6 Ways to Support Quiet Quitting by Creating a Healthy Work Environment
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    6 Ways to Support Quiet Quitting by Creating a Healthy Work Environment

    by Sara J. Baker, Ed.D.

    Quiet quitting might not be what you think it is.

    It doesn’t mean that people are performing below expectations. In fact, quiet quitters can easily be our highest performers.

    It doesn’t mean people are standing around slacking on the job. They aren’t refusing to complete their job tasks.

    They may not even be giving less than their best while at work.

    But the key to that statement is “while at work.”

    Quiet quitters are still doing their best and are engaged while at work, but they aren’t taking their work home, they aren’t agreeing to projects that unrealistically increase their workload, and they aren’t answering emails over the weekends or at night.

    When they are off work, they are off work. Period.

    What is #QuietQuitting and Why Is It Trending?

    Quiet quitting is a pushback against the hustle culture and toxic workplaces. People are choosing to put their health and wellbeing first by setting boundaries and limits on how much work they are willing to do.

    It’s trending because it resonates with many people who, after the shift in perspective brought about by the pandemic, are re-evaluating what is truly important to them.

    And for many, quiet quitting is the answer.

    Some workplaces are trying to demonize the term #quietquitting by characterizing it as slacking, no longer meeting minimum expectations and being unengaged. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

    Quiet quitters are simply people who have had enough of toxic workplaces and are choosing to prioritize their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing over their job.

    6 Ways to Support Quiet Quitting by Creating a Healthy Work Environment

    Quiet Quitting, Hustle Culture and Toxic Workplaces

    What do hustle culture, toxic workplaces and toxic bosses all have in common?

    Hustle culture, toxic workplace and toxic bosses all encourage a lack of healthy boundaries.

    Hustle culture is the belief that the only way to succeed is to work harder and longer hours. It’s the idea that if you’re not working all the time, you’re not working enough.

    Toxic workplaces are places where employees are expected to sacrifice their personal time and energy for the company. They are places where employees feel like they have to put in extra hours, even if it means working weekends or taking work home with them. They are places where there is little to no work-life balance.

    Toxic bosses are the ones who create and perpetuate hustle culture and toxic workplaces. They are the ones who micromanage, who set unrealistic deadlines, and who take credit for their employees’ work.

    All of these things lead to one thing: burnout.

    Burnout: the Real Pandemic

    The pandemic brought about a lot of changes, one of the most significant changes is the way we view work. For many people, the pandemic has been a wake-up call. It’s shown us that life is precious and that we need to prioritize our health and personal lives. It highlighted that we are not promised an endless stream of tomorrows.

    This realization has motivated people to push back against unhealthy work cultures and has shone a spotlight on burnout.

    Burnout is a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. It’s caused by chronic stress and it’s characterized by feelings of cynicism, detachment, and a lack of energy.

    Burnout is real, and it’s a pandemic. In fact, it’s estimated that burnout affects nearly half of all workers in the United States.

    6 Ways to Support Quiet Quitting by Creating a Healthy Work Environment

    People have begun to realize that we can’t keep working the way we have been. We can’t keep putting our jobs ahead of our health. We can’t keep pushing ourselves to the point of exhaustion and expecting to be okay.

    Burnout is a serious problem and it’s time we do something about it.

    Is My Team At Risk of Quiet Quitting?

    If you’re a manager, it’s time to start thinking about how you can prevent burnout in your employees. It’s time to stop encouraging hustle culture and put an end to any toxicity in your workplace.

    Notice that we didn’t say it’s time to stop your team from quiet quitting.

    If quiet quitting is setting healthy boundaries around work so that we can enjoy our work and still have a fulfilling, personal life outside of work, then quiet quitting is a good thing.

    The goal is to get rid of toxic practices.

    The goal is to support quiet quitting by creating healthy boundaries and a healthy workplace culture.

    The first step to fixing the problem is to recognize that there is a problem. If you’re not sure if your people are at risk of quiet quitting and in the throes of burnout, let’s look at at list of symptoms for quiet quitting. Then we’ll create a plan of action for creating a healthy workplace.

    Signs Your Team is At-Risk for Quiet Quitting

    Your team is at-risk for quiet quitting when they are:

    • Working long hours and weekends.
    • Constantly checking work email and Slack outside of work hours.
    • Taking on more and more responsibilities without being given any additional resources or support.
    • Not taking vacation days or mental health days.
    • Not taking breaks during the day.
    • Not talking to you about how they’re feeling.
    • Seem disengaged and uninterested in their work.
    • Making mistakes or their quality of work is slipping.
    6 Ways to Support Quiet Quitting by Creating a Healthy Work Environment

    Managers, take note. If you want to keep your best employees, it’s time to start making some changes.

    And the best way to do that is to create a healthy workplace culture. You can’t just sit back and let your employees burn out without trying to do something about it. Quiet quitters are done with the hustle culture and are looking for a better way to work.

    6 Ways to Support Quiet Quitting and Create a Healthy Workplace

    So, how can you, as a manager, create a healthy workplace culture that supports quiet quitting? Here are six things you can do to get back on track:

    1. Encourage quiet quitting.

    If you want to support quiet quitting, you need to start by encouraging it. Create an open and supportive environment where people feel comfortable setting boundaries around their work.

    2. Communicate expectations.

    Be clear about your expectations for employees and make sure that those expectations are realistic. If you’re expecting employees to work long hours, make sure they have the opportunity to take breaks and to quiet quit when necessary.

    3. Set healthy boundaries.

    Set healthy boundaries for yourself and for your team. Make sure that you’re not working too much and that you’re taking care of yourself. And make sure that your team has the opportunity to do the same.

    4. Support mental health.

    Make sure that you’re supporting your employees’ mental health. Provide resources and create a safe space for employees to talk about their mental health.

    5. Take some time away.

    If you’re feeling burnt out, take a break. Go on vacation, take a mental health day, or simply take some time for yourself. And encourage your employees to do the same.

    6. Foster a healthy workplace culture.

    Foster a healthy workplace culture by valuing your employees and their well-being. Make sure that your workplace is a safe and supportive environment where people can thrive. Create a work culture built on purpose, accountability, courage, empowerment and individual development. Learn more about PACED leadership.

    6 Ways to Support Quiet Quitting by Creating a Healthy Work Environment

    Signs of a Healthy Workplace

    You’ll know you are on the right track to creating a healthy workplace when:

    1. Your team works a reasonable number of hours each week

    2. Your team gets regular breaks

    3. Your team is not expected to be available constantly outside of work hours

    4. Your team is given time to disconnect and comes back feeling refreshed

    5. Your team is empowered to say “No” to projects or additional responsibilities that would overload them

    6. Your team is trusted to do their work without micromanagement

    If you see these signs in your workplace, congratulations! You are on your way to creating a healthy work environment. If not, don’t despair. There is always room for improvement. Use these tips to start making positive changes in your workplace today.

    #quietquitting #worklifebalance #toxicworkplace #leadership

    Dr. Sara Baker, Founder of the Leadership Reformation

    About the Author

    Dr. Sara Baker is an advocate for positive leadership and healthy workplaces. With over 20 years of experience leading private and public organizations, she understands the challenges that employees and leaders face every day.

    Sara is the author of Toxic Workplace Survival Guide, an essential resource for anyone who wants to thrive in spite of a toxic work environment. In addition to her writing, Sara provides online courses for leadership development and coping with a toxic workplace.

    Dr. Sara Baker, Founder of the Leadership Reformation

    About the Author

    Dr. Sara Baker is an advocate for positive leadership and healthy workplaces. With over 20 years of experience leading private and public organizations, she understands the challenges that employees and leaders face every day.

    Sara is the author of Toxic Workplace Survival Guide, an essential resource for anyone who wants to thrive in spite of a toxic work environment. In addition to her writing, Sara provides online courses for leadership development and coping with a toxic workplace.

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