The latest buzz phrase coming out of social media is the concept of “quiet quitting,” whereby burned-out or unsatisfied employees put forth the least amount of effort possible to keep their paychecks. The rationale for this workplace approach is that work is not the most important thing in people’s lives, they shouldn’t put in any extra time without compensation, and they should have freedom to pursue other endeavors outside of their employment.
This concept really jumped out to me for a few reasons, mainly for its lack of newness. If you’re old enough to remember George Costanza of Seinfeld hiding under his desk or pretending to be annoyed or looking busy to avoid assignments, then you know we’ve seen this before. The concept is also known as “phoning it in” or better yet, the 80-20 rule, where 20% of employees are doing 80% of the work.
The question is whether the 2022 version of this concept is somehow different and whether managers and business owners need to take a likewise different approach, especially in the wake of the Great Resignation and with the growth of the gig economy.