A work environment is an ever-evolving place; although its basic components remain constant through time, most of its features keep changing and adapting to the world around them. Not too long ago a global pandemic of modern times flipped the typical workplace picture enshrined in our minds and replaced it with bedroom offices and kitchen counter desks.
The workplace however is not the only evolution-prone aspect of the professional world, work culture and customs are also always in constant change that shape and mold themselves all around the globe. Although change is an inevitable aspect of the work arena, not all of it leaves a positive impact in its wake. Through the years, some hard-earned changes made the workplace better for generations to come while others put negative and counterproductive marks. And certain changes and adaptations leave debatable impacts splitting public opinion in half. While several changes come through the slow process of evolution and appear to stay, others occur as the after shake of a certain event and piggybacked on the fast and borderless shoulders of social media circle the globe in no time. Whether it simply placed a name tag on an age-old workplace tradition or pointed a finger at a new and upcoming phenomenon, one of these professional world waves that has these days taken the wide web by storm is ‘Quiet Quitting’. If you are a social media regular, chances are, you have recently seen this term being thrown around and shared, but what exactly is quiet quitting and what are its underlying implications in the world of corporates and professionals? Although the term paints a picture of a disgruntled employee getting up and walking out the back door of a corporate building never to be seen again, the concept depicts an idea quite to the contrary. Quiet quitting, is a term that is coined to describe a situation where an employee is right there where they are supposed to be when they are supposed to be, nothing more nothing less. It is the idea of getting to one work on time and leaving on time and carrying out tasks strictly within that contracted time frame. According to a Harvard Business Review article that aimed to explain the concept to concerned executives, quiet quitting is the neglect of what is referred to as “citizenship behaviors” where employees go above and beyond employment terms. It thus elaborates it as the lack of willingness to stay late, show up early or attend non-mandatory meetings for the sake of getting the “job done”. Managers were reported to demonstrate what stretched from acceptance and understanding to tendencies of quiet and sometimes very loud firing.
According to HBR, this might not seem like a problem at first glance. These workers aren’t abandoning their primary duties, they’re just not willing to go above and beyond them. However, a workforce that is prepared to go above and beyond the call of duty is a crucial competitive advantage for many businesses. Since most professions cannot be adequately described in a written job description or contract, employers must rely on their staff to rise to the occasion and take on additional responsibilities.
Thus, the idea that recently swept social media, particularly TikTok, has been the subject of intense debate and divided audiences on a number of fronts. Although some put a positive spin on what they claim is a new culture spreading through the post-pandemic work environment referring to it as a work-life balance, others look at it as an outcome of inefficient management with the potential to bleed the global economy at large. To yet another group the term is nothing more than a mere new name tag stuck to an old tradition as a certain number of the workforce has been living by it for several decades. However, whichever premises one might choose to buy into, the fact of the matter is this workplace reality has a certain impact on the implications that are felt throughout the professional world.
Can Quiet Quitting affect your work environment?
As an employer, hiring and keeping motivated and driven employees is goal number one. But hiccups to a smooth working environment are quite unavoidable and fairly frequent. According to the Washington post’s article that discussed expert opinions on the timely matter, quiet quitting should first of all be understood for what it is which is something much deeper than “setting boundaries”. The matter, as analyzed by the expert is an aftermath of the global pandemic which also reached our country and laid its dark marks leaving most employees frustrated and disgruntled questioning their entire social interactions. However, post-pandemic phenomenon or not it is safe to conclude that the person that sits quietly and leaves hurriedly has always been part of most office settings. And although the degrees might vary, the implications of actions or inactions are often felt throughout companies. The degree of the impact can then range from simply putting a damper on the team spirit of an office to an undue shift of burden and workload. As the concept of quiet quitting implies an employee who is not up to making the full effort to deliver their tasks, these tasks thus end up on the shoulders of those who are engaged with their responsibilities. The negative outcomes also stretch to the general image of a company as the employees of any organization are its forefront ambassadors who carry its brand and reputation. To have employees who carry the company in an uncaring, negligent manner is thus a damaging trait that would cost a company its image both towards prospective clients and incoming new employees. Ridding the workplace of counterproductive misfortunes like quiet quitting is thus a responsibility that rests upon two shoulders as both employees and employers play their fair share in creating a safe, healthy, and thriving workspace.