Quiet Quitting: What is it and how to avoid it

You may have come across the phrase Quiet Quitting while reading articles online or on social media. It may appear to be a new issue in the workplace, but it is actually an old concept.

Quiet Quitting refers to a situation in which an employee is so overwhelmed or burned out that they stop trying to excel in their duties and instead do the bare minimum at work. This doesn’t mean that those people are quitting. Though it does mean that they don’t have the drive or motivation to aim for loftier goals in their current job.

Quiet Quitting in the Workplace

Quiet Quitting and Burnout

So why does it happen in the workplace? One reason is that there might be a disconnect between the employer and the employee. This is especially true when it comes to setting expectations.

For example, an employee might be open to extra work on top of their current load, with the expectation that it will help in their career advancement. However, the employer might have perceived that this particular employee has less workload, so they decide to give said employee more work. This results in the employee getting more work, without any pay-off for their additional efforts. The employee then gets burned out and decides to just do his original tasks and assignments.

Even worse is if the extra efforts of the employee become the new standard, which makes everyone else look like they are underperforming. This could lead to a toxic work mentality that they “must” match that intensity, even if it is beyond their current capabilities or bandwidth.

It may seem like production will spike up temporarily, but you’ll eventually get people quietly quitting, or even straight-up leaving due to stress and burnout.

Tell-tale signs of Quiet Quitting

Quiet Quitting can be described as a form of employee disengagement, brought on by different factors. It could be due to burnout, dissatisfaction with their current career progress, or not being aligned anymore with the company’s vision.

Here are some signs that an employee is Quiet Quitting on you:

Sudden Decrease in Output

A sudden decrease in performance is one of the most obvious signs of Quiet Quitting. Overachieving employees who start having an average output means that they are matching their pace with other employees.

While it might be a temporary slump or said employee taking a mental break before surging on again, it is still something a manager or team leader should observe moving forward, and take appropriate steps to motivate those who need it.

Being Confrontational or Lack thereof

If an employee suddenly becomes argumentative, especially on the topic of taking on new tasks, it could be a sign of being disengaged with their work.

On the other hand, an employee who gives valuable feedback but doesn’t do so anymore could also be a warning sign that the employee is disinterested in their work. Another example is some who used to always share ideas for company growth stopped suggesting things, and just stay quiet throughout meetings.

Lack of Communication and Team Coordination

When an employee could start replying less to office communications and starts coordinating less with teammates on their tasks, there is a huge chance that they are mentally checked out.

They might also start missing meetings due to random reasons, and don’t check in on what they have missed if they do so.

The most glaring sign is when an employee takes leaves or sudden sick days on dates that are crucial or very busy for the business, where you need all hands on deck. While taking a personal day is important, it could be quite alarming if someone is suddenly missing from the office at important times.

How to Combat Quiet Quitting

That being said, how can you as a business leader, manager, or agency owner combat Quiet Quitting in your company? Here are some ideas that we think can help combat, if not prevent Quiet Quitting in the workplace.

Communicating well with your employees

One of the best ways to address the issue is by talking to your employees. Of course, you’ll have to gauge if the topic can be handled in a public setting, or more privately like a 1 on 1 session. Checking in on them from time to time can also give you a chance to ask about their situation, and if they have any concerns that need to be addressed.

If you notice that someone is suddenly performing poorly, do not reprimand them immediately. Rather, set up a meeting and find out why this is happening, so that you can better understand what their issue or concerns are, and address them as needed.

Setting Proper Expectations

One of the leading causes of burnout is when someone commits a substantial effort but doesn’t get the payoff or expected output for it. Another reason could be promises made by management that continue to be unfulfilled after some time.

Instead of simply stating that you can’t do anything about it, the solution is to set appropriate expectations for these goals. After all, doing them gradually is preferable to doing nothing at all. This demonstrates that you are paying attention to them and are committed to making things better for everyone in the long run.

Follow-through and Execute

After setting expectations, do your best to follow through with your promises. Making large promises and not fulfilling them will just make it worse and will cost you their remaining trust. Forget quiet quitting, they might start resigning one after the other if you do so.

Play the Waiting Game

Understand that Quiet Quitting will not just suddenly disappear after you improve upon their working conditions or follow through with your promises. Employees who have been stuck in this mode will need time to rev the engine back up again.

So be patient and observe if there are significant changes over time, and continue with your own efforts on keeping your promises and goals.


Quiet Quitting can be hard to spot because some of the warning signs might not be done intentionally, or it could be an unconscious reaction to their work conditions. But regardless if they are intentional or not, it’s still best to head off early signs of Quiet Quitting when you see them, rather than letting them develop and spread in your workplace.

Want to read more business improvement articles? Check out our blog series on the Future of Work as well as tons of information on how to run your business efficiently in our blogs.

You can also subscribe to our newsletter so you can receive up-to-date information about other tips on how our distant assistants can help entrepreneurs grow their business. You also get FREE access to our Ultimate Distant Assistant Checklist when you sign up.

Jaime Jay

About Jaime Jay

Meet Jaime Jay – a man who wears many hats, and wears them all admirably. He's a master connector, an entrepreneur extraordinaire, and a published author who knows how to get things done.

Before he found his way to the business world, Jaime served his country as a brave paratrooper in the U.S. Army. But that's just the beginning of his many accomplishments.

He's the founder of the renowned Bottleneck Distant Assistant Services firm, and his book "Quit Repeating Yourself" has become a must-read for entrepreneurs everywhere.

When he's not busy building his empire, you can find him on his beloved Harley Davidson, cruising through the countryside and taking in the invigorating effects of Uitwaaien – a Dutch practice that involves facing the wind to boost health and relieve stress.

He enjoys spending his free time outside building stuff with his wife, Nikita the dog and their two kittens (for now at least) Tommy and Tater.

He is ‘over-the-moon’ happily married to his wonderful wife Sara, his amazing daughter, Jessica, who is serving our country as a United States Army soldier. Jaime and Sara are the proud grand parents of two beautiful little girls.


Get Your Book Now!

Quit Repeating Yourself provides guidance for entrepreneurs, business leaders, and managers to help prevent unknown challenges from ruining their business.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Related Blogs

Collaborate with Virtual Assistants

Collaborate with Virtual Assistants

Virtual Assistants as the Backbone of Business Success

Supporting Your Vision: Virtual Assistants as the Backbone of Business Success


Focus on Your Core Business: Free up Your Time for Important Business Activities by Hiring Bottleneck Distant Assistants!


Custom-Tailored Assistance: Elevating Your Business with Bottleneck Distant Assistants


Stay Organized, Stay Ahead: Get Organized with Virtual Assistants and Stay Ahead of the Game!


Maximize Efficiency: Streamline Your Operations with Virtual Assistant Support!

Take Control of Your Time: Book a Consultation