Collins Dictionary’s top 10 words for the year did not paint a pretty picture of 2022. Words such as ‘partygate’ and ‘permacrisis’ were among the reported ‘most used’ words and phrases released by the dictionary this year; yet one phase has the modern workplace divided; ‘Quiet Quitting’.
Collins Dictionary defines Quiet Quitting as ‘The practice of doing no more work than one is contractually obliged to do, especially in order to spend more time on personal activities; the practice of doing little or no work while being present at one’s place of employment.’
Now it seems fair to agree that doing ‘little or no work while being present at one’s place of employment’ is not the behaviour of a model employee…. But is ‘doing no more work than one is contractually obligated to do’ bad form, or is it just doing your job?
In recent years, we have seen a positive shift in the modern workplace towards ensuring ‘work-life balance’ and creating a corporate environment that protects the mental health of employees. Goodman Masson have been proud to be at the forefront of this and have seen many leading employers taking the same approach (happy employees = increased productivity!). In fact, in 2022, we saw the beginning of four-day week workplace trials being held by over 70 UK firms, and further trials being held in the US, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
However – there are many companies that remain staunchly against this ‘workplace wellness’ attitude, with business icon Elon Musk famously tweeting ‘a person needs to work 80-100 hours per week to “change the world’. Moreover, a recent study of 8,301 professionals in the UK found that 52% of professionals reported working longer hours since the widespread adoption of home-working. This is commonly accepted to be a result of increased accessibility (such as having email access on mobile devices) blurring the lines between office hours and personal time.
All this leads us to ask the question; is ‘quiet quitting’ a problem, or is it just setting boundaries between home and work life? And is ‘quiet quitting’ a way to stand up for yourself in the workplace, or is it a way to call out people who aren’t pulling their weight?
If you ask a Gen Z or Millennial worker, you may find that ‘quiet quitting’ goes hand in hand with feeling under-appreciated in the workplace and ‘acting your wage’; but is it really a bad thing to do your job and then go home? Some might argue that the idea of doing exactly what you are paid for is the definition of being a good employee – rather than the bare minimum. And if you are required to do more than your job, to the point where ‘quiet quitting’ feels drastic, perhaps its time for a career change…..
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