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Quiet Quitting

A buzz word I heard this week is ‘quiet quitting’. It’s something that’s rising in popularity among Gen Z and millennial professionals in particular and it even has its own hashtag. So, what is quiet quitting and how can it revolutionise the workplace?

Work life Balance

Despite the name, it doesn’t involve actually quitting a job. What it does mean is that peoples are rejecting overachievement and the endless hustle culture and choosing to set boundaries for themselves at work, whether they are employees or freelancers. That could mean doing less or simply doing the work that is listed in their job requirements and setting healthy boundaries with their employers and not allowing our jobs to seep into our free time.

It can be a major step towards finding a better work/life balance. For example, no longer working outside of allocated work time and being driven to meet unrealistic work targets and ultimately, burning out.

What Quiet Quitting means

There are a few ways you can ‘quiet quit’, but the following are some of the steps you might take:

  • Saying no to tasks outside of the traditional job description

  • Not replying to emails outside of work times

  • Leaving work on time

  • Being less emotionally invested

  • No more overachieving

  • Setting firm boundaries between work and home

  • Becoming aware of your mental health and the effect overworking can have on our mental health

Why Are People Doing It?

There are lots of reasons why people quiet quit. One big reason is to restore balance to our lives and protect ourselves from overwork and workplace burnout.

It can be super easy to get caught up in work and all that entails, to the extent that it affects the rest of our life, giving us less time to relax, maintain self-care, see family and friends, exercise or just be. Coupled with a number of people not seeing any wage increases and seeing CEO’s becoming richer, it can be demoralising for us all. The mental health of young adults worldwide is declining with record numbers of young people suffering from anxiety and depression. Quiet quitting is a response to the mental health crisis facing us all.

In a practical sense, maybe the past couple of years have made it easier to quiet quit. More people have been working from home and the employee isn’t present with their boss, maybe quiet quitting has become easier, or people get bolder.

The Impact on Employers and Employees

Quiet quitting is a conscious effort to care for our wellbeing and create stronger boundaries in our relationship with work.

When people aren’t overworking themselves, they have more time for everything else that helps them to relax and care for themselves.

Quiet quitting feels like people taking back control in the workplace and finally thinking about themselves and their own mental health, it points to a more empowered work force.

The Future of Work

So, what’s the future? Quiet quitting has been compared to the ‘slow’ and ‘degrowth’ movements, which promote slowing or reversing economic growth. Could we be witnessing the end of the ‘hustle’ culture, which puts materialism and profits over human-cantered values, such as compassion and self-development?

Hopefully it will expose employee burnout and exploitation in the workplace and focus on providing employee-centred wellbeing policies and societal ones, for instance, stronger labour laws and a four-day working week.

Employers could have a conversation with their employee when they notice changes and make it clear that they’re ready to support them. Ask how they can help and accommodate the employees requests.

There’s nothing wrong with working hard in your job, particularly if you’re working towards that dream role or promotion, and for many people, their career provides them with a real sense of purpose. However, we all need to find a healthy work/life balance that works for us and our employer. For too long the balance of power has been weighted against the employee and it’s time for more balance in the workplace.

Whether quiet quitting is the right move or not, it feels as if people are beginning to see their worth, and it’s difficult to ignore the wider conversation around mental health in influencing this. To put it plainly, something needs to change and hopefully that change is coming to us all. xx

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