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The many benefits of quiet quitting

A global trend has hit Australian workplaces and it’s got a lot to offer workers, especially those with their nose to the grindstone.

Quiet quitting is seeing workers scale back their extra efforts on the job and only do their minimal duties. The term went viral after a TikTok video by zkchillin extolled the virtuals of “no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life”.

“Nobody is actually quitting, nobody is not doing their job,” explained Aaron McEwan, vice-president of research and advisory of consulting firm Gartner.

“They just doing the job they’re paid to do, but the bare minimum.”

Many workers are eagerly embracing quiet quitting because they feel exhausted by the pandemic and need to prioritise their work-life balance, McEwan said.

“Quiet quitting is nothing more than a correction and the correction being that we’ve just been through three years of accumulated trauma,” he said.

TikTok video extols virtues of 'quiet quitting'

Source: Tiktok/zkchillin

“The pandemic was an existential event that people went through that made them deeply aware of the fragility of their health, their mental health and their relationships.

“On average, Australian workers were working six hours per week more than they were prior to the pandemic. So they stepped up to the plate, they helped their organisations during one of the most volatile periods and they completely relearned how to do their jobs in this virtual setting.

“It led to increases in productivity mostly and, for some organisations, obscenely record profits. But for most workers, this hasn’t flowed into promotions or pay rises or new opportunities for learning and development.”

aaron mcewan

Quiet quitting is doing the bare minimum at work: Aaron McEwan. Photo: Supplied.

Switching off stress and refusing to go above and beyond is arguably more more achievable in today’s job market.

With Australia’s unemployment rate sinking to 3.5 per cent in June, there is now an active war for talent across multiple industries and this gives workers considerable leverage, McEwan said.

“We just happen to be in a period where workers have a little bit more power than they normally do,” he said.

Avoiding burnout by quiet quitting is being embraced by young workers, many of whom feel disillusioned by minimal wage growth and rising living costs, said McEwan.

“If you’re earning minimum wage and that minimum wage has not increased in 30 years despite the increasing cost of everything else and then if we bring this closer to home, the idea of home ownership seems to be completely out of reach,” he said.

“Those of us who are old enough to be in the work hard and play hard generation did it on the promise of something. The promise was you’d progress in your career. The promise was you could get a nice house and a nice car and put your kids through private school.

“I don’t know if anyone is delivering on that promise anymore. So what’s in it for someone to work harder than what they’re paid to?”

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