Why is everyone talking about "Quiet Quitting"?

Text: Quiet Quitting (verb). A way of working where the employee does not take on more work than is contracted.
November 15, 2022

More and more people are putting themselves and their health before their jobs. Read on to find out what this means for you and your business.

Quiet Quitting is a concept that is heard more and more in HR circles. It's not a new concept, but it has recently gained momentum with the help of TikTok and has gained a lot of traction among Millenials and Gen Z in particular. Contrary to what the name suggests, Quiet Quitting does not mean quitting without notice or quitting your job. Instead, it's about creating a healthy relationship with your work and disconnecting your job from your identity.

Quiet Quitting (verb): an approach to one's work in which the employee chooses not to take on more tasks than those included in the job description

A Quiet Quitter is a person who stops going "above and beyond" at work. It is a person who values their free time and chooses to avoid taking on more work than they are paid for. In practice, this may mean not answering emails outside of working hours, or turning down tasks that are not part of your job description.

Perhaps most of all, Quiet Quitting has been given a new lease of life since the Covid pandemic forced large sections of the working population to work from home. The long period of constant working from home blurred the line between work and leisure, causing many to change their priorities. It becomes increasingly important to make space in everyday life for one's family, interests and mental health.

Three pie charts showing statistics related to stress and engagement at work. 44% of employees globally experience high stress at work on a daily basis, 21% of employees globally say they feel engaged at work and 14% of employees in Europe say they feel engaged at work.

What does Quiet Quitting mean for employers?

For employers, the concept may seem scary. There is a fear that employees will no longer be as dedicated to their jobs, or that morale will decline as Quiet Quitting gains popularity. It may look like a Quiet Quitter has lost their drive, but that doesn't have to be the case. Instead, Quiet Quitting can be a way for an employee to give themselves space to rest and recover, and then be able to give full focus to their tasks when they are actually at work.

Ultimately, Quiet Quitting can make both individual employees and the company as a whole more efficient. Perhaps because the risk of burnout is reduced when employees no longer work more than they should, or because time spent in the office (or home office) is no longer forced to share focus with all the things that the employee doesn't have time to do in their spare time.

We Select's 6 tips for dealing with Quiet Quitting: be clear about your vision and mission, listen to your employees, provide opportunities for development, reward your employees' performance, make sure your employees feel good and set a good example

How does an employer deal with Quiet Quitting?

There are, of course, many different ways in which employers can deal with Quiet Quitting. Some of them are:

  • Be clear about your vision and mission
    Studies show that (especially young) employees become more passive in their jobs when they don't feel they have a purpose. To counteract this trend, employers should therefore be clear about their vision and mission, and ensure that it is reflected throughout the organisation.
  • Listen to your employees
    Conduct employee surveys to find out about the level of engagement in your workplace. Give employees the opportunity to provide regular feedback and see any criticism as an opportunity to change and increase engagement. So that you as an employer can improve for and with your employees.
  • Provide opportunities for development
    Feeling that you are developing and learning new things is important to maintain engagement. So offer your employees the opportunity to attend courses or inspiration days.
  • Reward your employees' performance
    Quiet Quitting can be seen as a backlash against the culture in some companies of rewarding good or effective work with higher workloads, without pay rises or other compensation. Give your employees the opportunity to increase their pay or be promoted when they do a good job.
  • Make sure your employees feel good
    Empower employees to find a healthy work-life balance, perhaps through a flexible work-at-home solution or clear communication around workload.
  • Set a good example
    your employees feelat their best when they work 8-17 or avoid answering emails outside working hours. Make sure they continue to do so by following the same rules yourself.

Reading about Quiet Quitting from an employer's perspective can sometimes sound like it's the downfall of a company's productivity and profitability, when what it's really about is employees spending the time they should at work and performing the tasks that are part of their job descriptions. In short, doing their job - no more, no less.


Actually, we've been 'quietly quitting' and 'quietly firing' for years, Miller, K. L., The Washington Post, 2022-09-08

If Your Co-Workers Are 'Quietly Quitting', Here's What That Means, Ellis, L. & Yang, A., The Wall Street Journal, 2022-08-12

What Is 'Quiet Quitting'-and Is It Really Just Work-Life Balance?, Milbrand, L. Real Simple, 2022-08-29

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