Is Quiet Quitting the New Way to Protest Hustle Culture?

“Winners Never Quit, and Quitters Never Win” – this well-known quote by Vince Lombardi is still a prevalent motivational saying in the workplace. This unsolicited advice from experienced folks may have some truth attached to it, but some say not at the expense of wellness, engagement, and true productivity.

The Great Resignation saw employees voluntarily leave their jobs in droves to pursue opportunities they felt better suited them for financial, health, or other reasons. A new phenomenon emerged in the workplace: ‘quiet quitting.’

Quiet quitting refers to employees doing just the bare minimum instead of going above and beyond for their employer. This recent trend is gaining popularity among those tired of the hustle culture that puts work at the center of life. Long working hours are praised and glorified, while taking time off is considered lazy. If you are not a hustler, you’re failing. But is it a silent protest of how we work or a defiance of working hard?

In this blog, we’ll explore quiet quitting, its impact on employees and employers, and whether it’s a response to hustle culture.

What is Quiet Quitting?

As a quiet quitter, you no longer subscribe to the hustle-culture mentality, the idea that work has to be your life and the end all be all. It’s mentally checking out of work and performing the bare minimum work to collect a paycheck. It’s a new label for an old concept – employee disengagement.

In a recent survey, 21% of workers said they were ‘quiet quitting,’ saying they only do the bare minimum, while 5% do even less than what they’re paid. 8 in 10 quiet quitters are burned out, and 1 in 10 employees put in less effort than six months ago. Half say this hasn’t gone unnoticed, and 1 in 3 who have reduced effort have cut back on hours spent working by more than 50%.

But it’s not just about disengagement. Quiet quitting can also result from reprioritization of work or quiet firing. As described on social media, quiet firing is when employers treat employees poorly to the point that they want to quit instead of the employer just firing them. Signs of quiet firing include reducing work hours, denied raises, no feedback, and lack of management.

Is Quiet Quitting a Response to Hustle Culture?

Hustle culture, called burnout culture, promotes the notion that success demands excessively long hours and neglecting self-care. It promises that dedicating all your attention to work can lead to limitless achievements. The current interpretation of hustle culture is an issue because it sets unrealistic standards for people of colour. “Rise and Grind” has historically been a survival tactic for marginalized communities rather than a path to wealth.

Recent studies show that employee engagement has drastically declined – only 21% of employees are actively engaged – and this shocking statistic tells us that 4 out of 5 employees could quit. This has led to a silent revolution against the hustle.

Many quiet quitters fit Gallup’s definition of being “not engaged” at work – people who do the minimum required and are psychologically detached from their job. Everyone else is engaged (32%) or actively disengaged (18%). The latter group is made up of employees who are not just disengaged but actively hostile towards their employer and their job.

In the context of hustle culture, quiet quitting is often a form of protest or a silent rebellion against the pressure to work constantly, often at the expense of one’s physical and mental health. It’s a way for employees to regain control over their lives and reclaim some balance between work and personal time.

Impact on Employees

The consequences of quiet quitting can be significant for employees. For one, they may feel guilty or ashamed about not being able to give their all at work, which can negatively impact their mental health. Additionally, if employers notice their lack of engagement, it could lead to disciplinary action or termination.

On the other hand, quiet quitting can also be a way for employees to protect their well-being. By prioritizing their personal time and setting boundaries around work, they may avoid burnout and achieve better work-life balance.

Impact on Employers

From an employer’s perspective, quiet quitting can have significant consequences. Disengaged employees are less productive, less creative, and less likely to stay with a company long-term. This trend could decrease morale, employee satisfaction, and even financial losses if left unchecked.

Furthermore, the signs of quiet firing can be easy to miss. An employer must pay attention to their employees’ needs and well-being to notice when someone is struggling or feeling mistreated. Otherwise, they could lose valuable employees who feel undervalued or unsupported.

How to Address Quiet Quitting

Both employees and employers need to take action to address quiet quitting. For employees, it’s essential to communicate with their employers and set boundaries around their work. This might mean being transparent about their workload or asking for more support. It’s also important to prioritize self-care and take time off when necessary to prevent burnout.

Employers should also create a healthy work environment that values work-life balance and employee well-being. Offer flexible work schedules, encourage breaks throughout the day, or provide mental health resources for employees. Additionally, leaders should proactively address signs of quiet firing and work to create a culture of trust and respect.

Quiet quitting is a growing trend in response to hustle culture, and it’s important to understand why. While it can be seen as a form of protest or a silent rebellion, it’s also a symptom of more significant issues around burnout, employee engagement, and well-being in the workplace.

To address quiet quitting, employees and employers must create a healthy work environment that values work-life balance and supports employee well-being. It’s time to recognize that success doesn’t have to come at the expense of our physical and mental health and that actual productivity can only be achieved when we prioritize our work and personal lives.