Quiet quitting: Slacking off, or simply creating a better work-life balance?

"People are holding managers and employers accountable," says career consultant, Sweta Regmi about the new social media trend 'Quiet Quitting,' which sees employees managing their work and professional lives differently. Felisha Adam reports.

The start of the new year saw the “Great Resignation” trend on social media, where many quit their nine-to-five jobs – and filmed the process.

Now, the new trend is “Quiet Quitting” – employees don’t actually quit their jobs, but manage their work and professional lives differently.

This means working only your scheduled shift – no overtime – and only doing your assigned daily tasks.

There are more than 90 million videos tagged with the hashtag #QuietQuitting on TikTok alone.

An HR expert says it really comes down to employees wanting to create a better work-life balance.

“Life has been tough. Work has been tough. People are burnt out and I think our tolerance for things, especially in the workplace when you’re not being treated fairly, is very, very low,” said Debby Carreau, the CEO and founder of Inspired HR.

@thedailyshow Is it quiet quitting...or just doing the job? #DailyShow #foryoupage #fyp ♬ original sound - The Daily Show

Sweta Regmi, a career consultant at Teachndo, says going above and beyond during regular work hours is encouraged. But doing so outside of those hours is what leads to many being burnt out.

“There are people that are saying ‘it’s slacking off, don’t do it.’ And there are people who are saying, ‘you know what, why would I go above and beyond?’” said Regmi.

“’I’m going to protect my boundaries. I’m going to speak up and I’m going to do the job. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not slacking off, but if you want extra from me, what’s in it for me?”’

Old concept, new name

While the term “Quiet Quitting” may be new, Carreau says the idea behind it has always been present.

“We used to call it mailing it in, or professionals would call it presenteeism or coasting, all these different words,” she said.

“It’s been around for a long time. The reason it’s particularly acute right now is people are burnt out with COVID over the last two and a half years.”

@johnsfinancetips Quiet quitting #quietquitting #newjob #fintok #moneytok #johnsfiancetips ♬ original sound - John Liang

The trend is forcing employers to adapt and take notice.

“If you do think you have this problem in your workplace or people are doing the bare minimum or they’re not engaged, have a conversation about it and try to understand how you could be better as a boss or better to work as a workplace overall, to improve conditions and get someone inspired to give their best every day,” Carreau advised.

Both Carreau and Regmi agreed the trend is starting a conversation about healthy workplace practices.

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