What Is Quiet Quitting and How Do You Prevent It?

Quiet quitting, which got its name from a viral TikTok hashtag, refers to the trend whereby workers do the bare minimum required to stay on a company’s payroll.

Naturally, having employees like this on your team can dramatically affect your company’s productivity and morale. Below we’ll describe what quiet quitting is, discuss its causes and ultimately, how to combat it.

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What is quiet quitting?

Quiet quitters are employees who do the least amount of work required to stay in their jobs. This involves only putting in the minimum hours necessary, not making the effort to communicate with colleagues beyond the strictly necessary and avoiding taking on additional duties or tasks.

What causes quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting emerged as a trend during a very peculiar time in global business: the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s therefore heavily linked with other trends that occurred concurrently during this period.

For one, many employees were furloughed or lost their jobs around this time. This created a smaller workforce, which placed more burden and stress on those who retained their positions. This extra work often came without a pay increase, leading to demotivated staff who were reluctant to put 110% into the job.

This is tied in with burnout – where employees are so overworked they simply become unable to function. A desire to avoid reaching this stage, or being already in it, can both result in a worker exhibiting quiet quitting behaviour.

Additionally, remote and hybrid working also contributed to the surge in quiet quitting as employees simply lost touch with colleagues and the office environment. This made them feel disconnected, out of the loop, and, as a result, unmotivated to perform to the best of their ability in their job.

How quiet quitting affects businesses

Quiet quitting can be immensely harmful to businesses. This is perhaps most noticeable in smaller firms that depend more on the individual output of each employee. Put simply, quiet quitting significantly reduces productivity as it results in individuals doing less work and achieving fewer goals. It also affects overall team management and cohesion as workers feel disconnected from each other. Often, quiet quitters are weak links in teams, reducing their output as a whole.

How to identify quiet quitting

The signs of silent quitting can often be subtle. After all, it still involves the basic work tasks being fulfilled. However, there are some signs you can look out for, including:

  • A reduction in output and quality of an employee’s work

  • Contributing less to team efforts

  • A failure to attend meetings

  • A lack of engagement in meetings

  • A reluctance to take initiative and lead projects

  • Less interaction with co-workers

  • A refusal to take on extra work

What can businesses do about quiet quitting?

It’s important to remember that, in most cases, quiet quitting is not down to laziness on the individual’s part. It’s a response to dissatisfaction in their job. There are therefore various ways you can help prevent it from occurring in your company.

Don’t overwork your employees

As burnout is one of the major causes of quiet quitting, you can avoid it occurring by ensuring workloads are reasonable and well compensated. While working overtime on occasion may be unavoidable, make sure it doesn’t become the norm and staff are regularly relieved of their duties at the end of the business day.

Provide flexibility

Feeling a lack of desire to work can come from working hours or the commute to the office being draining for employees. You can get around this by offering more flexibility. For instance, offering office workers the option to work at home on certain days of the week or at a co-working space rather than coming into the central office every day. If you feel it’s essential tooperations for employees to be physically present in your company buildings, you can still provide them with the flexibility to choose their breaks and meeting times.

Have face-to-face meetings with employees

A major way you can curb the quiet quitting trend is by checking in with your employees, hearing their concerns and feedback and offering your own in return. Team members feeling seen and heard often translates to higher motivation levels and more engagement with their role in a company.

Ensure employees feel a sense of purpose

A great way to prevent quiet quitting is to make sure staff feel that their role is valued and, in turn, delivers value. To do this, you can form a company culture that appreciates each individual and emphasises the importance of their work to the business as a whole.

Set up a reward system to recognise achievements

Another important tip for combatting quiet quitting is ensuring employees feel recognised for their contributions. This may involve simple praise or could go one step further to involve an employee recognition programme – which Deloitte claims can increase productivity by 14%. Bonuses, of course, also often prove highly motivating.

The bottom line

In the end, the quiet quitting trend doesn’t have as much to do with shifts in employee work ethic as it does with how a company is run. By implementing some of the above tips and strategies for promoting employee wellbeing, you can help create a more harmonious workplace and prevent quiet quitting from eating its way into your bottom line.

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