What is the New Phrase ‘Quiet Quitting’?

The changes in employment and work best practices have been a hot topic lately, from mass layoffs to the great resignation, and the rise of remote work as the standard for many. However, one new phenomenon that’s recently been a topic of discussion for many employees and employers is quiet quitting.

Quiet quitting may be a term you recently heard for the first time, or have never heard of, but the idea isn’t entirely new. However, in this post-pandemic world, quiet quitting is more prominent than ever, and employers risk losing resources without even noticing it. 

What exactly is quiet quitting? Keep reading to learn more and how it can potentially affect your business.

What Does Quiet Quitting Mean?

According to a recent news.com.au article, ‘quiet quitting’ is a new trend significantly affecting workplaces in the United States and other countries, with Australia being no exception. Workers define this new term as rejecting the hustle culture mentality or the idea that work has to take over your personal life and instead simply doing what is required of you in your role.

This phenomenon sees employees doing the bare minimum at work and rarely – if ever – going above and beyond and doing extra work. In other words, quiet quitting is a reluctance to over-perform and work ridiculous hours that are over and above the job role and what’s legally required.

Here are some common actions that are typical of a quiet quitting:

  • Employees switching off their phones after 5pm
  • Not answering emails on the weekend
  • Removing all work-related apps from their phone

In theory, this sounds reasonable, but not every employer asks too much of their employees.

Why is Quiet Quitting Happening?

Quiet quitting comes down to one simple thing: employees are tired of the hustle. Since the pandemic, many workers may no longer have a two-hour commute each day if they work from home, but that doesn’t mean they are abundant with free time.

This time saved with no commute is sucked up by group messages and Monday notifications rather than getting any downtime back. In fact, according to the New York Times, by April 2020, “homebound working Americans were working three more hours on the job each day, replacing commutes with Zoom meetings and group messages.” 

What’s more is that this year, the University of Denver published their findings on work-life balance, citing: “Employees without children are also affected by working from home. While work could be spread throughout the day making some activities more convenient and useful for those who prefer a flexible schedule, work also became a potentially 24/7 activity, leaving little time for personal needs.” 

As further explained by the same article, when you add in COVID’s impact on everyday activities and leisure, most people have little opportunity for rest and rejuvenation outside work and their other responsibilities, which takes a toll on their mental health.

So even if your company offers the choice of working remotely, or other flexible working options, chances are your team is finding it hard to switch off like they used to when they worked on-site, making burnout an issue and increasing the temptation to ‘quiet quit’.

What Does This Mean For Employers?

Many young professionals have reevaluated their work-life balance during the pandemic. Up to 90% of workers refuse to return to the crazy work weeks of yesteryear and instead seek flexible working options that promote a better work-life balance.

As a result, not only might your employees not perform to the productivity standard you would expect, but they may also become disinterested in their role. They may lose interest in any thought of a promotion or leave their position entirely, which could negatively impact your company by impacting your revenue and increasing your turnover rate.

Knowing this, employers can combat potential quiet quitting straight away. To start, businesses should evaluate the following:

  • How your business operates
  • How you treat your employees
  • Their performance
  • Overall employee satisfaction at your company. 

Start by answering the following question: If you own a company and employ staff, do you consider your workplace to have a ‘hustle culture’ or a more balanced or family-first work culture? If it’s the former, your company may be in trouble, and you might even have some quiet quitters in your midst without even knowing it.

The Verdict: Quiet Quitting is Silent but Deadly

If you haven’t heard of quiet quitting before, hopefully, you now understand where this phenomenon stems from and what it means for your business. 

Not sure how to respond to this new and unprecedented response at your workplace? At HRonHand, we’re suggesting to our clients that they look at their company culture right now, because no doubt this will have shifted since you last looked at work culture, pre-pandemic.

We are working on a new resource to tackle this topic. In the meantime, head to our website for other free resources to help identify and combat quiet quitting before it damages the relationships or performance of your team.

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