Quiet quitting: a problem or not?

Not a surprising phenomenon

The term quiet quitting has been circulating on social media over the past weeks. Quiet quitters don’t literally quit their job, but they do renounce the idea that we live to work, and as a result limit themselves to doing only what is expected of them. No less, but no more either. In the United States, the covid pandemic proved to be a catalyst for this phenomenon and caused a real wave of mass resignations. In Belgium it is less of a hot topic, although experts are not surprised by the philosophy behind quiet quitting. Young employees are better at setting boundaries and are more concerned with better work-life integration than previous generations. A job is less of a status symbol than it once was.

Astrid De Zutter, HR consultant and coach at ITZU: “During our coachings we have been noticing for some time that there is a shift when it comes to careers. The ever-increasing burn-out numbers are one possible explanation, but at the same time the current climate allows us to really think about our jobs. The step to seek career advice is not that big anymore. In addition the pandemic gave employees time and space to think about their job and to weigh all factors: do I still really want this job? And if so, am I willing to put up with daily traffic jams and a lot of stress? These questions have opened the eyes of many employees, including young ones.

More efficiency, more productivity? 

Quiet quitting has a very negative connotation, but does not have to be a problem in the workplace. There is nothing wrong with completing your tasks during the working hours. Indeed, an employee who gets everything done in time may just be the epitome of efficiency. And can the same be said about colleagues who work overtime every day? Furthermore, after the working hours, ‘quiet quitters’ who are extra concerned with a good work-life balance, invest in activities that boost their energy. Which in turn results in a higher productivity level the next day at work. “

How to deal with quiet quitting

Of course every situation is different. If it takes on extreme proportions, quiet quitting can be harmful to the company’s functioning. And there is another important side note: quiet quitting happens in silence, which can stand in the way of a healthy employer-employee relationship.
A few tips:
Keep communicating
It is important for an organisation to provide a safe working environment that facilitates open communication in the best possible way. Certainly and especially in times of crisis. Invest regularly in 1-on-1 meetings, which will help to maintain a connection with your employees.
Make clear agreements

Good and clear agreements with employees are crucial. Structurally working overtime or checking mails after working hours is not the way to go, but what if a colleague falls ill unexpectedly? An exceptional situation like that requires a temporary effort from everyone in order to guarantee the continuity of the business.
Focus on the ABC
The keywords being Autonomy, Being involved and Competence. Employees who are given sufficient autonomy in their job feel more involved and put their competences to better use. And walk the extra mile without complaining, whenever necessary.
Work on mental resilience
Mental resilience is an absolute must in the workplace, now more than ever. That is why we support companies and employees to bring out the best in each individual. Our strength-based approach starts from positive psychology: how can we make what is good even better? If we actively focus on talents and strengths, even the less good aspects will get better.

The tools we apply when working with employees and companies on a perfect mental condition include: 

  • MyMindScan: measures and identifies the mental health status of employees and entrepreneurs.
  • Lumina Spark: brings the inner spark to the surface and eventually helps to increase potential and develop more self-awareness.
  • Growth mindset: focuses on mindset and its growth, the basis for any behaviour in the workplace in relation to the team and the organisation.
  • Tailor-made workshops: we work on resilience and movement in order to make a mental shift towards a healthier mind in a healthy body.


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