfied over time. It takes away any emotional investment you have in the workplace, given that we do spend most of our waking hours at the office. It can also lead to a lack of skill development, adversely affecting your ability to advance your career in the long run.
Taking all these factors into consideration, some experts advise that you should take action to change your circumstances actively instead of quietly quitting. Talk to your boss about why you wouldn’t be able to work X number of hours and if they aren’t okay with it, consider switching jobs.
How can your company solve the quiet quitting problem?
Based on the abovementioned issues, it makes more sense to reframe quiet quitting as an organizational problem rather than blaming employees for their passive attitude toward their jobs. The management level needs to establish a sense of trust with the employees and try to understand their goals and aspirations.
You can conduct regular one-on-one meetings with employees to discuss their progress and opportunities in their current roles. Adjusting workloads to ensure no employee feels overwhelmed by their responsibilities is another significant step toward creating a healthy work environment. You can also add work benefits, like paid time off and fitness subscriptions, to make your company an attractive employer. Ultimately, having a workplace culture that makes employees feel a sense of belongingness is the best way to make the workplace more desirable and discourage quiet quitting.
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