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Quiet Quitting – How Does it Go Beyond a ‘TikTok’ Trend?

4 Mins read

What started as a popular trend on TikTok recently spread to become the latest buzzword in any work related publications, we all know it – quiet quiting. You have certainly seen numerous videos or articles explaining what ‘quiet quitting’ is or even encouraging you to try it. 

Additionally, as some of you may know, quiet quitting doesn’t really mean “quietly quitting your job”. 

What is Quiet Quitting?

Zaiad Khan, a TikTok user, explains quiet quitting as the action of quitting the idea of giving everything from yourself for your job. According to Khan, you are giving power to yourself by stressing less about your job and sparing your time for your personal life – but of course, you still perform your tasks. 

Meggie Perkins, mother, and teacher by profession, just lately shot a TikTok video explaining that she started ‘quiet quitting’ before it even became a trend. According to her, as a teacher you have no space to grow or promotion – so there’s no need to ‘hustle’. Her TikTok videos explain her procedure of quiet quitting: not taking extra classes after her regular hours, not volunteering for any extracurricular activity, and no participation in committees, whatsoever. 

To make it clear, there isn’t a set definition of what quiet quitting means, as each employee gives it a definition themselves. While for some it means not overperforming, for others it means simply setting some basic boundaries so you don’t get burnout. Fortunately or unfortunately, some people see quiet quitting as doing the absolute bare minimum.  

What Pushes Employees to Quiet Quitting?

Apparently, quiet quitting comes as a result of work dissatisfaction. Kelly, 2019, stated in a Forbes article that over 50% of US employees are dissatisfied with their jobs. Similarly, other studies find declines among Gen Z and younger millennials (below 35 years old) regarding their job engagement and satisfaction. 

Another study by Gallup, shows alarming findings that explain what pushes employees to quiet quitting: 

  • A significant drop in young workers who claim that they feel like their managers care for them and encourage their development, or have opportunities to grow in their workplace;
  • Out of 10, less than 3 employees feel that they know clearly what is expected from them;
  • Remote and hybrid workers dropped in high points when asked whether they feel like someone supports their developments. 
quitting

Of course, the feelings of dissatisfaction vary and so do the reasons of feeling so. While feeling not cared for is valid enough, others are dissatisfied because of working conditions, long hours, low pay, toxic work environments, and more reasons. 

The Good Side Of Quiet Quitting

Kalsey Wat, Career Coach, claims that there is a side of quiet quitting that could actually work. It could benefit the managers because the employees will have more free time to pursue their passions and hobbies. Hence, hopefully, they will be more relaxed and more efficient during their working hours. 

In addition, I took the liberty of asking some of my colleagues at the company I work at what they think about quiet quitting. To be honest, not many of them were familiar with the term. But, once I explained it, there were two different views heard from them: 

  1. 3-4 colleagues of mine claimed that they have been quiet quitting for years, without knowing there is an explanatory term for it;
  2. The rest, around 15 colleagues of mine claimed that they wish they could quiet quit, but that it is kinda impossible for them. If they don’t overperform, stress about their tasks, or give a lot of themselves for the job – they will not ‘shine’. 

Further, I asked the first group what benefits they have acquired from it, and the second group, what they think they would benefit from it.

quiet

Both groups answered similarly. The ones who already quit quitting claimed they feel happier and calmer in their personal lives because they don’t overstress about work. They believed they respect their effort and energy. The other group believed that without the work stress and overdoing, they would have more free time to work on themselves. Both groups believed quiet quitting could help you actually become more efficient during working hours. 

What’s Not so Good About It

Big groups of employees can rarely agree on a topic. Quiet quitting could potentially create conflict in a work environment because some employees would feel like they are carrying the work weight of others. 

Another point I came across while reading different materials is that quiet quitting removes the emotional aspect of a job. This said employees feel neither good about their successes – nor bad about their failures. This brings to the surface a colder side of the employees which is not what many managers aspire to.

Kevin O’Leary, star of ABC’s “Shark Tank”, elaborates another negative aspect of quiet quitting. According to him, quiet quitting could result in a lack of motivation and a decrease in employees’ creativity. Inability to fit in work teams, underdevelopment of skills, and lack of flexibility could also arise. 

How To Combat Quiet Quitting

To the employees and managers: Whether you want to focus on the positive or the negative traits of this phenomenon, it is up to you. Either way, we suggest the following 3 ways you can treat quiet quitting:

Lead by Example

Respecting an employee’s or team member’s energy and time is crucial. If you’re a team leader, do your best to respect others’ time. Don’t overstress your employees with unnecessary extra hours, emails, meetings, and similar. Respects weekends, days off, and whatever other reasonable boundary that a fellow employee may have set. 

Believe in Others’ Prioritization

How your employees or fellow team members prioritize their tasks, assignments, and projects should be up to them. As long as the results and goals are being achieved, don’t overconsume one’s time by pressuring prioritization. 

On the other hand, if you believe one is struggling with prioritization – offer help. You can scale deadlines or assignments according to how you consider them important.

Be Grateful

Everyone wants to be validated – it’s simply human nature. Regardless if you’re a manager or colleague, validating one’s work is beyond important. Show gratitude for the accomplishment of tasks, deadlines respecting, or even something as simple as showing up on time. This could result in a significant increase in work satisfaction – because you’re increasing one’s value and self-respect as an employee, and human. 

Further Reading:

Designing a Basic Handbook Weapons Policy – a Quick Guide
Understanding Psychological Screening Inventory (PSI)
Top Employee Engagement Books

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About author
Fatjona Gërguri is the content writer for Employee Experience Magazine, covering the relevant topics about employee experience, organizational culture and general HR topics.
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