There are just as many ways to define “quiet quitting” as there are experts, analysts, and opinion leaders who have written about it. But to understand this old trouble in a new label means an employee is no longer willing to put in the extra effort their employer has come to anticipate from them. With that in mind, we need clarity on the root causes than a precise definition. What causes someone to finally reach their breaking point and establish firm limits on the level of commitment they previously felt driven to give? There is no single correct response; there are many possible ones.
According to the AVP of Brand Partnership at Qube Cinema Technology, Mayank Sehgal, the idea of quiet firing and quiet quitting is very old. He says, “In India, quiet firing and quitting have existed for the longest time. Managers put undue pressure just to the brim of firing someone, making the employee quit alone due to their inability to take that stress. Or, an individual slowly loses all interest in his current job role or profile or the organization itself, stops performing to their best and hunts for a new role outside or some side hustle. In both scenarios, there is only one victim, the output.”
At The Clueless Company, the management has 5 working days per week, 8 working hours per day for full-time roles, and 4 working hours per day for part-time/internship roles. The founder, Mehul Fanawala, says they have never asked the team for overtime. He adds, “In fact, we don’t even track this, and the only thing that matters to us is the deliverables. We are perfectly fine if they can complete the 8 hours tasks in an hour and do other work because we know how overworking is damaging to our mental health. I believe that our co-workers are responsible, so if something is pending, they complete it without our asking.”
Founder of DigiWitch Marketing firm, Proma Nautiyal, is optimistic about Quiet Quitting. She believes “it is much needed, especially when the boundary between work time and me-time has dwindled. Work-from-home culture has triggered this response as more people suffer from the burnout of being “reachable” at all times. If managers and executive teams cannot understand and enforce the importance of giving employees time to unwind, this trend will only keep rising. Mental wellbeing needs to be prioritized.”
Director of Marketing Zee5 by Zee Entertainment Enterprises, Raghuveer Singh, considers Quiet Quitting a common thing in corporates, especially with employees who have been in the system for 3 + years doing the same thing without proper job rotation. Even if a new employee wants to contribute, they think twice to beat the perception that it will not benefit their job anyway. So Singh clarifies that the management and HR are responsible, not the employee. The quiet quitting trait is a result of poor work culture.
Playing a devil’s advocate, we ask the co-founder of The Clueless Company for her take on the matter. We ask Manasi Shah if it is fair for companies to pay employees reluctant about their work commitment. Shah replied, “No, it is not fair. Neither for the employer nor the employee. One’s commitment to work impacts performance, longevity and eventual growth in that particular organization. So, unless companies are hiring for the short-term such as for projects, I don’t find it fair to pay employees not willing to commit. Each organization has to put in time and effort to mold an employee’s outputs according to the company standards. And the same is expected from the employee too. But if the relationship does not entail equal and mutual efforts, it’s better not to indulge in it.”
While we can see a fair amount of compassion from industry drivers, we all must understand that the hour demands equitable ownership. There are employees with the mindset that they can leverage social media to justify their lackadaisical approach to work and thus paint a company in the wrong light. With workplaces evolving their hiring and culture management, any employee sincere about growth must realize that businesses alone can’t generate revenue without work pulled in from all employees. Conclusively, employers and employees must work as partners to extend mutually fulfilling economic impact. ♦
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