If you have watched television or been on the internet in the past few weeks, you've probably heard of the term "quiet quitting." The term, coined by TikTok user @zaidlepplin has now become one of 2022's new buzzwords and is being discussed at news desks and water-coolers alike. Many people have responded favorably to the idea of "quiet quitting" and others- especially employers- have rankled at the concept, but what is it exactly?
What is "Quiet Quitting?"
Is it possible to imagine a workplace culture in which doing only what your job description requires is sufficient? A work-life where there is no need to go above and beyond to impress your boss?
Workplace culture has changed dramatically since the pandemic, resulting in a mindset that values life outside of the office more than trying to be the shining star at work. This mindset and value shift is leading many to start engaging in what has been termed "quiet quitting."
Although "quitting" is in the name, quiet quitting has nothing to do with actually giving notice and leaving one's job. It means doing only what is required of you- putting in the hours you are required to work and fulfilling only the job description that you signed up to do. It means putting an end to any extra activities you are doing, not volunteering for any added tasks. Showing up for work and actually working is still important, but you stay within the boundaries of your job requirements. This means no projects outside the scope of your job and not being chained to your email after business hours.
This idea isn't new- there are a lot of people who have been doing this for decades, but for some people, the pandemic really shone a light on what is important to them. And for many, it turns out what is important is not their job title, gaining favor with bosses, or moving up the ladder as quickly as possible. It seems that many are wanting to create a better work/life balance than they've enjoyed in the past. The TikTok influencer @zaidlepplin who made the idea of quiet quitting a viral concept made the statement that "work is not your life," which resonated with many, especially younger generations who are coming of age in an uncertain time. Some workers have begun to wonder when devoting most of one's time to one's employer, even outside of work hours, became commonplace behavior.
Reactions have not all been positive, however. Although there are many who believe that workers shouldn't feel a compulsion to go above and beyond for their jobs (many of which they feel are taking advantage of workers and not adequately compensating them for doing this), others have balked at the idea and call it lazy. They are concerned that people seem to care less about the work that they're doing and are simply slacking off.
What does the quiet quitting trend mean for businesses and the labor market?
The quiet quitting trend is a sign that workers are increasingly unhappy with their jobs and are looking for new opportunities. This trend is bad news for businesses, as it means that they are losing good employees. The labor market is also becoming increasingly competitive, which makes it difficult for businesses to find qualified workers.
The quiet quitting trend is also a sign of the growing gig economy. More and more workers are choosing to freelance or work part-time, instead of working full-time for one employer. This trend is also bad news for businesses, as it means further difficulty finding full-time employees for their businesses.
The idea of quiet quitting is also a sign of the changing nature of work. Many workers see jobs as a necessary evil- a place where they can earn money to be able to do what they really want to do outside of work. It's a stark difference from workers years ago, who stuck with their companies for decades- some earning a gold watch and a pension at the end of their tenure. With the rise of technology, many jobs are online and workers don't necessarily feel an allegiance to their employer. They might have several jobs throughout their lifetimes. Businesses are finding that they have to invest in new technologies to stay competitive and to attract workers who often don't want to report to an office.
Whether you agree with the idea of quiet quitting or not, the labor market is changing and businesses need to change with it. Companies need to look at their business models and their management styles. They need to look at supporting workers as whole people with lives outside of the office. If they don't, they risk losing good employees and falling behind in the competition for qualified workers.
Romesa Umar is a content marketer and has worked in niches across the industrial and e-commerce spectrum. She lives a life of adventure, family, music and good food.