Quiet Quitting – The Trend That Began On TikTok

Diana Nădejde

8 minutes read

In this era of speed, it’s no longer a secret that social media is a tool that we frequently use in our everyday life. We use it to keep in touch with our loved ones, post vacation pics, buy different stuff online, or… find out news about professional relationships.

Recently, Zaid Khan, a young engineer based in New York used TikTok to bring to the attention of the wider public a
concept that has been made famous by Generation Z: Quiet Quitting. According to recent statistics, approximately 50% of the US workforce experiences Quiet Quitting.

What is Quiet Quitting?

Despite its name, the analyzed concept does not have to do with an employee’s decision to definitively leave the job, that is, quit. Simply put, Quiet Quitting rejects the idea that the professional activity of a person matches their entire existence and in order to receive acknowledgments or a raise the employees should put in extra effort, basically taking on a lot more activities that the ones specified in their employment contract.

Embracing the principle “I don’t only live for work”, this new trend sees the employees stick to doing strictly the tasks specified for a certain position and… not much more than that. Consequently, the employees will keep showing up for work but they will establish certain limits between their work and their private lives. Practically, no tasks or contacting the employee outside working hours.

Where does this concept come from?

According to NYPost, Quiet Quitting presents characteristics that are similar to those of the movement called “Lying Flat”, also known as “Tang Ping” from China. The Asian nation is globally known for its strict work ethic and for the improper treatment of its workers. Also, in the case of the Lying Flat movement, social media has played an important role in getting this ideology viral. Everything started on April 2021 with a post where the author talked
about the negative connotations of the traditional mentality which saw one’s life completely taken over by work. Later, more and more Chinese employees, especially young ones, started to reject the „996” work schedule (9 am – 9 pm / 6 days a week) and the unpaid overtime, Lying Flat enjoyed an ever-increasing popularity throughout this last year.

How to spot Quiet Quitting among employees?

There are several behaviors that can indicate that an employee has the intention to „quiet quit”, but here are some of the more popular signs:

  • Employees will only perform their specific, assigned tasks
  • They will strictly adhere to the work schedule without spending even one additional minute at the workplace
  • Employees are not willing to work overtime
  • Employees do not manifest any interest in doing tasks or taking on responsibilities that are not specified in their contract
  • The team members will only perform the tasks mentioned and detailed in their contracts
  • They will become isolated from the rest of the team
  • They will not get involved in conversations or activities that are not related to the job
  • They will participate in meetings but will not bring in any input

How can remote work help prevent the Quiet Quitting syndrome?

The changes brought by the pandemic on the labor market have determined most employees to
say „No more!” to the lack of acknowledgment and financial compensation for the overtime they frequently put in. Consequently, more and more people have become aware of syndromes such as burnout or even boreout, choosing to concentrate instead on activities that can compensate for the stress caused by the job.

On the other hand, even if Quiet Quitting is focused on maintaining an emotional balance while performing the professional activity, many HR specialists consider that it might be a precursor of presenteeism, that is, work that is carried out as a mere performative action with clear negative effects on the productivity.

Managers can directly influence their employees’ experience at the workplace. When managers lead through empathy and trust, the employees get involved, feel supported and appreciated by their superiors, having a full picture of their role within the company and the possible advancement chances. At the same time, a leadership style that is people-oriented unlocks the so-called discretionary involvement, that is that 10% of additional effort can have a significant impact on both the business and employee sides.

Thus, in order to limit the manifestation of Quiet Quitting among employees, it is recommended that organizations implement a modern management strategy, which can be either remote or hybrid, with the purpose of offering employees a work environment characterized by inspiration, involvement, and motivation.

In the long term, is it possible that Quiet Quitting might negatively influence an employee’s perception of his/her professional responsibilities?

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Written by Diana Nădejde


Originally a legal consultant, but more of a communication person, passionate about writing, digitalization, social media, history and philosophy. At the same time, I don’t think there is a problem that can’t be solved with a good book or a series.

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