In many offices (home set ups included), employees and managers alike are talking about the “great resignation”. New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has revealed the national turnover or ‘quit’ rate rose to 9.5% over the year to February 2022.
If you’re currently unhappy at work, but leaving your job isn’t an option, or there are no appealing alternatives, you may want to try “quiet quitting.” Trending on social media platforms such as TikTok, the movement of quiet quitting can be seen as a rejection of the hustle culture mentality, particularly for millennials and the Gen Z set.
‘Quiet quitters’ aren’t quitting their jobs, or slacking off at their jobs, but are those no longer going the extra mile and slogging away at work. Perhaps you have been doing unpaid overtime, working nights or weekends, or have become super-normally efficient, alongside your co-workers.
You may have gone through the pandemic and lockdowns with increasing workloads, stress and damage to mental health, but with stagnant or falling wages. As you keep working, and with no pay rise in sight, your work-life balance may be falling.
In response to this disappointment, a recent study by Deloitte found young people are increasingly seeking flexibility and purpose in their work, and balance and satisfaction in their lives. Many young professionals are now rejecting the live-to-work lifestyle, by continuing to work but not allowing work to control them.
Why is workforce shrinkflation coming?
Wage growth has not kept up with inflation, meaning workers have less purchasing power as we enter a cost-of-living crisis. This has become a significant issue in 2022, where inflation has soared, and wages have only increased marginally.
This pressure exacerbates an even greater problem when we consider 2020 and 2021. During these years, companies often kept pay unchanged, reduced pay, or increased employees’ workloads and extended them to long hours.
Employees are unsurprisingly pushing back against businesses that seem to be taking advantage of them. With wages decreasing, then the only way for workers to maintain their sense of wellbeing is to work less. Working at minimal capacity may feel alien, but you (and your employer) shouldn’t fear quiet quitting as it could be good for you both.
Working less is good for mental health
Studies have found that work-life balance is linked to mental health in a variety of ways. A 2021 survey of 2,017 UK workers found that over half felt they had poor work-life balance. Quiet quitting aims to restore balance where work has crept into your personal time.
The dangers of burnout
When things become overloaded, it can result in burnout. Many people with burnout end up taking time off work, or at least working at less than full capacity. Quiet quitting can create a better balance of work and personal life and so could protect against burnout before it happens.
Better work relationships
When people are feeling happy, they are more likely to be friendlier and open, fostering workplace friendships, which people report as being a significant part of their employment at work. Quiet quitting’s focus on only doing your job can also remove the negative impact of constantly feeling in competition with peers.
Quiet quitting could be a “great liberation” in response to the great resignation. People are rejecting overwork and burnout and choosing balance and satisfaction. They are establishing boundaries, so their identity and self-value is not tied to their work productivity.
Employers can look at this in a positive way as well. Instead of getting worried about loss of productivity, employers should take advantage of the quiet quitting movement to support the wellbeing of their staff. Encouraging a better work-life balance will communicate to workers that they are valued, leading to greater engagement, productivity, and loyalty.
The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/quiet-quitting-why-doing-less-at-work-could-be-good-for-you-and-your-employer-188617
University of New South Wales: https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/business-law/quiet-quitting-burnout-phenomenon-hitting-business