“Quiet Quitting”: What Does This New Career Trend Mean?

Young professionals work with less enthusiasm while refusing to stay in the office till late and to help colleagues in their personal time. The new trend is called “quiet quitting”. It does not mean that a person actually quits the job, but they stop being involved in work, performing only compulsory tasks and leaving work on schedule.

In the US and worldwide, the quiet quitting trend is gaining momentum. The “quiet quitter” does enough to keep up with the work schedule, but when leaving the office, turns off work messengers and leaves unfinished tasks until the next day. Experts explain the low engagement of employees with a pandemic and a reassessment of values: many have stopped pursuing career growth and have realized the value of personal time.

How the trend began

1. Mass layoffs
The “quiet quitting” trend started with reports about record high stress and layoffs in the US. The reasons were emotional burnout and overtime work from home with closed offices. In the first 10 months of 2021, US residents signed nearly 39 million resignation applications – the highest number since the count began in 2000. Managers can’t handle the employees’ reassessment of values and offer them anything suitable to boost morale.

2. Silent protest
For those who are not yet ready to quit and lose their earnings in unstable times, “quiet quitting” has become a way out. A video using the term and promoting the idea that “work is not your whole life,” was first posted by TikTok user @zaidlepplin. It has become incredibly popular and received almost half a million likes.
The movement also took off on Chinese social media in August, where the hashtag #tangping, which means “lying flat,” was promoted. It was used as a protest against the overtime work culture.
The essence of the idea of “quiet quitting” is to treat work simply as an activity for which money is paid, not to invest too much in it and focus on activities outside the office: hobbies, family and outdoor recreation.

Why Employees Do Not Want to Engage In Work
According to a 2022 Gallup survey, work engagement is declining globally, with only 21% of employees now engaged. There are two reasons why this is happening.

1. Stress
In 2020, employees experienced record levels of stress at work. In 2021, it has become even higher. This year, an average of 44% of employees admitted to having experienced a lot of stress the previous day. In 2019, there were 38% of them.
According to the ADP Research Institute, 67% of workers in Europe, Latin and North America, and Asia-Pacific this year said they experience stress at work at least once a week. During to the pandemic, their number was 62%.

2. Reassessment of values
The pandemic and remote working with extra hours seem to have changed the values and priorities of many people. They kind of started to feel their mortality and to ask existential questions about the meaning of life and the correspondence of work to their values.
After a couple of years of “home office” when it was difficult to set boundaries between work and personal life, employees made a choice in favor of time with the family, rather than overtime tasks. Many are tired of not receiving recognition and compensation for extra work, while others have decided to separate their careers from their personalities.
After years of “achievement” and “success” ideas, office workers began to realize that they were more than their job. Of course, this has not happened to everyone, but the trend has already been outlined.

Effective Ways That Help Keep the Team in Good Shape and Prevent “Quiet Quitting”

1. Introduce OKRs (Objectives and Key Results):
Short term objectives that align with business goals and adjust as priorities change. They’re easier to track, so you can assess performance more accurately. And employees understand where their contribution fits, even when the focus changes. So they commit to the company goals and invest in delivering the right things.

2. Give the ability to change priorities:
Surprises can spoil our plans: the political situation in the country, new market trends, layoff of best talents. All this knocks down the original scenario, and forces you to make adjustments and shift priorities. If you do not do this, but continue to insist on your own, the team will fight over a goal that is no longer relevant or impossible to achieve. This demotivates employees: they will not see the point in their work and will burn out. Therefore, make priorities “flexible” so that they can be changed depending on the situation.

3. Clearly define the list of responsibilities:
Nobody likes to work in chaos. When an employee has to grab onto a dozen different tasks that do not belong to his area of responsibility, their attention is scattered and they get tired faster. In order for people to be comfortable working, they must clearly know their functions and the end result that is expected of them. Then they can focus on their tasks and stop doing the work for others.

4. Make your work schedule more flexible:
According to The Washington Post, American companies, even after the lockdown, left the opportunity for employees to work remotely when necessary, or take paid days off. This reduced the risk of burnout by 36%. Most of the days off and “remote days” people take on Friday, when the strength is at its limit. But on Monday they go to the offices rested and ready to work.

5. Communicate to employees that it is important to strike a balance between work and leisure:
If employees have access to work chats from personal computers or smartphones, this forces them to work overtime, at night, and even during vacations. Work does not let them go around the clock, so after the weekend they return tired.
Explain to the team that it is not necessary to work 24/7. You need to relax and have hobbies. And on weekends and on vacation, it is advisable to turn off notifications for all work chats. For this to take root in the team, senior leaders themselves must set an example and not disturb the team after hours.

6. Hold one-on-ones:
One-on-meetings with employees helps assess their level of their motivation and the risk of burnout of in the team. Perhaps the level of workload on the employee is too high and needs to be reviewed, or the manager puts a lot of pressure on the person, and this is morally exhausting, or he/she has not been on vacation for a long time.
It also helps to relieve tension after work sports. You can organize a corporate discount for visiting the gym or group classes. Or hold an active team building outdoors or in a quest room.

7. Do weekly plannings
Get employees to create a work plan for the week. This will help you see who is overloaded and who is resting at work, and evenly distribute the load. Proper allocation of resources will not only prevent team burnout, but also eliminate chaos, optimize the business process and speed up tasks.
In addition, planning will help reduce the number of burning deadlines to almost zero. So, maintaining a balance between work and personal life will not be so difficult.