The emergence of quiet quitting
Lockdown saw the emergence of a wave of people trying to instil the idea of ‘hustle culture’, capitalising on their new-found free time with business ventures such as producing and selling beauty products, wax melt, candles etc. There’s also been a surge of employees taking up a second job, aka a ‘hobby job’ and passive income such as investments, selling Etsy printables and other digital services have rocketed the last couple of years amongst younger generations, to boost income and ensure every second of the day is capitalised on.
Contrastingly, the idea of ‘quiet quitting’, in which disgruntled employees do the bare minimum at work, as they ‘work to live not live to work’ has come to prominence this year, particularly on social media, much to the concern of employers who are already facing extra challenges such as adjusting to post-pandemic people management.
Quiet quitting’s inception appears to be TikTok, and in essence it’s doing the working bare minimum required in order to retain a job. Employees engaging in this practice will not seek out new challenges or projects, and seems to nod to the wider anti-work movement which the pandemic has exacerbated amongst millennials and Gen Z.
Work-life balance vs. quiet quitting
We must stress, quiet quitting is not simply ensuring tasks are completed within working hours and arriving and leaving work at your allotted time. Time management and boundary-setting are to be praised. However, it does seem to be the lack of a work-life balance that has seen the rise of quiet quitting.
Reddit, a self-proclaimed ‘network of communities where people can dive into their interests, hobbies and passions’, host an active ‘anti-work’ forum, in which one contributor stated that they felt burnt out after pressure to work extended hours and not utilise annual leave.
Subsequently, the value that some people place on their employment is declining. A recent survey found that over 51% of young full-time workers said the pandemic had ‘decreased the importance [they] place on [their] career.’ 63% of all British workers said they had recently experienced burnout, and only 49% considered their work-life balance as ‘good’. This opens up debate around the positives and negatives of the pandemic fusing the workplace with the home; smartphones mean many of us struggle to set proper boundaries with work, responding to emails at all hours.
If you’re concerned about quiet quitting in your workplace, it’s important to ensure there’s open communication between senior management and the wider workforce! Having adequate staff in place, checking that employees are coping with their workload and setting the expectation that long hours should be the exception, not the norm are all ways to combat quiet quitting. Overworking almost always ends up counter-productive when employees end up burnt out and resentful.
Moreover, employees should be engaged with your company’s mission and eager for new opportunities to contribute to it.
Anonymised surveys are a great way to gauge how employees are feeling. If you’re confident that you personally encourage employees to have a healthy work-life balance and have an open line of communication with them, there will be no anxiety around hosting such a survey.
Hosting regular one-to-ones with employees to check on how they are, discuss their evolving workplace goals and possible opportunities for advancement will guarantee that your workforce will feel more comfortable approaching you with any concerns in the future. Don’t forget remote workers in this process, as often they can be overlooked if not a physical presence in the office, however, they should also feel motivated and part of the mission.
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