Quiet quitting is a new term that’s taking social media by storm. What the term refers to isn’t workers actually quitting their jobs but quitting going above and beyond in their current roles. The term (and trend) that Gen Z and millennial workers are latching onto challenges hustle culture—the idea that you need to work hard and grind your way to the top. Quiet quitting comes on the heels of The Great Resignation and Covid re-inventing the workplace, and many employees are using this as the solution to burnout. But is it really the right solution?
Causes of Burnout and Why It’s Causing Quiet Quitting
The rise of quiet quitting comes at a time when employee burnout is at its highest. According to an Indeed study, 52 percent of employees are experiencing burnout, a 9 percent increase compared to pre-Covid numbers. Causes of burnout include a high workload, little recognition, a high pressure work environment, and a lack of support from leadership. Employees even admit that the pandemic has exacerbated these feelings, and people are searching for solutions in order to enjoy work (and life) like they used to. But how exactly does quiet quitting help achieve the desired work-life balance?
One way is boundary setting. A lot of the quiet quitters on social media are making a clean break between their work days and lives outside of work by closing their laptops at exactly 5 p.m. No more answering emails after work hours. Instead, they’re unplugging to create a stronger work/life boundary.
Another way is not taking on extra work. One notion of the quiet quitting idea is to work according to your job description and not take on any extra work that you’re not getting paid for. This can help reduce workload and undue stress caused by a mountain of work staring at you every morning. Of course, less stress at work can lead to happier times outside of work, because you aren’t thinking of the mess you’ll go back to in the morning.
Other Options to Explore Before Quiet Quitting
Although the goal of quiet quitting is to improve work-life balance along with mental health, it’s not a foolproof plan that will meet your every need. Before sliding into the background of the workplace and quietly quitting, one option to try instead is talking to your boss. Sometimes your boss doesn’t know you’re overworking yourself and feeling burnout until you tell them. Let your boss in on what’s been going on, and your feelings about being stressed, overworked, underappreciated, etc. Your voice will be heard (you won’t be struggling in silence) and together, you and your boss might be able to agree on a solution that will help meet your needs better.
Another option is to look into more flexibility. Covid continues to change the ways we work and has opened doors to new aspects of flexibility. If being in the office is causing you stress and impacting productivity, see if your company has any remote work or hybrid opportunities. If you feel like your days are too long, see if there’s any flexibility in your working hours to better accommodate when you’re able to work your best. “Flexibility” is not a one size fits all solution, so speak to your employer about what your options are.
How Employers Feel
Employers have caught wind of this new trend, and it’s worrying some company executives in terms of productivity. Companies want employees who are productive and get their work accomplished on time, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that in the second quarter of 2022, productivity fell by 2.5 percent compared to the second quarter of 2021. Although it’s hard to determine one cause for this decrease, the rise of quiet quitting is likely to be affecting these numbers.
Regarding quiet quitting, Johnny C. Taylor Jr., President and CEO of Society for Human Resource Management recently told Time magazine, “I understand the concept, but the words are off-putting. Anyone who tells their business leader they are a quiet quitter is likely not to have a job for very long.”
The push for work-life balance isn’t going away anytime soon, and it now has a different look in the quiet quitting era. It’s important to remember that there isn’t one right way to fix burnout for everyone. So, make sure to analyze all your options before following the crowd and quietly quitting.
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