How to respond to ‘quiet quitting’ at work

by Aug 24, 2022

What is quiet quitting?

Leave it to TikTok to bring the latest catchphrase to the forefront of every headline — quiet quitting. It sounds like people are leaving their jobs without notifying anyone, right? Actually, the term “quiet quitting” means that you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond at work. According to a survey by Resume Builder, 1 in 4 workers subscribe to this concept — doing the minimum it takes to stay employed and keep your job. The two-word phrase also reveals that the younger workplace doesn’t identify with the same “hustle culture” that their predecessors embraced for many years. In short, work isn’t life — and it should have never been life in the first place.

Is quiet quitting bad?

So is the concept of ‘quiet quitting’ actually … bad? Or is it simply having healthy work-life boundaries? After all, 8 out of 10 cited ‘burnout’ as the reason they relate to quietly quitting. And according to some experts, the term only has a negative connotation due to the storied (haha) history of American workers glorifying the “always busy” mentality, so anything less is equated to quitting. Others believe that going the extra mile is fine … as long as you’re compensated.

Regardless of where you sit, #quietquitting has not-so-quietly entered work discussions, and many employers are trying to understand if it’s fine, a problem, and how to address it. Here at Sonic Boom, we believe in collaboration and teamwork, but we also believe in a healthy work-life balance that doesn’t require anyone to pick up the slack for others.

Address quiet quitting

If your employees seem stuck between quiet quitting and just plain laziness, here are some ways to keep your teams motivated at work:

Provide an engaging wellbeing program

Many of us spend 40 hours per week at the job, which is a solid chunk of time! Work should be about getting the work done, but it should also be about engaging with colleagues and getting to know one another — which translates to better productivity! Make it clear that employees are encouraged to interact with one another outside of Slack chats and Zoom calls. An enticing wellbeing program can make the worksite feel less bland and more exciting to head to.

Review company benefits

According to the same survey, 91% of workers could be incentivized to work harder. Although the number-one incentive desired was more money, 50% said more time off, and 40% cited better healthcare. If it’s within your budget to cut costs elsewhere to improve healthcare and PTO policies in 2023, it’s something to be considered.

Have productive conversations

Nearly half mentioned that their decrease in productivity hasn’t gone unnoticed by supervisors. Rather than coming down hard on those who may be doing less than before, talk to them like fellow humans. Ask questions. Address gaps, issues, and areas for improvement. Find out what specifically would excite them to put more effort into their duties.

Assess company morale

Those who identified with quietly quitting also identified with being less satisfied at work than the self-proclaimed overachievers. People who don’t feel motivated to do more are often the less satisfied as a result. Not shocking! At the end of the day, people want to be stimulated. Establish a “culture committee” at work to assess the overall morale, identify pain points, and work on solutions to combat those points. One solution? That engaging wellness program!

Set realistic, well-balanced expectations

We talk about under-achievers and overachievers, but what about just achievers? Is it terrible to do just your job — nothing more, nothing less? While having employees who step up to take on more is not discouraged, that doesn’t happen organically for every person who may have that potential. Make sure your teams know what’s expected of them and play to their strengths. The more people feel noticed, the more they want to stand out, and the more they’ll engage those strengths at work.

Embrace flexibility

Thanks to COVID-19 and the incoming workforce, flexibility has become a top request for many job seekers. How can you incorporate more of this into your workplace?

Be okay with ‘good enough’

Nothing sends people running faster than the expectation of perfectionism — which is an ideal, not a reality. If you’re never going to get it perfectly done, why bother at all? Instead, determine what ‘good enough’ means for your teams, and use that delineation to help encourage growth among your employees … without the pressures of them having to achieve a high standard that will never be reached.

Express gratitude

Many people may fall into ‘quiet quitting’ if they’re not receiving any form of acknowledgment, good or bad, for their work. If no one notices, why bother? Instead, express gratitude for the hard efforts of your team, and show them that not only do you appreciate them, but you also notice them. This holds them accountable to what they do and also encourages them to continue being a team player.

Of course, work is still a professional setting that deserves to be treated as one. On the other hand, we’re all human beings, too, that deserve to be treated like humans. It’s all about balancing both realities! If you need assistance in doing so, our wellness program can help.