Dec 30, 2022
We all know that the way we work has changed, and continues to change. Hybrid and/or remote working offer employees the opportunity to have a greater work/life balance while the life of a digital nomad means people can work from anywhere in the world if they choose to.
There’s also been a shake-up in the technology sector: Twitter has changed hands and caused a stir, and Meta laid people off, claiming they had overhired during the pandemic or took on staff to ‘experiment’ on the platform.
But there’s also a movement going on you may now be aware of: The Quiet Quit. It’s had quite the moment as the latest buzzword and the phrase #quietquitting has flooded social media, particularly on TikTok where it’s currently seeing 350 million views.
So what is quiet quitting and how is it impacting business and working life for employees across industries?
The terminology of quiet quitting is a bit misleading: the concept is more about reclaiming a balance between work life and personal life than it is about quitting your job.
It’s about setting boundaries and can be seen as a response to the burnout many felt and experienced during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.
The buzzword has created quite a stir, even being called a ‘revolution’ by the media. Depending on your interpretation you may support it or fear it. Some people interpret it as mindful and a healthy balanced choice, while others feel it's a slippery slope or a really bad idea for your career.
Let’s take a look at the implications of distancing yourself from the rat race.
American TikTokker, @zaidlepplin posted one of the most popular videos on the subject. His TikTok went viral, saying “ you're no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality”.
Depending on your personality type, your job contract, and your passion for that job, you will of course see what elements of quiet quitting would fit your situation.
It could be taking control of your work/life balance, doing your job while still doing more than expected - but respecting your personal time and rejecting the idea that work can take over your life.
Other people might start by doing the bare minimum, by no longer going “above and beyond”, and using language like “avoiding corporate exploitation”.
You might treat the quiet quitting trend with disdain or welcome the conversation. But be aware that as people take different approaches and interpretations of this trend, so might you and your actions be perceived in different ways by your team, boss, organization, and even clients.
Here’s a video explaining the concept of “acting your wage”.
Some people might be lucky enough to work in a culture that respects saying “no” to burnout. Luckier still are those in an organization that promotes the concept and sets company-wide work boundaries and wellness days.
On the flipside, if one member of the team adopts this quiet quitting approach it can disrupt the team cohesion. The team might feel like they are impacted adversely, and begrudge picking up the slack or pushing out deadlines.
If you’re a team manager, it might be time to take a minute to review the work status quo (especially if you manage a remote team).
Are you happy with your workplace approach to task deadlines, staff well-being, and your training provisions? Have you implemented any strategies to help your employees feel included in the company, its objectives and therefore connected to their work?
(Here’s a quick peek at the world’s 10 happiest companies in 2021 via CNBC).
If the concept of this trend is attractive to you it’s also worth asking, are you ‘quiet quitting’ or disengaging? Burnout is one of the top reasons why staff are not satisfied with their jobs and become increasingly disengaged.
Recent research by Gallup found that there is a staggering increase in the rates of disengagement and unhappiness amongst employees, with the number one reported cause being “unfair treatment at work”, while 50 percent of US and Canadian workers reported feeling stressed in their jobs on a daily basis.
Check out our tips on how to identify and manage burnout.
For those of you who feel disengaged from your role, the quiet quit is probably not really going to help you. If anything, it will exacerbate the negative feelings and unhappiness you might feel about your current career choices.
You may not be feeling proud of the work that you are doing, and you’ll have no vested interest in making any positive contributions - you’re more likely to become one of the many who are contributing to the great resignation. The quiet quit is not the solution you may be seeking.
Top tip: Read: 'Assess Your Career: The Ultimate Toolkit' to see where you are and where you want to go in your career.
To drill it down to its simplest form, many workers really just want to do meaningful work well and have time for themselves, their families, and their personal interests.
If you manage a team, some simple things you can do are to:
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If you are remote working - make sure you create a structure and routine that includes creating social interactions, and activities outside of the home such as a walk, run or cycle.
Top tip: Listen to our podcast packed with examples and ideas from professionals on how they’re productive with their time.
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