There’s no doubt about it, employees across the country are pulling back at work.
Labor productivity is slowing this year, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The government agency comes up with this measurement by taking output per hour and dividing that number by an index of all the workers — paid and unpaid.
While this measurement increased to modest 0.3% in the third quarter, it’s not enough to make up for what was lost in the first half of the year. After a 7.4% decline in Q1, productivity in the second quarter dropped another 4.1%, says the BLS.
It’s yet another blow for employers struggling to keep employees engaged. First, there was the “great resignation.” And now there’s quiet quitting.
Quiet quitting, a workplace trend that’s been sweeping the nation, isn’t necessarily about leaving your job. Instead, it refers to simply doing the bare minimum. The term has been going viral on social media — particularly on TikTok.
Should you jump in on the trend?
The trend has already started
Quiet quitting is in stark contrast to the hustle culture — the “go-getter” mentality that promotes consistently overperforming and exceeding expectations.
Although quiet quitting is a relatively new term, a large number of workers are doing it already.
According to a ResumeBuilder.com survey of 1,000 working Americans in August, 21% of respondents say they only do the bare minimum. Another 5% say they do even less than what they’re paid to do.
The trend of quiet quitting is also shown in the amount of time people put into their work. In the survey, one-third of respondents say they’ve reduced their weekly work hours by more than 50%.
Zaid Khan, the 24-year-old software developer and musician behind that popular TikTok video, explains why he’s no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality.
“Overworking only gets you so far in corporate America,” he says in an interview reported by Bloomberg. “And like a lot of us have experienced in the past few years, mental and physical health really takes a backseat to productivity in a lot of these structured corporate environments.”
In the ResumeBuilder survey, 83% of respondents who do the bare minimum say they are “definitely” or “somewhat burned out.”
Finding a balance between work and life is another big reason for the rise of quiet quitting.
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“Some employees no longer feel connected to their work or workplace and have a much stronger desire to focus their attention on their families and personal lives,” says career strategist and coach Stacie Haller. “With this shift in priorities, you see less willingness to engage in ‘hustle culture.’”
Of course, there are several obvious downsides to the trend.
While acknowledging that people unhappy with their current job situation probably don’t want to go above and beyond at work, Haller says that quiet quitting “isn’t productive.”
“It would be better for disenchanted employees to speak with their managers about how to improve their current situation or to work with a job search coach to start looking for a more exciting opportunity,” she suggests.
Investment mogul and Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary is another critic, and calls quietly quitting “a really bad idea.”
“People that go beyond to try to solve problems for the organization, their teams, their managers, their bosses, those are the ones that succeed in life,” he explains on CNBC. “People that shut down their laptop at 5, want that balance in life, want to go to the soccer game, 9 to 5 only, they don’t work for me.”
Only time will tell if the new trend of quiet quitting is here to stay or will fade away.
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