There is a trend that has been making headlines recently – ‘quiet quitting’. It refers to the notion of doing the bare minimum at work so as to have a better work-life balance, and has become popular with young people in particular. It’s not about slacking off but it IS about not going the extra yard i.e. not staying late, not offering to transport the boss’s kids to football practice and so on. Instead, these quiet quitters are doing just enough in the office to keep their jobs so that they can have a fuller life outside work. The pandemic has resulted in many people re-assessing their lives and priorities and, as a result, re-prioritising their work-life balance. Portugal has already formalised this with a law prohibiting employers from texting their staff after hours. It’s dubbed the ‘right to rest’ law and its intention is to support a more balanced lifestyle for its citizens.
Why is it important?
This is a rebellion against the global culture of overwork which has compromised the mental health of many workers over the years. Many employees have grown tired of work dominating their lives. They have grown accustomed to remote work and the flexibility that this has provided has opened their eyes to the possibility of a better work-life balance. This trend is important because it questions the traditional notion of working overtime to be successful. It suggests there is a new definition of success brewing, one where work-life balance is seen as of more value than committing more hours to work. Studies show that working less is better for mental health and avoiding burnout. Burnout is a major problem at the moment, such that the World Health Organization has classified it as an “occupational phenomenon” in its 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11).
What can businesses do about it?
The trend highlights the fact that there is a growing segment of society that wants better quality of life, one where work forms part of it instead of dominating it. Businesses should listen to this call and implement strategies that support the wellbeing of staff and their quest for work-life balance. Providing flexibility is one way of doing this, as it allows employees to structure their work around their lives instead of the other way round. It affords them more time for family responsibilities and hobbies for example and arguably leads to greater engagement at work, productivity, and loyalty. An employment trend in the news, the 4-day work week, would support the practice of quiet quitting. As it’s the younger generations, in particular, who are advocating for this lifestyle, employers should take heed of this when recruiting.
By Faeeza Khan
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Image credit: Yasmina H