- ‘Quiet Quitting’ refers to demoralised employees doing the bare minimum at work
- Employment Hero research shows the pandemic hit young people’s motivation the most, with half (51%) saying it had “decreased the importance I place on my career”
- Almost two thirds (63%) of British workers have recently experienced burnout
- Just half (49%) thought their work-life balance was “good”
- Employers need to do more to make sure their workers feel valued and looked after, Employment Hero says
Research from HR, payroll, and benefits platform Employment Hero shows the “quiet quitting” craze is likely to have hit the British workforce earlier this year and employers need to be aware of the signs to better support employees.
Survey data shows British workplaces are a tinderbox for this new anti-work movement, as the pandemic has left employees feeling burnt out, with half of young people “decreasing the importance” they place on work.
“Quiet quitting” refers to the practice of checking out at work, doing the bare minimum required to not get fired – essentially a rejection of discretionary effort. It originated in a series of TikTok videos but grows out of the wider anti-work movement in Asia which the pandemic sparked.
A now-viral TikTok from @zkchillin sees him explain the idea.
“You’re still performing your duties but you’re no longer subscribing to the hustle culture and mentality that work has to be your life,” he said.
Another “quiet-quitter” on Reddit’s “antiwork” forum said he was being pressured into doing 55-hour weeks, made guilty for taking annual leave, and didn’t want to give up on so much time with his young family.
“My daughter deserves to have her dad, and my wife her husband. I work to live, I don’t live to work,” he wrote.
Employment Hero UK Head of Services, Charlotte Boffey, said the rise of quiet quitting represented a strong pushback against the encroachment of work into home hours, which became particularly acute during the pandemic across many industries, but was also supercharged by smartphones.
“After COVID people are re-evaluating their priorities, with our research showing over half of young UK workers saying the pandemic made them decrease the importance they place on their career.”
“For many years as technology has improved and made connectivity and working easier, it has also meant work has encroached into our personal lives more and more. With COVID we saw the absolute combination of work and personal lives.”
She said that going home on time should not necessarily be seen as “quiet quitting” and managers should not create an expectation of long hours.
“Completing your tasks on time and then heading home when work hours are over is not ‘quiet quitting’ – it’s good time management. And putting in place boundaries around work is key to prevent burnout.”
“Employees do not want to work significant amounts of overtime anymore, they want to bring their whole selves to work, to spend time with their families and they want flexibility.”
Managers should be keen for their employees to be engaged with their company’s mission and want to progress their career, however.
“Engaged employees are key to a well-run organisation. But for an employee to feel engaged, they must feel valued and like any extra effort they put in will be rewarded. Doing some research into exactly how your employees are feeling could go a long way to fixing any issues preventing engagement.”
Boffey offers some tips to managers who are worried they might see an outbreak of quiet quitting.
“Be proactive: Conduct some research into how employees are feeling with anonymised surveys.”
“Avoid the risk of burnout by making clear that long overtime hours are the exception, not the norm. If one employee seems to always be burning the midnight oil check they are not being given too much work – or if they are, check they have a good strategy to manage it well. Protecting your employees from burnout and fostering a sense of balance will see a boost in productivity.”
“Have regular one-on-one meetings scheduled with all of your direct reports to talk to them about how things are going, what they want in their career, and possible opportunities for advancement down the road. Their career should be a journey with exciting stops along the way.”
“This is especially important for remote workers, who may feel disconnected from the wide team.”