“It’s a new name for an old behavior,” answered Mary-Lou MacDonald (pictured), national practice lead, health and performance, at HUB International.
People paring down their work output to find more balance in their personal lives is nothing new. The pandemic created a perfect storm for quiet quitting rather than being the source of the phenomenon.
“People have been pushed to the edge, given everything we’ve had to deal with around the pandemic. They’ve realized they’re in control of their health and wellbeing,” MacDonald said.
Quiet quitting is likely a result of burnout, an extreme and chronic form of stress which has skyrocketed in the last few years. A study by Canada Life last year showed one in three working Canadians felt burned out. Insurance (39%) was among the five industries that reported burnout rates above the national average (35%).
Read more: Balancing work-life as an insurance professional
Health and patient care had the highest rate, with more than half (53%) of workers feeling burned out, including 66% of nurses. Staff in transportation, education and childcare, and first responders were also experiencing burnout in high numbers.
“It’s not necessarily that they don’t want to give their energy, innovation, and creativity to work,” MacDonald said. “Rather, they realize that discretionary work should no longer be considered the standard, especially when it comes at the cost of their relationships, health, and wellbeing. They want to provide that extra effort on occasion, and to employers they feel deserve it.”
More positively, the trend suggests more employees are being smart around setting boundaries to protect their wellbeing. “It’s not about quitting; it’s about readingjusting and realigning priorities,” continued Macdonald.
The trend is also resonating strongly with younger employees. For MacDonald, quiet quitting reveals much about what the youngest cohort in the workplace values in their