Updated: Jan 3
Conversations about the viral trend “quiet quitting” seem to be happening everywhere these days. But what exactly does the term mean? And how can you better understand it in order to improve your own work-life balance?
TikTok user Zaid Khan was one of the first to discuss the buzzy new workplace term in a video that has since garnered 3.5 million views. In the video, he explains that “You’re still performing your duties, but you’re no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life. The reality is it’s not, and your worth as a person is not defined by your labor.”
The emergence of this phenomenon can at least partially be traced to the COVID-19 pandemic, when widespread job loss, fear, and uncertainty led to a massive shift in priorities for millions of people. Headlines constantly discussing “The Great Resignation” swept the nation as record numbers of workers began to leave their jobs behind or change their industries. Is quiet quitting the natural evolution of that movement?
The term has received pushback from traditionalists, who claim it’s only about “being lazy” or “slacking off at work,” but this is a huge misinterpretation of the mission behind the term. Understandably, many workers don’t feel they can risk “quiet quitting” if there’s a chance their boss would hold it against them. But the onus for improving the work environment should be on the employer, not the employee. Ultimately, there is much that employers can and should do in order to set a new positive office culture from the top down that everybody can benefit from.
Creating Healthy Work-Life Boundaries:
It’s no wonder people have been shifting their perspectives and priorities over the last two years. We cannot possibly expect everyone to go back to the way things were after experiencing such awful trauma and grief. Creating a healthy work-life boundary is crucial in order to give people the time they need each week to decompress and recharge.
Managers should not only treat their employees’ time off with respect, they should also set the example by establishing their own firm work-life boundaries. You should not be sending unnecessary emails at all hours of the night or pulling people into work requests when you know they’re on vacation. We aren’t meant to endlessly hustle and grind seven days a week. Not letting people be fully “off” when they’re not at work creates an environment ripe for burnout.
Fostering Better Communication Between Employees and Managers:
If you are not genuinely checking in with your employees on a regular basis, they will understandably not feel comfortable coming to talk to you if they’re having trouble with a task or desiring a shift in the kind of work they are given. Set aside time each week to talk to your team as a group and create more opportunities for you to regularly check in with your employees one on one.
Managers are in the business of managing people and with that should come a genuine interest in learning about how your employees are doing. You should be having engaging conversations with your employees about their goals and really listening to their ideas. Establishing open communication should be a priority in any work environment.
Establishing A Healthier Office Culture:
We all have to be flexible and learn to adapt to our new normal. It’s in everyone’s best interests to want to establish a healthier, more open office culture. Of course, there’s no one easy, overnight solution for how this happens, but the important thing is that the conversation has begun.
As an employer, you might next consider ways in which to:
Establish clear expectations around roles and how people will grow and be promoted within those roles
Offer people greater flexibility in how often they’re coming into the office vs. working from home
Offer other ways for people to connect if they’re mostly remote
Encourage people to take their time off when they have it
Regularly engage with people and help them feel truly listened to
Create a safe environment for people to express any mental health issues/burnout
Remember... Quiet Quitting isn’t about giving up; it’s about rethinking our work-life balance in healthy ways that everybody can benefit from. When you adapt and create a new, positive office culture, everybody wins.
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Written by Jessie Cannizzaro