Unpacking Quiet Quitting

Why did the “Great Engagement Project” backfire and become “Quiet Quitting”?

Quiet Quitting — the new buzzword in the world of workplace policy.

This is a snapshot of the opening footage of @zkchillin’s now famous quiet quitting video on Tik Tok.
TikTok video introducing “quiet quitting”

…if we’re going to accuse workers of quiet quitting, we should also acknowledge the phenomenon of “quiet firing,” in which employers avoid providing all but the bare legal minimum, possibly with the aim of getting unwanted employees to quit.

So why is this prosaic term kicking off such a controversy now? For several important reasons which are all related.

The Pandemic

What more effective way than a global pandemic to transform the way we work and live? In March 2020, millions of workers found themselves working “remotely” from home as a result of COVID-19. Millions more found themselves out of work — especially workers in hospitality, retail, personal service, child care and domestic work (and some never went back). At the same time, millions of essential workers continued to go to front-facing workplaces, and were more likely to be exposed to COVID-19, staffing shortages, and higher job stressors as a result.

Photo by Aaron Doucett on Unsplash

Worker Shortages = Worker Power

Along with “Quiet Quitting,” there has been actual quitting as workers leave jobs (and entire industries) for better pay or better working conditions. In late 2021, “The Great Resignation” found quit rates reaching a 20 year high.

Quiet Quitting vs. Engagement

We actually know very little about the prevalence of “quiet quitting,” partly because no one can agree on how to define it. A recent Gallup survey of 15,000 full-time and part-time workers found:

About half of US workers could be described as “quiet quitters.”

But Gallup defines “quiet quitters” as all those who are not actively engaged (32%) and also not actively disengaged (18%).

burnout isn’t due to a resiliency deficit — it’s a system issue.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash
10 Reasons Businesses Should Combat Chronic Work Stress infographic (healthywork.org)

Acknowledgments

We would like to acknowledge the contributions made to this article by our colleagues:

#healthy work #healthypeople

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