Quiet Quitting - Is It a Real Thing, or Just a New Label for Old Behavior?
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Quiet Quitting - Is It a Real Thing, or Just a New Label for Old Behavior?

Quiet Quitting - Is It a Real Thing, or Just a New Label for Old Behavior?

Editor’s Note: “Quiet quitting” is a term that’s been bandied about plenty in the current employment crunch. Despite its presence in the news these past months, opinions about it are all over the map. Is it a real thing, or just a new name for what many dissatisfied employees have been doing since jobs (and teenagers) were invented?

Beneath the next headline is an in-depth take on the topic from Kilo Health, a digital health and wellness company based in Vilnius, Lithuania. Links to several more articles and perspectives follow the article – all in the hope that this information can help employers do a better job finding the people they need, when they need them, of course!

Quiet Quitting: 3 Ways to Enhance Employee Experience (by Kilo Health)

Following the pandemic, the Great Resignation marked a trend for large numbers of people to resign from their jobs. However, it is not an option for everyone. Many people have obligations such as loans to repay or medical insurance that is linked to their jobs. For them giving notice was simply not an option. Therefore, quiet quitting has become an alternative to resigning.

So what is quiet quitting? Why do so many employees see it as an option, and should employers worry about it?

Simply put, quiet quitting is taking a step back and evaluating your work effort. Essentially, you are determining whether you are going above and beyond for a company that is not reciprocating. This trend originated on TikTok and quickly spread through the news and social media. Commonly, the trend is described as:

  • Restricting work to “work hours” and not picking up tasks after this time.
  • Avoiding work calls and messages during vacations and time off.
  • Doing the designated work that was listed in the job description.
  • Unsubscribing from the hustle culture of going beyond any additional duties.

Overall, it is sticking to one’s job description and certain work hours and not stressing with job-related tasks outside of office hours.

“Quiet quitting might be a trend for employers to reevaluate workplace cultures and the happiness of their employees,” says Ausrine Cebatore, VP of Sales and Strategic Partnerships at Kilo Health.

Cebatore indicates that the most common “signs” of quiet quitting are simply healthy boundaries. No employer can expect their people to go above and beyond if they do not create a supportive environment for their people.

Coinciding with this, Gallup reported a drop in employee engagement in the U.S. from 36% in 2020 to 32% this year. A considerable proportion of this was observed among Gen Z and Millennials.

Why do employees quiet quit?

There are several reasons why employees lean toward quiet quitting.

For one, the pandemic brought in new concerns relating to workplace cultures. With many working remotely, hustle culture rose with a requirement to “show” productivity. As a result, many faced significant burnout. Additionally, employees had the added burden of home chores and childcare, which made professional lives a struggle.

The Gallup study also noted a 29% engagement for those who worked on-site compared with 37% engagement for those who had either worked remotely or with a hybrid schedule.

Cultures allowing work from home display respect and consideration for employee time and family. This was previously overlooked with the set work schedule. Additionally, many didn’t feel like workplace environments catered to their needs. Pay raises were scarce, especially following the pandemic.

Many also wanted more benefits outside of pay packages, such as wellness programs and accessible counselors.

How can employers enhance their company culture?

The primary concern raised by quiet quitting is the separation of employee work and personal life. People become exhausted and burned out when there are no clear boundaries, and many are ready to mentally check out.

Employers are encouraged to revamp workplace cultures to suit employee needs better. So, what are the simple changes that can favor higher engagement rates?

1. Invest in more than a paycheck

The CDC records that about 6 in 10 US adults have a chronic disease, such as heart disease or diabetes. Long work hours, increased stress, and minimal time to focus on health are contributors. Health, longevity, and the ability to enjoy life with one’s health intact are important for employees nowadays.

A McKinsey survey shows younger employees are likely to switch jobs for better health benefits. The health quotient of employees’ lives is becoming increasingly crucial in life-work balance.

“Employees expect more than just a salary from their places of work, especially if they are investing long hours,” says Cebatore. “Today, health benefits, which are more than just basic health insurance, are a must.”

2. Focus on employee mental wellness

Toxic workplace cultures were 10 times more likely to contribute to employee turnover than low salary packages. Workplaces that did not promote equity and diversity were at risk.

In addition, the hustle culture, by default, paved the path to increased burnout. A Deloitte survey noted that 77% of respondents recorded burnout at least once in their current job. In this survey, participants also felt their companies were not addressing their burnout sufficiently.

Both burnout and the lack of appropriate company culture are the main contributors to the poor mental well-being of employees.

“When employees are burned out, it is already too late,” says Cebatore. “To circumvent this, create cultures that foster overall health and wellness, including mental health.”

3. Encourage a life-work balance

Every employee expects different things from their workplace. While company culture and employee health are crucial, employers should routinely explore other facets of their workplace and culture that could be important to employees. For some, family, children, and education are more important; for others, professional growth, creativity, and greater opportunities play a crucial role.

Most employees feel the need to be more than just their job title. While the workplace should allow for this diversity of needs, free time from work and regular vacations assist with cultivating this individuality.

When employees note that their workplace encourages their time off, they are more likely to be productive during work hours.

“We are all people first, employees second. The workplace is not a family – it’s a community that helps us grow,” says Cebatore. “Productivity can only happen when we are getting inspired and value things outside of work.”

Future of employee-centric workplaces

Companies across the globe are looking into ways to benefit employees within their workplaces. The pandemic played a pivotal role in accelerating this trend, especially by introducing remote working models.

Employees who feel their companies care for them are more likely to trust and invest time in their work. Employers also should encourage employees to participate in the changes within work cultures. Together, more holistic workplaces can be created, recognizing the individual and not just a job.

Kilo Health is a leading digital health and wellness companies with 4+ million customers worldwide. The company offers 15+ innovative digital health products, and has 600+ employees with offices across five European cities. Visit their website to learn more.


Published: November 4th, 2022

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