Quiet quitting has recently splashed across the news media over the last few months. Quiet quitting and its numerous spinoffs can also be found on social media and human resource news (The School of Positive Psychology).
A lot of these media sources have taken the side of businesses to lay the blame at the feet of the workers, rather than the work environments. Business like Amazon move heaven and earth to squash workers’ Unions and force employees to pee into bottles. The most they’ll do is weaponising wellness ideas as a slap in the face gesture to show they “care”. If they actually cared, they’d change the work environment to a more healthy one.
What Is Quiet Quitting?
According to Huffington Post, quiet quitting is how people explain why they’re not doing more than the bare minimum to stay employed. When quiet quitting, people are deciding to not work late, to give up on the work hustle culture, and not seeking out extra work (Psychology Today). What often gets forgotten or deliberately misstated about quiet quitting is the fact that people are still working to the letter of their employment contacts (Huffington Post).
Quiet quitting isn’t unjustified. It’s a wellbeing movement, and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Most problems in our lives can be put down to our poor work/life balance. We’re overworked, underpaid, and treated as expendable. It was inevitable that people were going to say enough is enough. There’s no reason why anyone should work more than they’re contracted to do and what’s within their role description.
Quiet Quitting And Wellbeing
One of the biggest complaints I hear from people as a therapist is that their workload is too big and that they have a poor work/life balance as a result. The problem is, businesses will try to work with the least amount of people to maximise profits. Which means it doesn’t take much for employees to become overworked. Then, to make matters worse, they’ll often downsize further, expecting the remaining employees to pick up the slack of the employees they got rid of.
According to Gallup, who track employee engagement trends, they found that 15% of Americans were disengaged from work. The reason for this was down to miserable work experiences and poor management. If organisations want to help keep their employees engaged, then they need to clarify expectations, create opportunities for development, and show that their opinions count. These simple things help make employees excited about their work and keep them engaged. However, companies don’t often choose this approach.
For most businesses, you’re easily replaceable, so they’ll work you as hard as they can. Knowing that you’re replaceable at work, that you’re being taken for granted, will destroy employees’ confidence, depleting their motivation and energy (The School of Positive Psychology).
Ironically, the savings they think they’re making from having a skeleton crew aren’t as big as the loss of productivity from having a skeleton crew. That’s the problem when you focus on short-term growth. You need to be seen to be growing constantly.
Then there’s the problem with wages. Since the so-called “baby boomers”, generations afterwards have seen their wealth and buying power plummet. As is often the case, if inflation is at 8-9% and you’re not getting a raise or getting a raise below the rate of inflation, then in reality, you’re getting a pay cut (Huffington Post). Money really doesn’t go as far as it used to.
Companies would rather spend sizeable sums of money on “perks” like sponsored trips and sleep pods (The School of Positive Psychology). Pods that you’ll likely be frowned upon for using. They’ll do pretty much anything but the things that would actually be useful for their employees. Pay us a decent wage and treat us like we matter.
What’s the point in working above our contracted requirements if there’s nothing to gain from doing so? It’s perfectly healthy to set boundaries, not just with people, but with work, and quiet quitting is a work boundary (Psychology Today). Quiet quitting is a healthy rebalance of the work/life balance (Huffington Post). Work is stressful enough, so why add to it by working more for nothing in return?
What Could Organisations Do?
According to The School of Positive Psychology, if organisations want to retain employees, they don’t even have to throw money at the problem. All they need to do is show their appreciation. Feeling valued, appreciated, and ‘seen’ will motivate employees to want the organisation to succeed. Simply put, make them feel part of the family.
However, I’d argue that paying a decent wage is also important. If you’re struggling to keep a roof over your head, it’s hard to care about your place of work, no matter how appreciated they may make you feel.
How To Prioritise Your Wellbeing At Work
As previously stated, workplace boundaries are important. But they can be hard to implement at work because it’s a different situation from your friends and family. You can have long, in-depth conversations about boundaries in your personal life, but you often can’t do that with your manager. So what can you do? Well, according to the Huffington Post, there are a few things you can do.
Say a coworker asks you to do a task for them, but you don’t have the time to do it, you can say “I’m sorry, I’m unable to help you with this right now”. Should you wish to, you can then negotiate to complete their request at a later time, change the scope of the task, or refer them to another colleague who could help.
If it’s your manager making a request of you, then you may find it easier to deny their request by presenting them with a solution at the same time. The solution could be to ask to have a meeting about this so you can prioritise your workload or workshop alternative solutions.
Just remember, your wellbeing matters.
Depending on where you consume your news, you’ll either be familiar with quiet quitting as a movement to reclaim your work/life balance because you’re not being paid enough. Or, you’ll see it as young people ruining the workplace status quo. If you’re like me, then you would have come across both and everything in-between. Whatever your thoughts are, you can’t deny that the vast majority of people don’t get paid enough, and often have to claim benefits while working to get by.
But more than that, why should anyone, no matter your position or your pay packet, work more than they’re being paid for? Why are people expected to work for free or have a workload that should be spread between more than one person?
Don’t work yourself into an early grave for a company that would replace you in a heartbeat. Take care of your wellbeing at work. You only have one life, don’t live it in a constant state of work stress. Now, before anyone says it, I know you don’t always have a choice about where you work. But if you have options, seek them out.
And if you go looking for a new job, you might want to ask your potential employer what their staff turnover is when you reach the questions stage of the interview. This will give you an idea of how overworked the employees are, and how it’ll affect your work/life balance.
As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, please share your experiences with being overworked or quiet quitting in the comments section below as well. Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up for my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications for new articles by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom right corner.
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Unwanted Life readers.