"Quiet Quitting" or Setting Healthy Boundaries?

Beth Dean 03.25.24
Graphic - Blog 2024-03-26 Quiet Quitting

Unpacking the Buzzword

You’ve likely heard the term “quiet quitting,” conjuring images of disengaged workers coasting through their jobs. But before we jump on the bandwagon of criticism, let’s take a closer look at what this phenomenon actually means.

At its core, quiet quitting describes employees fulfilling their job requirements without going the extra mile. No more late nights, no more volunteering for every project, just completing prescribed tasks within prescribed hours and focusing on personal time. While this might sound concerning on the surface, it’s important to acknowledge that for some, this isn’t about quitting at all, but rather establishing healthy boundaries.

For years, workplaces have thrived on the hustle culture, praising overwork and blurring the lines between professional and personal lives. This constant pressure can lead to burnout, disengagement, and even health problems. Quiet quitting, then, could be seen as a necessary pushback against this unsustainable lifestyle.

Suppose an employee is meeting their expectations, delivering quality work within the agreed-upon hours, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Is it really fair to judge them for not exceeding those expectations? They may be prioritizing family, pursuing hobbies, or simply caring for their mental and physical wellbeing. 

Reframing Our Thinking

Of course, this isn’t to excuse apathy or poor performance. If an employee isn’t meeting their basic job requirements, that’s a separate issue to address. But if someone is working diligently within the defined parameters, let’s not label them as “quiet quitting.”

Instead, let’s use this discussion as an opportunity to re-evaluate workplace norms. Are we setting realistic expectations? Are we fostering an environment that promotes employee wellbeing and work-life balance? Are we paying employees enough to justify them going the extra mile? Open communication and honest dialogue between employers and employees are crucial in addressing the root causes of disengagement.

Beyond the buzzword, quiet quitting may not necessarily be about disengagement but about reclaiming time, setting boundaries, and prioritizing personal well-being. In a world that demands more and more, maybe that’s not quitting at all, but a step towards a healthier, more sustainable way of working.

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