Quiet Quitters: Who, What, and Why.
19/12/2022 | Written by Barbara Weinberg, Senior Content Editor

“Quiet quitting isn't just about quitting your job, it's a step toward quitting on life.”

~Arianna Huffington.

In the early 2020s, quiet quitting emerged as a global trend. It applies to any approach to work that meets the bare minimum requirements. This rising craze drew social media attention after a March 2022 TikTok video was posted by career coach Brian Creely. It led with: "More people are 'quiet quitting' instead of leaving," describing the practice as "kicking back and taking it easy" while at work. The term went viral in a July video post by TikToker kzkchillin with 3.5 million views and almost half a million likes.

In September 2022, a Harvard Business Review article aptly defined this phenomenon. "Quiet quitters fulfill their responsibilities, but they're less willing to engage: no more staying late, arriving early, or attending non-mandated meetings."

The reaction of managers is mixed. Some are tolerant, partly because the labor market post-lockdown makes replacing quiet quitters more difficult. Others are less tolerant of workers slacking off. By October 2022, the hashtag #quietquitting was viewed 159 million times.


The most surprising statistic is that up to 85% of employees worldwide may be quiet quitting. Overwhelmed and overworked, they could be in the job-searching process or lack the incentive to meet and exceed expectations in their current position.

Although most are open to occasionally working extra hours, when a favor becomes the norm, problems can arise. Early signs are disengaged staff, who have become cynical about their job. Projects are rarely finished on time and could be of better quality. Negative mindsets lower job satisfaction, decrease motivation and impact performance and productivity.

Prevalent among Gen Z and millennial workers, quiet quitters are not under-performers but tend to be disillusioned high-performers. They constantly feel taken advantage of and feel their managers are squeezing them for as much free work as possible. Scrolling through social media platforms to avoid fulfilling their role has become the norm.


Quiet quitting does not start quietly. Team members often express concerns that their supervisors acknowledge but fail to fix or outright ignore. Workers who feel like their managers are oblivious or apathetic to their needs take action in inaction.

There may be a disconnect between employees and employers, a rebellion against uneven work-life balance. Employees need days off to rest, mentally disengage, and take personal time to connect with loved ones. Continually working at or beyond max capacity is not sustainable long-term.

Quiet quitters can erode relationships and create conflict or a toxic work environment for others. Managers and team members sensing a shift should act accordingly to rectify it.


Quiet quitting comes from unclear expectations, overwork, micromanagement, and disrespect. Employees may turn down new projects or claim to be too busy to help coworkers. The reality of the ever-changing business world is that most jobs evolve beyond the position description, especially in startups.

Managers should be upfront about growth in the interview stage. A common complaint is having to do much more than contracted roles. The issue is not necessarily that employees are unwilling to do extra work but that they feel the likely rewards are not worth the extra effort. Many do just enough not to get fired.

Employers must set reasonable goals that challenge, not overwhelm, ensuring that work balance is a two-way street. Maintain boundaries, ensure fair pay, be respectful, keep workload increases short-term, and properly compensate staff. Having honest conversations with employees is vital. If you go the extra mile, they will follow.

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