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by Rob Porter | June 13, 2023


Quiet quitting is a relatively new term that’s being used to describe an instance where an employee intentionally avoids going above and beyond in the workplace. There could be many reasons for quiet quitting, such as a loss of motivation or a response to a toxic workplace. Whichever the case may be, when someone decides to quietly quit, it can cause some problems for those around them. Here’s how to deal with a coworker who’s quietly quitting.

Focus on Your Tasks

It can be easy to spend a lot of time focusing your attention on a coworker who is quietly quitting. Feelings of frustration or anger can cause us to lose track of the task at hand, which will lead to decreased productivity and loss of motivation. When we get caught in a pattern of negative feelings and actions, it can cause a domino effect where the people around us are also affected. Under such circumstances, an entire team can become dysfunctional and ineffective as a result of one person’s actions, or lack thereof.

Don’t Tell on Them

When someone around you is quietly quitting, working with them on projects can be a major problem. Suddenly, you’re concerned that you won’t meet a deadline or that your coworker’s lack of effort might reflect poorly on you. You might be thinking the best way to handle this situation is to go straight to your boss, but it’s a little more complicated than that.

Marching into your boss’ office and tattling on a coworker who is quietly quitting can actually paint you in a negative light, depending on how your boss handles situations like this. What you can do is calmly approach your boss and express your concerns that you’re unable to make further progress on a project because you’re waiting on your coworker. This might prompt your boss to ask you for more information about your coworker’s disposition, in which case you should be honest.

Don’t Do Their Work

It’s never a bad idea to help a coworker who is struggling, as long as you have the time; however, if your coworker is intentionally shirking their responsibilities, it’s not your problem. Continue to focus on your tasks, and do the best you can to complete them in a timely fashion. If your coworker isn’t pulling their weight, it will become apparent one way or another, and your boss will deal with it.

It can be easy for particularly conscientious employees to take on the work of someone who isn’t doing their part. The problem here is that you’re doing more than what is required of you and taking time away from your own tasks, which can lead to burnout. Additionally, when we take on the responsibilities of someone who isn’t doing their work, we’re sending a message that “it’s okay” when it isn’t, regardless of the reasons.

Talk to Your Coworker

Don’t jump to conclusions about your coworkers. If you notice that someone seems to be ignoring their responsibilities, talk to them about it. A simple “how’s everything going?” can go a long way, and you might learn that your coworker is struggling with their tasks, or that they’re having some personal issues. If this is the case, you can choose to provide some assistance as long as you have the bandwidth.

Step Up Your Game

Rather than letting things get to you, take the opportunity to let yourself shine. Focus on your work, and politely remind the coworker in question of any pending tasks or upcoming deadlines. Even if your coworker doesn’t do their part, you’ve done your due diligence and when it comes time for reviews, your boss will notice. If you’ve been on top of your game, you’ll look even better by comparison, and you’ve displayed the qualities of a leader.

Change Your Perspective

If you’ve approached your coworker and they explained that they’re currently seeking other avenues of employment because they feel as though they’re in a toxic situation, there could be some validity to their claims. In certain situations, it’s important to try and see things from another perspective. How would you react to a toxic workplace? Do you feel sympathy for your coworker?

Regardless of your feelings on the trend of quiet quitting, it can cause certain workplace issues such as decreased productivity, loss of individual and collective motivation, and low morale, among other negative effects. We should always seek to learn and understand the various plights of those around us; however, when it comes to your work and your day-to-day tasks, it’s important to put your best foot forward, even if you’re in proximity of someone who is quietly quitting.