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Quiet Quitting: What Is It, and How Can You Prevent It?

Welcome back to the Pathway Blog! We’re here this month with a hot topic: Quiet Quitting.

Have you heard this term out in the wild yet? It’s certainly controversial! Many people feel validation, even a sense of freedom in it, some feel indignation toward those practicing it, and others feel like it shouldn’t even be a term at all. 

How do we feel about it? Well, let’s dig in and find out!

What in the world is “Quiet Quitting?”

Before we explore this phrase, let’s settle on a definition! According to a recent New York Times article, quiet quitting is defined as, “you’re not outright quitting your job, but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond.” This quote comes from one of the originators of the phrase and does a pretty good job of encapsulating the idea. 

If you’re quiet quitting, you’re not quitting your job, you’re just not taking on more than what you’re being paid for. 

What’s going on here?

It’s easy to see how someone could quickly fall into a heated debate on this topic. Many people believe that “going above and beyond” is simply a sign of a good work ethic, of an upstanding work citizen, focused on the greater good. 

Others cite the negative effects this mentality has on workers — that the pressure to meet unclear (and sometimes unattainable) expectations at work can have negative effects on their physical and mental health. 

As for how we feel about it? Well, here at Pathway, we’d rather look past the act of quiet quitting and think about how we can remove the cause of it in the first place!

Remember: The people working for you are people.

We know you hear this from us a lot, but so many workplace problems can be worked through and solved by including empathy in your practices, protocols, and structures. In addition to empathy, it’s also important to take a look at the expectations of your staff — are they realistic and achievable?

There are many ways out there to prevent or combat the need for quiet quitting, but these are a few of our favorites:

Assess your staff’s workloads for sustainability.

Being excessively busy for an extended amount of time can take its toll on an employee, and is a state that isn’t sustainable forever. Take a look at your staff and their workloads — is anyone consistently having to put in overtime in order to meet their goals? This could very well be a red flag, and could quickly lead to losing a high-value employee to burnout.

Take a look at your “after-hours expectations.”

One of the biggest reasons for “quiet quitting” is a discrepancy between compensation and the amount of effort an employee is putting forth, especially after work. Many employees feel pressure to answer work emails or communications well past the end of their workday. It’s important to make sure your staff knows the difference between an after-hours emergency and something that can wait until the next day.

Where is employee well-being on your list of priorities?

In this modern workforce, employees are being more vocal as they advocate for their mental and physical well-being. It’s important to take a look at where that factors into your priorities and assess whether or not some changes need to be made. Are breaks encouraged, or simply tolerated? Are employees coming to work sick for fear of falling behind? 

Again, there are so many approaches to this topic, but there’s one thing we’re very sure of: your greatest asset is your human capital, and operations always run more smoothly when those humans feel supported, valued, and seen.