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Employee experience · 

8 minutes

Cormac O'SullivanPiggy

Understanding Quiet Quitting: The New Trend and the Backlash

The hustle culture mentality has defined our working life for many years, with long hours and extra work touted as the keys to success. But the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant shift in the work-life balance have introduced new trends, including quiet quitting. However, it's a double-edged sword with its own set of challenges and backlash. In this article, we'll dissect quiet quitting and the associated backlash, and offer solutions for dealing with this complex issue.

What is Quiet Quitting?

Quiet quitting refers to a situation where employees, although technically present, are mentally disengaged and only do the bare minimum at work, a behavior also known as 'work-to-rule'. These quiet quitters are not actively engaged in their tasks and contribute the minimum effort required, often resulting in reduced productivity and effectiveness. It's a subtle form of protest against adverse work environments, a silent refusal to be consumed by the hustle culture.

Reasons for Quiet Quitting

This isn't a spontaneous action; it's often a result of cumulative factors that drive employees to this stage.

Inadequate Recognition

One of the primary reasons for this issue is the lack of recognition and appreciation at the workplace. When employees feel undervalued or unacknowledged, their motivation and engagement may decrease.


Burnout, often a result of long working hours and lack of work-life balance, can lead to quiet quitting. As exhaustion sets in, employees start withdrawing and their productivity decreases.

Toxic Work Environment

A hostile work environment can trigger quiet quitting. Harassment, discrimination, or an overly competitive atmosphere can cause employees to disengage.

Lack of Career Advancement

When employees see no room for career growth or advancement, they may resort to quiet quitting. A stagnant career path leaves employees feeling unchallenged and unfulfilled.

Lack of Autonomy

When employees lack control over their tasks or decisions, they might become demotivated. Micromanagement, excessive control, and lack of trust can lead to quiet quitting.

The Backlash Against Quiet Quitting

As quiet quitting becomes more prevalent, a backlash has been observed in various forms.

Decreased Productivity

Quiet quitting directly impacts the productivity of the individual and the team. It also affects the overall morale of the team, leading to a ripple effect.

Damage to Company Reputation

In the age of social media, quiet quitting can damage a company's reputation. Stories of overwork and mistreatment can deter potential talent.

Employee Turnover

This behavior can be a precursor to actual quitting. If not addressed, it can lead to high employee turnover.

Financial Costs

The decrease in productivity and increase in turnover can lead to substantial financial costs for companies.

The Spread of Negativity

This issue can spread negativity within a team, hampering collaboration and creating a toxic work environment.

Quiet Firing

'Quiet firing' is a term associated with quiet quitting. It refers to situations where employers reduce an employee's responsibilities or isolate them from significant projects or meetings, gradually driving them to quit voluntarily. This action is often a response to quiet quitting, creating a cycle of silent conflict that could further erode the work environment.

Dealing with Quiet Quitting

Addressing quiet quitting requires a proactive approach from management. Here are some strategies:

Foster Open Communication

Encouraging an open and honest communication culture can help understand the reasons behind quiet quitting and address them effectively.

Prioritize Employee Wellbeing

Companies should prioritize employees' mental and physical wellbeing. This could include flexible working hours, providing mental health support, and ensuring a healthy work-life balance.

Offer Recognition and Rewards

Recognizing employees' efforts and contributions can go a long way in boosting morale and engagement. This can be through words of appreciation, awards, or tangible rewards.

Provide Opportunities for Growth

By providing opportunities for professional development and career advancement, employers can keep employees motivated and engaged.

Create a Positive Work Environment

A supportive and positive work environment can help prevent quiet quitting. This includes fostering mutual respect, collaboration, and a sense of community within the workplace.


The trend of quiet quitting is a silent protest against the hustle culture mentality and a cry for a more balanced and humane approach to work. While there's a backlash against quiet quitting, the solution lies in understanding its causes and implementing measures to address them. The challenge for companies is to balance productivity demands with employees' needs, thereby creating a win-win situation for all.

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