What is ‘Quiet-Quitting’ and Why Should You Care?

Written by Rosa Park
Last updated on: Jun 18, 2024

Have you seen the term  ‘quiet-quitting’ thrown around a lot lately?

You may have noticed some colleagues around you or, yourself, ‘quiet-quitting’ - just doing your duties, the bare minimum to coast through, a lack of engagement in work or reduced engagement in work.

This study of over 5500 Canadians showed that 35 percent of working Canadians reported some level of burnout, and one in four said work significantly impacts their mental health.

There are factors both in employees and workplace environments which have been shown to increase the risk of burnout.

In the workplace this can include

  • Poor job satisfaction
  • Poor management
  • Poor access to resources
  • Restrictions on personal autonomy
  • Job insecurity
  • Limited room for advancement
  • Lack of role clarity and role conflict
  • Lack of support

Employees themselves are at risk if they are isolated (as we were during COVID), if they are dealing with challenges in their personal life but also at work.

First Session partner therapist and Performance Psychologist Kim Foster Yardley says it begins with clear communication of roles and expectations. 

There needs to be clear ways in which they show that they do what they say. Listening to employees and actively addressing their concerns shows that the leadership cares about the well-being of employees and takes their concerns seriously. Companies can have anonymous feedback systems but it is important to follow up on the content of the feedback or you may inadvertently send the wrong message.

“To me this is often a sign of an underlying issue. To feel disconnected from work, not having the usual passion for what we do can center around two issues” says Kim Foster Yardley. 

1. Motivation:

Quiet quitting could be because of a struggle to keep motivated or put more simply a boredom with work life.

One strategy to try to improve motivation is a reflection/writing exercise. 

  • Think of a time in your life where you felt motivated and passionate about your work. What were you doing? 
  • What aspects of your work got you interested and excited? Did you feel you were constantly growing? 
  • Were you working with a supportive team? Or did you feel a sense of mastery in your work?
  • What is missing now? How could you introduce one of the aspects from your previous experience into your work now?

2. Burnout

This could very likely be a factor at play. Burnout in many ways is an energy issue. The person is either physically or emotionally exhausted or both. Recovery from burnout is a process of restoration but also taking a hard look at what led to the burn out in the first place. 

Finally, Reach out for help and let your workplace know you are feeling this way. Our tendency when we struggle is to withdraw, especially when energy is low but this does not solve anything. In fact it can make the situation worse.

Reach out to a trusted mentor at work or your HR. And if you can’t think of anyone at your company who could help this is probably part of the problem. It’s so important to feel supported at work.

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About the Author

Rosa Park

Rosa Park is a versatile content creator, videographer, and photographer with a rich history of producing engaging narratives. Rosa's expertise spans journalism, documentaries, and social media content creation. Her work has included collaborations with renowned brands and organizations, showcasing her creativity and adaptability in the media industry. Rosa studied Journalism at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University).