The pandemic has led to many people overworking and the change in workplace culture including feeling unappreciated, and working overtime with no bonus, has resulted in a mindset called ‘quiet quitting’. This is some what similar to the ‘Great Resignation’ except that employees are not resigning and finding other activities that fulfil their lives.
Instead, Quiet quitting refers to completing the demands of your job but nothing more. It means not going the extra mile and staying strictly within the boundaries of your job requirements. The person shows up for work on time and leaves on time. They do not help with additional tasks or work overtime nor would they take the initiative on work projects.
How did quiet quitting start? Due to the pandemic, working arrangements as well as the lack of manpower for some companies, many workers found themselves putting in many extra hours without getting compensated or getting due recognition. Even if they did get recognised, it resulted in being given even more work. With the burn out and lack of appreciation, people started to focus on work-life balance, and ‘acting around their wage’.
While we can’t control how our bosses and management operate, we can take to help ourselves feel better at work and reduce the chances of getting a burn out – regardless whether you are thinking of quietly quitting or not.
1. Prioritise your work
It’s important to prioritise the tasks given to you at work so you don’t feel that you have an overwhelming number of tasks to complete all at once. One good way to prioritise is to label your tasks in order of importance: Very important, moderately important, and low importance. You can either take five minutes at the start of every day to look through your tasks and rank them or you can do it at the start of every week. By ranking your tasks, you are able to have a clear vision of what urgently needs your attention, and once you complete those tasks, you will feel good about your accomplishments.
2. You are ‘Good Enough’
One reason why people quietly quit is that they feel stressed at work, and they feel the need to be perfect in the work they deliver. Research shows many people do become overwhelmed by negative judgments or criticism they receive at work, and as such have developed perfectionist tendencies. However, the irony is that people who strive for perfectionism put less effort into their work because of the subconscious reasoning that if they aren’t going to get it right already, there is no point trying as hard.
However, it is more beneficial to us if we change our mentality and define realistic expectations for ourselves. This would allow us to acknowledge that ‘this is good enough’. It also allows us to set acceptable standards for ourselves and not feel so pressured to get everything 100% perfect.
3. Set boundaries
It is important to set boundaries for yourself to prevent colleagues or bosses from intruding into your personal time. If you constantly have to reply texts messages or answer calls, it helps to get a work phone that is separate from your personal phone. That way, you can turn off notifications from your work phone or put it aside completely after office hours or during the weekend.
Another way is to only answer after-hours calls or emails only if it is absolutely necessary. If it isn’t, you can let your co-workers and bosses know that you’ll get back to them during working hours.
4. Take breaks in between
Taking breaks in-between work is essential to prevent burnouts as well. You could take a short walk, have a snack and be physically away from your work desk. Taking periodic breaks throughout the day helps you get through the day without feeling too overwhelmed and allows you to maximise your productivity as well.
5. Be 100% present in the moment
When you’re working, focus on work, and outside of work, focus on whatever you’re doing and have fun! Try not to let unrelated thoughts get to you and prevent you from focussing on whatever you’re doing. Immerse yourself in the activity and you’ll likely feel more accomplished and refreshed1.
6. Reward yourself
It’s important to reward yourself after a long day at work by buying yourself a good meal or an item you desire. When you reward yourself after a long day/week/month, it helps replenish the energy and motivation to work. In addition, self-love and self-care is essential for your growth and well-being in the long run2 .
7. Have a heart-to-heart talk with your manager
While setting boundaries (as pointed out earlier) is important, if you’re really feeling over burdened by your tasks, it is important to have an honest talk with your manager to let them know what you’re going through, where you feel management or the team can improve, and where you see yourself within the next year in the company. This will help your manager understand how best to prioritise tasks within the team or improve their own managerial skills (if that is the major issue). If your manager listens, then things might improve and you may find new motivation to complete your work!
Even if your manager fails to listen to you, at least you have done your part rather than suffer in silence alone. For all you know, your manager too is quietly quitting because of their own bosses.
Take these steps to prevent burn out at work today. Remember, attaining a balance between work and life is essential in the long run!
1 Rupert, P. A., Miller, A. O., & Dorociak, K. E. (2015). Preventing burnout: What does the research tell us? Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 46(3), 168–174. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0039297
2 What is Self-Care and Why is it Important For You? (2020, April 14). Snhu.edu. https://www.snhu.edu/about-us/newsroom/health/what-is-self-care