Quiet quitting | Main Region | AS

Why quiet quitting is more than just a trend

an employee relaxing and working from their bed on the laptop

Just a TikTok trend, or a deeper reflection on how the next generation are viewing what we collectively term as ‘work’?

“Quitting the idea of going above and beyond.” That’s the ideology of ‘quiet quitting’, a term that has gained traction recently on TikTok, encouraging workers to reject the hustle culture and reset healthy boundaries around their work and life. The subject has resonated with this new generation of workers, with the video amassing over 2.8 million views and more than 4000 comments to date, however it’s not a new concept at all.
After spending the past two years making our way through multiple lockdowns, we know that burnout is an issue for many. Created by a mixture of remote work, lockdowns and not being able to head overseas for holidays or to visit friends and family, many have been considering what’s really important to them and taking steps to put up boundaries between work and life. A line that’s been seemingly permanently blurred by our newly adopted working habits.


“To quote one of my favourite poets, David Whyte, "The antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest... the antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness". One way we can all be wholehearted at work is to reimagine our work and crafting it in more meaningful way. Research evidence on ‘job crafting’ suggests that all workers are capable of proactively reshaping the boundaries of their job and relationships at work to cultivate meaningful work. It could be as simple as making small changes to your work schedule and activities, developing new skills, nurturing relationships at work, and finding ways to support your wellbeing at work. Of course, rest and recovery are essential so leaders and workplaces should support and facilitate employees to practice self-compassion at work,” says Laramie Tolentino, Senior Lecturer, Department of Management, Macquarie Business School.
This trend of quiet quitting also links to a bigger issue that we have seen building strongly since the skills shortage became prevalent in the working world – it’s a candidate’s market right now. So how can leaders help foster a culture that keeps people engaged?

Enabling engagement

The path to creating employee engagement is through supportive leadership that enables work that is meaningful to that individual and creating quality connections throughout the team and the wider business. It’s becoming clear that we all value being part of a team that’s doing something important. If you’re a leader of people you play an important role in creating an inclusive workplace with a supportive work culture that allows team members to feel like they can contribute fully to a collective and higher purpose.
If you’re not engaged in the work that’s on offer, then take a closer look at your organisations purpose and values. Are they something you could get behind promoting? As a leader, is it time that these are redesigned to reflect broader cultural shifts?
While salary will always be important, less tangible benefits such as culture, sustainability and a workplace that aligns with an individual’s values and purpose are now firmly in the spotlight as organisations strive to stand out as a place that people want to work at.
“There is indeed robust research evidence on ‘perceived organisational support’ suggesting that perceptions about support matters as much as the presence of formal policies and programs. Employees also value the fulfillment of their socioemotional needs at work. Therefore, informal support from leaders makes a difference and are critical particularly in times of crisis,” says Tolentino.
And if you’re considering adopting a quiet quitting approach at your work, it’s worth really considering what’s driving this impulse. If you’re already feeling burnt out, taking steps to disengage with your job isn’t going to solve the problem. We encourage deeper reflection on how you view your work.
“Work can be a source of joy and meaning. More importantly, works gives us visibility and opportunity to make a difference in broader society. When work aligns with your values, it's easier to love it and commit to it,” says Tolentino.

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