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Quiet Quitting

Recently, there has been an abundance of talk surrounding ‘Quiet Quitting,’ but what exactly does it mean for your workplace?


First of all, quiet quitting doesn’t actually mean quitting in the traditional fashion! Instead, the phrase is meant to encompass behavioural changes which have become increasingly prominent in the workplace since the start of the pandemic. Quiet quitting, thus, refers to the notion that some workers are choosing to rebuke any ask that goes above and beyond their set of responsibilities. Workers who have quietly quit still fulfil their contractual hours but have scaled back their willingness to take on additional opportunities, stay late or assist with tasks outside their immediate remit. Objectively, there is nothing wrong with quiet quitting and workers are certainly not lazy. After all, what’s wrong with only doing the work you were hired for as long as you’re doing it well?

During the pandemic, many employees re-evaluated their priorities in search of a better work/life balance or simply felt more exhausted as a result of unmanageable workloads and sky-high expectations. The move to remote or hybrid working has also contributed to this trend. Without effective management, remote employees may feel disconnected from their co-workers and their purpose at work, meaning they will naturally be inclined to mentally check out.

Of course, employers need to consider the impact this can have across both their team and the wider business, especially within a smaller organisation. So, how do you best address ‘Quiet Quitting’ in the workplace when you come across it? Complaining that the employee isn’t pulling their weight may seem like an obvious solution, but it is best to be understanding and address underlying issues contributing to the behaviour, to avoid the problem arising again in the future. Is your employee struggling with their workload and/or in need of more support? Is their work not challenging enough? Are they bored? Talk to them about the future plans of the business as well as the scope of their role and the expectations you have for them, this will help them to decide if it’s perhaps time to move on. Social team building events may also go a long way, allowing your employees and teams to re-connect more informally.

A 2021 Glassdoor survey found that over half of UK workers surveyed felt they had poor work-life balance. This statistic poses an insightful look into Britain’s working population, and how this factor may be intrinsically linked to mental health and quiet quitting.

A recent survey also identified that workplaces which promote an above average work/life balance experience a:

  • 35% decrease in presenteeism
  • 35% decrease in workplace distress
  • 20% increase in life satisfaction

One key thing to remember if that everyone works differently, so while some individuals will be happy to take on a little more, others will select to prioritise family life or other pursuits. A good employer should be able to accommodate all styles of working and help all employees to be productive to the best of their ability and willingness. Ultimately, you need your people happy for your business to succeed!