The term “quiet quitting” went viral this past summer across both social media, and among top news outlets. Interestingly however, the conversations under this moniker had nothing to do with quitting at all, but rather, referred to certain employees who were choosing to meet only the minimum standards required in their jobs. They were simply choosing not to go above or beyond at work.
This was about not logging in or checking emails outside of work hours, not going the extra mile to impress anyone on the job and doing only what was absolutely necessary in their roles.
As you know, I own my own business, but I must confess to you – in June of 2021, I was feeling burn-out creeping into my life, and while I didn’t have this term at the time, I effectively “quiet quit” my own job!
For years, I used to commute to our BlueSky Personnel Solutions office and I spent way too much time in the car. Then, a few years before the pandemic hit us, our team transitioned into a full-time virtual work structure. Suddenly, I found new commute-free time in my day and I loved it.
But when the pandemic forced us to stay at home, I quickly fell into being more of a workaholic than I ever was before. Since I couldn’t travel, socialize, and go about my normal life, I fell into this routine of just exercising and working.
I felt I “had to work” since there was nothing else for me to do. In the summer of 2021, I went on vacation and that is when I recognized that I was feeling completely drained. I realized it was time for me to take a step back and not work as much.
I made a promise to myself that I would work my regular “core hours” and do what was necessary to maintain my business, while also preserving my sanity.
As a result, today, I’m grateful to say that I have much better work-life balance – despite the fact that I am still never completely away from my business.
While much hoopla around this novel term, quiet quitting, has commanded our attention, this concept has arguably been around for decades.
In many unionized environments, the common term used is: “Work to rule”. This is a form of collective protest meant to slow down organizational productivity and production.
In the case of quiet quitting, it appears much of the motivation in today’s workforce has stemmed from employees wanting to avoid burn-out. Often, quiet quitting actions call for greater work-life balance. Some employees do it as their way of protesting the fact that they may not feel recognized for their efforts at work. And that recognition can come in the form of monetary or gratitude-focused acknowledgment, or event feeling valued from the perspective of a company’s culture.
What can employers do to counter this growing trend of quiet quitting?
First, we must build a company culture that doesn’t glorify being “busy” for the sake of being busy, and one that doesn’t reward working over-time or after hours, as a sign of commitment to a job or company.
Productivity and business growth are not always tied to the sheer number of hours that an employee works. Creativity, innovation, and fresh thinking can often have significant impact on a company’s bottom line, and exhausted and potentially burned-out employees simply cannot deliver on new ideas for growth.
Second, and this is especially important in today’s hybrid working environments (having a mix of in-office and work-from-home days among team members), companies must be explicit in their expectations from employees in terms of outputs and business outcomes.
Today’s workforce productivity is often more about mindshare than simply time-worked in a job. Therefore, if employees receive clear communication on the expectations that are placed upon them in their roles from a productivity and outcome perspective, most workers will rise to that occasion. The key point for employers to note is, that we must set such goals for our staff with long-term sustainability in mind. That is the best strategy for any company’s bottom line.
Organizations who actively promote healthy work-life integration and balance will be able to retain their employees for longer, have a greater motivated workforce, and not have to deal with employee absenteeism due to burn out – and the business expenses that come with managing that.
One last thought on leadership in today’s quiet quitting environment: It is important to note that while I am always in a “work mode attitude,” I do not expect my team to do the same. In fact, I have always promoted and encouraged them to unplug at the end of the day. I believe that if a management team promotes work-life balance, there is a better chance for employees to follow suit, and to go on with their daily life once they are finished their workday.
For my own company, and for so many clients whom we serve, I’ve found that this approach promotes a happier and more motivated workforce. And this almost always leads to business growth too.
If you are seeking more work-life balance as you expand your team, and especially if you are in need of Bilingual/French talent, please give us a call, or email us today at: 416-236-3303, or by email at: [email protected]. We look forward to serving you!