For all the negativity piled upon the 'quiet quitting' movement, it is fundamentally rooted in a very important aspect of work: drawing professional boundaries. And workers who manage to 'quiet quit' - who successfully create and maintain those boundaries - are happier with their jobs than they used to be, according to the findings of a new survey by US credit company LendingTree.
The survey, which analysed 2,000 responses, found that 40% of those who consciously stopped taking on extra work without remuneration have become more engaged at work than before. 57% said their work-life balance has improved, with that number spiking to 65% for parents with children under the age of 18.
Despite employer fears, this engagement and satisfaction does not come at the expense of productivity or even face time. 95% of self-identified 'quiet quitters' still fill at least their full quota of working hours, and 36% actually work more than their required hours. 42% don't even use their full paid time off.
That said, 'quiet quitting' does appear to be a precursor to actually quitting, with 56% of 'quiet quitters' actively searching for a new role - double the number of non-'quiet quitters' doing so. 26% also don't feel secure in their current roles, although the survey findings do not differentiate between those who 'quiet quit' because of that insecurity, and those who feel insecure because they have 'quiet quit'.
Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst at LendingTree, thinks that 'quiet quitting' is overall an effect rather than a cause. Commenting on the findings, he said: “If someone is quiet quitting, they’re clearly not satisfied with their job. If you’re not happy with your job, it’s often only a matter of time before you start mentally checking out or looking for a new one.”
Given that people have been 'quiet quitting' and setting professional boundaries since long before the term went viral, he's surprised that the practice is still viewed so negatively, but thinks it is because of a certain passive-aggressive connotation - taking an easy way out by withdrawing, rather than communicating to try and resolve the problem.
So, his recommendation is to speak up.
“Your co-workers may have no idea that there is a problem unless you speak up,” Schulz says. “Plus, honest, open discussions with your supervisor and co-workers can help you craft realistic boundaries that will work for your team while also helping you achieve your work-life balance goals. And once those boundaries are established, make sure to let someone know if they’ve overstepped them. These things aren’t always crystal clear in practice, so respectfully speaking up when you feel something is wrong is a great way to make sure people know where things stand.”