Have you heard the term “quiet quitting”? I hadn’t until a few weeks ago when it started popping up in many of the newsletters I read.
It turns out the term first became popular on TikTok when millennials started advising Gen Z workers not to work so hard. The Insider defines quiet quitting as “doing your job as it’s written—and maintaining firm boundaries otherwise. That means no overtime and prioritizing the bare minimum requirements.”
At first glance, this may sound like lazy employees, but NPR reports that some experts say quiet quitting is “a misnomer and should really be defined as carving out time to take care of yourself.”
McKinsey suggests it’s more about burnout, noting that Gen Z “already has the highest rates of mental health concerns” and that virtual and hybrid work brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic “doesn’t help,” leaving some employees feeling “adrift” at work.
As entrepreneurs, this concept may be hard to understand. We have more of a 24/7 go-for-the-gusto type of mentality. Another issue McKinsey brings up is the expectation that employees be online 24/7, so their workday never officially ends.
McKinsey advises business owners to recognize that while working remotely and having flexibility is important to Gen Z employees, they don’t want you to think that getting a raise is less critical. They rate their relationship with their bosses as a top factor when measuring employee satisfaction. And investing in them may make them more willing to invest in the job.
Finally, McKinsey asks if your goal is “getting the work done or getting your employees working?” If your Gen Z workers are getting their work done and enjoying a better work/life balance, is that a bad thing?
I’m not sure what to make of this. If I were advising Gen Z’ers, I would say if you wanted to get ahead, get promoted, and make more money, you need to go above and beyond because you know other people at your company are doing just that. And whether it’s fair or not, those people are going to be the ones who stand out and get the plum assignments and promotions. If that’s not that important to you, that’s fine; I’m not judging.
If your goal is to be a business owner, however, know that your work and business lives will not be “balanced” for quite a long time.
And small business owners need to recognize the value of their employees and pay them a fair wage.