Quietly quitting is the latest workplace buzzword, and research suggests that it’s on the rise.
But what is it, and why is it being spoken about.
Who’s right? Who’s wrong?
Perhaps most importantly: is quiet quitting right for you?
Quietly quitting is where employees do the bare minimum to get the job done and set clear boundaries to improve their work-life balance. The pandemic for sure has made many reflect on their work/life balance but this isn’t a new phenomenon, just one that’s been brought back into focus.
Although the term is new, employees have quietly quit their jobs for years, whether it was because of poor pay, unreasonable workload, burnout or lack of growth opportunities and even in my career as a professional footballer for 20yrs, I have seen many cases where players are coasting through training, giving the bare minimum and no more. This is usually when demoralised after being dropped from the first team, but rather than change the situation with focussed effort towards winning their place back, they switch off, coast through training and as a result, fall further away from selection until they change their mindset, or leave.
The Pareto Principle states that 80% of outcomes come from 20% of the causes, and this runs through many organisations, just take football, as a striker 80% of the goals were scored by 20% of the squad, so, you could argue that some players or employees quietly quitting has little impact on the overall performance of that organisation.
Doing the bare minimum will never benefit anyone. Since the pandemic, people’s relationship with work has changed, the search for meaning in people’s lives has become far more apparent. Research suggests that this is due to an increased sense of our own mortality during the pandemic.
Psychologists believe that quiet quitting can be beneficial in a multitude of ways, particularly in terms of having the confidence to implement boundaries, it can often be a coping mechanism used to address the likelihood of burnout and chronic overworking. If used in isolated cases for sort periods then I do agree, but we are creatures of habit, and bad habits take hold pretty quickly, if this practice takes hold and becomes the norm then don’t.
For me this can’t be a healthy long term approach for the employee, most of us want to feel valued in whatever we do and that includes the workplace. Studies show that being less motivated and less engaged in work can result in higher levels of depression amongst employees.
Yes, employers should work hard on culture within the workplace to reduce or prevent this, people want to be respected for what they do, and valued in some way, but ultimately, our own happiness belongs to us, if were not happy then we should look to make changes to find an employer that we feel more consistently motivated to focus our efforts, or change our career path to align our work with our current values and morals.
Quietly quitting is a sign of sitting in a comfort zone, choosing comfort over the courage to change a negative situation.
What is the cost to sitting in that comfort zone?
More than just stagnation of a career, this can have a huge effect on mental health too.
My role as a goal setting coach is to help clients define what they want, both personally and professionally. If they identify a dissatisfaction at work then I would always work to resolve this by improving the situation at their current employer or looking at other opportunities, we owe it to ourselves to be at peace with as many areas of our lives as possible, and any areas that lack that contentment should be addressed not given up on.
Indeed asking ourselves questions in this situation helps to clarify the picture.
What am I feeling? (Stressed, Angry, Frustrated, Cheated)
What is making me feel this way?
What do I want from my life?
Was my work/life balance right before the pandemic?
How can I change that now?
Do I stay put and work to change the situation or do I switch off?
Do I move on to something new?”
Quiet quitting is a sign that an employee is not happy in their position or is experiencing burnout, a sign that something needs to change, not an excuse to check out both mentally and physically.
Feeling too comfortable in a position often leads to boredom, so before this sets in look to make changes that will keep you engaged.
I am a huge advocate of healthy routines, there are lots of tools we can use to create healthy balance between work and home life, ways in which we can find happiness in both, 40% of our waking hours are spent at work so finding real engagement and worth during these times is fundamental to our long-term feeling of self-worth and happiness.
There will be some that will opt for the easy option, but ultimately you can have the best of both worlds by maintaining healthy boundaries and remaining emotionally invested at work without sacrificing your mental health and personal well-being.
As always, life is what we make it.