Many business articles in recent months have focused on “Quiet Quitting.”  This article will review what “Quiet Quitting” is, and how it is impacting your business.

“Quiet Quitting”: A Definition

Although it seems like the phrase “Quiet Quitting” came out of nowhere to become the most-discussed business topic of recent months, it has actually been around for more than a decade. The consensus is that the term was first created and used at a 2009 economics symposium by economist Mark Boldger.

There is not yet an accepted, formal definition of ‘Quiet Quitting”, but the phrase is commonly understood to refer to workers and employees who continue to attend or do their jobs, but who do only the bare minimum absolutely required to keep these jobs.  The quiet in “Quiet Quitting” refers to the fact that employees don’t actually quit; they keep physically (or virtually, if they work remotely) attending their jobs. They simply perform enough of their work duties to avoid being fired.

In a recent Finance article by Angela Koo, Koo notes that the phenomenon of “Quiet Quitting” highlights relationship issues between managers and employees. The article suggests that definitions of the term vary from workers “not going above and beyond” to workers completely “slacking,” or not performing even their required job duties. 

“Quiet Quitting”: Why

When employees “Quiet Quit”, they are often doing it for real and valid reasons. Sometimes they give up trying their hardest because they are burnt out in their jobs. They may feel like their pay or benefits are not commensurate with their experience. They may also feel like their contributions are not being valued, and subsequently might start to do only the bare minimum on a daily basis.

Many workers are also feeling squeezed by factors outside of their employers’ control.  Challenges like the pressures of caring for elderly parents while also caring for children and/or the lack of time to adequately perform their own activities of daily living, like home maintenance and grocery shopping can all contribute to “Quiet Quitting”. At its heart, the phenomenon is often about workers pushing back on an environment in which they feel they have no work-life balance. When forced to be “on” at all times, not only at work but at home (with remote work and perpetual cell phone access), many employees feel the only way they can recapture their time is to not give all of their energy to their job duties.

“Quiet Quitting”:  How It Affects Your Business

For businesses and employers, “Quiet Quitting” often results in several negative outcomes. Perhaps one of the largest problems with quiet quitting is its impact on employee productivity. An employee who is only doing the bare minimum to stay employed will most likely not complete all of their regular work on time, and if they work in a public or customer service role, the quality of the service given (and the speed at which tasks are performed) will decrease as well. This will lead to a cycle of fewer people wanting to purchase from your business, as they learn their expectations will not be met. 

Quiet quitting can also lead to situations where managers and employers have increasingly poor communication. This will result in employers not knowing how customers and clients are feeling about the work done on their behalf, which can be disastrous for a business. Burnt-out and unhappy employees are not often motivated to engage with their supervisors and managers about dissatisfaction voiced by customers. 

Workers who have ceased to care about their work performance will not be able to come up with the new ideas and innovations on which most businesses depend. This can be disastrous for any business, particularly for those in areas like health care, technology, and manufacturing. In these businesses, innovation is the lifeblood that allows them to grow and prosper.


Quiet quitting can seriously impact your business.  It also negatively affects individuals. Most workers would feel better about their jobs and their roles if they felt they could give their all to their job and it would be appreciated. Likewise, employers and businesses want their companies to provide the best goods and services possible. By understanding the true problem of quiet quitting, businesses can find solutions to eliminate it.