When 24-year-old Zaid Khan, a software engineer, and musician in New York posted his quiet quitting video on TikTok, little did he know he was going to be a rage on the Internet and even appear on Al Jazeera. He became the face of the “Quiet Quitting” movement that caught the fancy of Gen Z. Many publicly supported him and even declared him an inspiration.
Quiet Quitting is not new to the business world. Claims are that it started in China after protests of working long hours, #tangping, gained popularity.
What is Quiet Quitting
Quiet Quitting is not about quietly resigning but, more of someone refusing to work beyond their said written and agreed to a job description. Refusing to take up additional responsibilities or meeting tight deadlines by burning the proverbial midnight oil and not succumbing to work pressures is what Quiet Quitting really means. As Zaid Khan in his video says, “Work is not your Life”.
The working-class Gen Z employees were inspired to follow Zaid Khan by limiting themselves to their respective tasks and avoiding longer working hours.
Why Quiet quitting is gaining acceptance
With Gen Z experiencing severe post-pandemic blues, the desire to maintain a work-life balance has become the top priority for them. It has led them to avoid burnout and fully insist on doing only the work that is in their job description and nothing more which, undeniably, does provide a sense of peace to the employee. Another resounding factor that spurred this trend was the Great Resignation movement that saw millions of Americans quitting their jobs overnight citing pandemic blues and a desire for a better life. In the modern workplace, employees are increasingly making it a priority to leave work at their desks after regular working hours and focus on their personal life and activities.
Is Quiet Quitting a good culture
Quiet Quitting is a precursor to either employee experiencing burnout or those that are ready for a job change from the current jobs that they hold.
Other reasons that could attribute to this new trend is a lack of growth in current jobs, low salaries, lack of recognition, appreciation, etc.,
A 2022 Anatomy of work report by Asana states that 7 out of 10 employees experienced burnout last year. They further state, that these very employees are generally less engaged in their work, tend to make more mistakes, and chances of them leaving the company are far higher when compared to others.
The craving for appreciation, support, and praise by managers has also reduced with employees feeling less valued.
Adding fuel to the fire are the wages or salaries that have not caught up with the runaway inflation and soaring prices across the world. Salaries have remained by and large the same with minor hikes begrudgingly offered.
Gen Z employees in turn wonder if their paycheck equates to the hard work they put in. Many see a huge mismatch in this regard, giving way to dissatisfaction and constant question about their value in the workplace
Though the factors that go into quiet quitting need to be addressed, management coaches and human resource professionals feel one need not go to this extent by just “going with the flow at your workplace. Performance and salaries are structured to reward the employee who consistently overperforms and not the one who just does what is expected of them.
It will impact employees’ appraisals if any employee just does the bare minimum work, points out an expert.
Managers are also affected
Unsurprisingly, it is not only the employees who suffer the effects of quiet quitting but, managers do too for they have to bear the brunt of employees on a quiet quitting mode.
With just minimum work being done by a quiet quitter, performance targets and deadlines are pushed behind schedule leaving everyone struggling.
What managers can instead do to curb ‘’quiet quitting’’ is understand the needs and wants of an employee.
A research paper by Bright Network states that Gen Z gravitates towards quality and experience at the workplace; a majority choose an employer who remains committed to Diversity and Inclusion, employee mental wellbeing, and reducing environmental impact, while some also look at how much contribution goes towards charitable projects.
Whether this would stop the rot from clawing its way to the roots remains to be seen.
What can be done to stem the rot?
In this case, experts should encourage the management teams to engage with their employees, asking them to talk more. Employees should be encouraged to voice their concerns, address their issues (work related), and suggest a balanced workload to ease the pressure.
The second step is to introduce a work-life balance with an emphasis on practicing yoga or meditation either at home or in the workplace. For example, Yoga sessions thrice a week may leave the employee calm and more focused on their work.
You could also set realistic goals, guide them, and make them understand what more can be achieved within a time frame that is agreed upon mutually.