Millennials and Gen Zs are not only known to be tech-savvy but also of being assertive in their advocacies. As such, an advocacy that has been trending today is the “work-life balance” which is highly related to a phenomenon called Quiet Quitting. Essentially, Quiet Quitting is the conduct of doing what is being asked of you at work (i.e., aligning with your job description, and not going above and beyond those demands and expectations). Some examples of quiet quitting are only doing work on official work hours, taking regular breaks and vacation leaves, reducing contributions at work, giving what is required and not going beyond superiors’ demands, and not interacting with colleagues (virtually or in-person) outside office hours.
Quiet Quitting happens when employees have strict working hours and roles that restrict them from the freedom to use their skills and talents in order to grow. This has become a hot topic across social media platforms (i.e. TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter) as young professionals share their sentiments regarding work-life balance. Young professionals today are focused on taking care of themselves by prioritizing their needs rather than exhausting themselves with work. They are vouching for having this kind of balance in order to have better performance and live a better life. However, not everyone can apply the work-life balance in real life and might be more inclined toward Quiet Quitting.
The Classes and Conflict
With all the hustle and bustle that’s going on with remote and hybrid work setups, there seems to be little time left for other things. Specifically, professional and personal roles do not have solid boundaries as before since everything can be done at home. Due to the blurring of such boundaries, friction arises between professional and personal life.
There are different levels of Quiet Quitting. As mentioned earlier, some go extreme by slacking off and just doing the bare minimum for their salary. Another type of quiet quitter implies that they are laying low for a bit by only contributing what is being asked and aligned with their job description. Last but not least is the type that communicates to their supervisor about their limitations and possible personal problems that they may be struggling with.
The reason behind Quiet Quitting is not because people hate their jobs per se, but because people disagree with the idea that their work consumes most of their time and that they neglect to enjoy their lives. In other words, the intention behind Quiet Quitting is to not only show up at work but also show up for themselves in all aspects of their lives.
Quiet Quitting is not a new phenomenon. In the past, it’s been known as coasting and checking out. However, what makes the current context different is that it’s aligned with the Great Resignation. The pandemic has made working conditions more stressful and risky due to unsafe working conditions and strict work policies. Workers then came to realize how demanding and limiting their jobs were. Although a lot of people have been literally quitting their jobs or have been cut off due to retrenchment, there’s also a group of people that want to keep their job and while still having time for other things. The pandemic has caused people to think about what really matters to them, and it takes a lot of energy to accept these realizations. Work may be important, but there are other aspects of life that are just as important.
On the Conduct of Quiet Quitting
There are many forms of Quiet Quitting and it may be more relative for each person, as long as the action fits the essence mentioned, an employee may be undergoing quiet quitting. Quiet Quitting is not the best solution to one’s problems as it may negatively impact both the company and the individual’s well-being. As such, here are some tips for both the workplace and the individual to help prevent and address quiet quitting:
Ways to Prevent Quiet Quitting in the Workplace:
Listen to your employees
Employees are a vital part of a company’s success. Some companies are not open to hearing out their employees' concerns and ideas which will make the employees feel useless and unwanted. Listening to your employees will benefit the company by having more engaged and innovative individuals who want nothing but the best for the company. Listening to employees about their concerns and ideas will allow the workplace to have an environment where there is a safe space for everyone to excel, exchange ideas, and to strive for endless possibilities.
Recognize each employees’ achievements
One of the reasons why people tend to lean towards quiet quitting is because they do not feel as if their efforts are appreciated by the company. Thus, they no longer strive for growth but to simply do what they are asked of. Giving recognition in even small wins can greatly encourage and inspire employees to do well with their roles and even become more open to growth and opportunities.
Support employees’ wellbeing
Having a safe and healthy workplace helps employees grow and strive for success. Companies who give great importance in prioritizing their employees well-being excel more than others. This is because employees are able to see and appreciate how their employers take care of them. Companies who practice this see how their employees are such a vital part for the success of a company and what better way to make them feel appreciated than to prioritize each employee’s well-being.
Employers should be conscious of what roles and deadlines they hand to their employees. Excessive pressure and workloads may hinder individual’s from having time to rest or even eat. Setting out clear boundaries is important in order to have a clear agreement regarding the number of hours and tasks the employee is expected to complete.
Ways to Address Quiet Quitting in the Workplace:
Create a safe space to communicate with your employees one of the ways to alleviate the reasons quiet quitting
Asking ‘Why’ is the first step in trying to fix this problem. This lets employers know the reason for the employees’ lack of motivation, then proceed to address the issues and hopefully work out solutions where the employees would be more eager to contribute again. The employees themselves may also feel more in-control of their lives and limits in the workplace.
Learn to compromise
Of course keeping your employees happy is the simplest explanation to both prevent and fix quiet quitting; however it is also equally important that you, the employer, are happy with the newly modified policies both parties agreed upon. It’s also not good if the employer would simply say ‘yes’ to everything their employees want; which could in turn negatively impact the business and the employer themselves.
Undergo an evaluation
Sometimes, the reason why employees no longer have the willingness to grow and excel in their job is because of the way the company handles different scenarios. By undergoing evaluations, employees can anonymously and freely express their concerns, suggestions, and comments about the company. This will allow the company to fix such a system for the betterment of not only the employees but also the whole company.
Ways to Prevent Quiet Quitting as an Individual:
Be flexible and efficient in your work.
While it is important for the workplace to establish reasonable boundaries, it is equally important for the individual to have their own boundaries as well. However, these shouldn’t be very strict boundaries wherein you need to accomplish a certain number of tasks by a set deadline. Instead, boundaries should be based on one’s well-being at the time. For example, you put more effort into your work when you feel productive and less when you’re not. Boundaries should also be considered when taking on tasks and projects. You need to carefully choose what tasks you take on as taking too many can be very taxing. By setting proper boundaries, you can reduce stress and exhaustion while also doing your work more efficiently.
Take time to reflect
Even if you try to set a proper work-life balance or stay properly engaged in your work, you may still feel unsatisfied with your job and what you’re doing. At these times, it is important to take time for yourself to think and refocus your energy. This time may not only be used for rest but also to reflect on you and your work. For example, you may ask “why do you feel unhappy and burnt out from work?” or “how can I re-engage myself with my work?”. Answering these questions can help you protect your well-being and make the right choices regarding your career.
Talk to your boss
If your work or your company is demotivating you and stressing you out, it’s important to talk to your boss about it. As the one’s overseeing the country, your boss and the higher ups are in control over the working conditions and policies potentially affecting how you do and feel about your work. It is worth it to converse and give feedback to your employers to not only improve your work experience but also the experience of present and future employees.
Although most people’s lives are spent working, there should be enough time to spend on essential matters such as relationships with family, friends, and of course with oneself. Mindset shifts may be necessary, and people who quietly quit may find this as a time to reignite their passion and be able to control that fire so they can be engaged at work again.
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