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What Leaders Can Do About “Quite Quitting” Among Workers

August 31, 2022

A Tik Tok trend has created a meme on ‘quiet quitting’.

What is quiet quitting and what can leaders do about quiet quitting among workers?

What is quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting is not about quitting your job – it means that a worker chooses to do only what your job demands and not one thing more.

Workers are quitting doing anything extra.

Workers show up for work but have boundaries around the job requirements.

Workers are being more discerning about additional tasks or choosing to not check emails outside work hours.

Why are workers quiet quitting?

The pandemic created much change with the shift to remote work and now hybrid work.

Many workers are reevaluating what work means to them and how work impacts their well being.

Remote workers report an increase in stress due to the blurred lines between work and personal.

As the pandemic shifted to a post pandemic phase companies are now implementing hybrid work policies.

More workers focused on their mental health are setting boundaries around work.

‘Quiet quitting’ is a ‘just say no’ to those things that are outside the scope of the job requirements.

Quiet quitting is NOT about slacking off – it is more about workers setting boundaries and decreasing blurred lines between work/personal life.

What can leaders do about ‘quiet quitting’?

Many leaders are reacting to the ‘quiet quitting’ trend as ‘lazy’ and view it as workers lacking ambition to climb the career ladder.

I think its helpful to look at the trend from a broader perspective. It is true that in the 80’s and 90’s and 2000’s the work culture was dog eat dog and may the best person win.

Career growth in the past was viewed as success and workers identities were based on how ‘hard they worked’.

Since the pandemic more people are questioning the definition of success.

The definition of success today is having a life, being healthy and feeling fulfilled.

From 2020 to now and into the future it created a global movement of people becoming more aware of how work fits into their lives.

A meme like ‘quiet quitting’ has created media buzz and it also creates dialogue around what workers want.

One of the outcomes of the ‘quiet quitting’ trend is the realization that workers can be ambitious and productive while also having boundaries.

A simple example of a quiet quitting activity is to shut down the laptop of 5:00 PM.

This is not lazy – it is healthy to have a stop time to work and way to transition to personal time.

The opportunity is to reframe boundaries from a bad thing and see it as a healthy psychological approach to life/work balance.

Here are things leaders can do about ‘quiet quitting’: Be aware of your personal bias about ‘hard work’ – and projecting your beliefs that hard work is working overtime or that its how YOU worked your entire career.

Be aware of your personal bias around ‘hard work’

Do some research on overall worker attitude trends

Have consistent candid conversations with your team members about work/life balance – ask them about the boundaries they have in place

Provide clarity for your team members by clearly outlining expectations of the job

Recognize that we are in a new world of work – hybrid workplace provides more options for how people can work and setting boundaries is a healthy psychological action.

Stay tuned as I share more about the worker trends shaping the workplace and how these trends are forcing leaders to change the way they structure work, coach their workers and how they keep their workers engaged.

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