What You Need to Know About ‘Quiet Quitting’

A worker suffering office burnout sitting at her desk

Whatever happened to that job and that workplace with realistic expectations, where doing the duties in your job description states is considered enough? A new trend called Quiet Quitting may see workers take a stand.

It seems that workplace cultures have been quietly shifting for years. Responsibilities have been rising, with employees feeling greater pressure to go the extra mile to one-up a colleague or impress their boss. But the coronavirus pandemic has completely changed the way in which people are looking at their jobs. This change in workplace culture and attitudes has resulted in a new trend that has taken over social media platforms such as TikTok, labeled “quiet quitting.”

What is ‘Quiet Quitting?’

In spite of what the name suggests, “quite quitting” has nothing to do with actually quitting or leaving your job. In fact, it refers to doing simply what your job description states and nothing more. You would still show up to work, but only do what you are absolutely required to do. It may mean that you don’t take on additional responsibilities or even check emails or answer your phone outside work hours.

The pandemic appears to have given workers the realization that they may not be getting the recognition or remuneration for putting in those extra hours. Some say they have experienced burnout as a result of putting in those additional hours of work. Many are now thinking about how to achieve a better work-life balance. The quiet quitting movement aims to accomplish work-life balance and do what you’re paid to do – nothing more.

The term quiet quitting took off after a user of TikTok posted a video that went viral saying “work is not your life.” While that message appears to be gaining some momentum, not everyone agrees. For example, many career coaches would say you are unlikely to succeed at work or build a career if you maintain that mindset. They say workplace advancement and pay increases will go to those who put in the effort and commitment to excel. Doing the bare minimum is not the way to go, experts say.

What Led to This New Trend of Quiet Quitting?

When the world shut down because of COVID-19 lockdowns, many people were forced to work from home. After vaccines became available, many went into hybrid work schedules and this made many workers reassess the time they would spend commuting to and from work, as well as working overtime. They realized that this was causing added stress in their lives and even taxing their mental health.

This new quiet quitting trend has encouraged employees to let go of all the additional things they do at work so they can prevent work from taking over their lives. Those who “quiet quit” say they are no longer willing to overwork or put their mental well-being in jeopardy simply to bring home a paycheck. They will still do their job to the best of their abilities, but without going the extra mile without compensation.

Here are some of the main factors that lead to employees quiet quitting:

Work overload: If employees are feeling that they are doing twice the work for the same pay, they are more likely to feel overburdened and burned out. When companies fail to replace staff members who have quit, there is an increased workload for others. Employees can become exhausted and frustrated when there is a long wait to replace a team member. Regardless of the reason why an employee is overloaded, when employees have more work to do than they can handle long-term, quiet quitting is likely to occur.

Poor compensation: One of the main arguments for quiet quitting is “doing only the work you are paid to do.” Many who quiet quit feel they are not being paid enough. Employees feel poorly rewarded for the effort they put in. They may have asked for raises and been rebuffed. How much a worker is paid can also have an impact on his or her self-worth in the company. It is important to remember that compensation can be more than a salary and could include benefits and perks such as free meals, extra days off, free childcare, freedom to choose projects, etc.

Poor work-life balance: Quiet quitting is often the result of blurred lines and a disregard for work and personal life boundaries. This might mean managers asking employees to work late frequently or calling/texting/emailing them constantly after work hours with the expectation that the employee must answer.

Lack of support: Employees are often willing to go the extra mile when they know that will be reciprocated by their manager. When a manager has shown that he or she can be caring and considerate, it is easier to keep employees motivated. However, when workers feel like their bosses will not stand up for them or help them, employees may resort to quiet quitting and just do the bare minimum.

Poor communication: Sometimes, quiet quitting occurs because an employer does not know how to communicate with team members. Employers are responsible for creating a safe environment where employees feel comfortable speaking up.

What Can Employers Do?

Employees form the backbone of any company or enterprise. It is important for employers to recognize that and make employees feel properly supported in their roles. Employers must find ways to engage in conversations with their employees and make sure they feel satisfied with their jobs. It might even be a good idea to schedule weekly or monthly meetings with teams so everyone is on the same page.

Having a well-drafted employment contract can also help because it will set forth the employee’s responsibilities and obligations. Clearly stating duties and expectations can be quite helpful. Employers should also make every effort to recognize what employees do for them and honor promises for pay raises or incentives.

Quiet Quitting Could Become a Conversation Starter

This trend of quiet quitting has served as a conversation making us all think about how we’ve viewed our jobs and what changes need to occur for our work lives to be more sustainable in the future. While some view quiet quitting as slacking off, others see it as a way to provide employees with the proper incentives and work-life balance for mental well-being. There is no question that hard work and dedication should be important as it allows individuals to advance in their careers. At the same time, employees should have the right to express themselves on these important issues.

If you have questions pertaining to your employment contract or if you believe you have been terminated wrongfully or fired for illegal reasons, or have not been paid for overtime, it is important that you seek the counsel of an experienced California employment lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.

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