- Nilufar Ahmed
- The Conversation*
In many countries of the world, there has been a debate about a phenomenon called “the great layoff”.
The UK has seen a sharp rise in the number of people leaving their jobs in 2021, and a fifth of the country’s workers still say they plan to quit next year in search of greater job satisfaction and better pay.
If you’re unhappy at work, but quitting your job isn’t an option or there aren’t any attractive alternatives, you can try “quiet firing.”
This tendency to simply do the bare minimum of one’s job role has gained traction on TikTok and has clearly resonated with young people.
It has also frustrated managers, and some seem to be concerned about employee accommodation.
But silent dismissal doesn’t mean avoiding doing your job, it’s just trying to maintain a life outside of work as well.
Over the past 20 years, many people have embraced a global culture of overwork, with unpaid work becoming an expected part of many jobs.
After several recessions and a pandemic, millennials and Gen Z in particular often don’t have the same job opportunities and financial security as their parents.
Many young employed professionals who expected a relatively simple progression in life have suffered from precarious contracts, job uncertainty and failed attempts to buy a property.
There are those who constantly work overtime and go the extra mile at work to try to secure promotions and bonuses—but they still struggle.
Perhaps in response to this disappointment, a recent Deloitte study showed that young people are increasingly looking for flexibility and purpose in their work, as well as balance and fulfillment in their lives.
Many young professionals are now rejecting the “live for work” lifestyle, continuing to work but not allowing work to control their lives.
Working “at a minimum” can seem strange. But you (and your employer) shouldn’t fear silent dismissal. In fact, it can be a good thing for both of you.
Working less is good for your mental health
Studies show that work-life balance is linked to mental health in a variety of jobs.
And a survey of 2,017 UK workers by employer review website Glassdoor in 2021 found that more than half of respondents felt they lacked work-life balance.
The silent dismissal aims to restore this balance, in situations where work has stolen time from your personal life.
It can also help separate your self-esteem from work. When all you do is work, it’s hard not to derive your sense of worth from him.
Perceived flaws at work, such as not getting a promotion or recognition for your accomplishments, can be internalized as personal flaws.
This can increase anxiety — and make you worry about how to improve your performance.
People often respond by working harder, which further exacerbates the vicious cycle of overwork and low self-esteem.
The dangers of ‘burnout’
When the situation gets too ugly, it can result in burnout (professional burnout).
In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially recognized the burnout as an occupational phenomenon characterized by feelings of burnout, exhaustion, cynicism, mental detachment from work and poorer performance.
O burnout it is a significant risk of overwork and can have long-term impacts on physical, emotional and mental health — it is difficult and costly for individuals and employers.
a lot of people with burnout ends up absent from work or, at the very least, working below full capacity.
Quiet dismissal can create a better work-life balance — and therefore can protect against burnout before it happens.
better working relationships
Research shows that happier employees are more productive and engaged. This can even mitigate the feeling of being distracted or not wanting to be there.
When people are feeling happy, they are more likely to be more friendly and open, fostering friendships in the workplace — which many report as a significant part of their job satisfaction.
Quiet firing’s focus on just focusing on doing your job also eliminates the negative impact of feeling like you’re constantly in competition with your peers.
Having friendships in the workplace feeds our basic need for a sense of belonging and, in turn, can increase workplace loyalty and improve work performance.
All of this can result in higher productivity, which of course means higher profits.
The silent resignation can be a “great release” in response to the great resignation.
People are rejecting overwork and burnout — and choosing balance and satisfaction.
They are setting limits so that their identity and self-esteem are not tied to their productivity at work.
Instead of being nervous about lost productivity, employers should take advantage of this quiet layoff movement to support the well-being of their employees.
Encouraging a better work-life balance will show workers that they are valued, leading to greater engagement, productivity and loyalty: everyone wins.
* Nilufar Ahmed is a professor of social sciences at the University of Bristol, UK.
This article was originally published on the academic news site The Conversation and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Read the original version here (in English).
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