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Unhealthy Workplace Trends: Assessing the Long-Term Impact of the Pandemic

    Artwork by Nadya Girendroheru
    Artwork by Nadya Girendroheru

    Quiet Quitting and Quiet Firing: Are They the New Normal?

    In recent times, there has been much controversy about the term “quiet quitting“, which is used to describe a situation in which a worker refuses to go beyond what they are required to do at their workplace. Everyone has rethought their priorities as a result of the pandemic, which has caused them to seek more fulfilling work experiences or a better work-life balance. In order to navigate the stress and uncertainty of these difficult times, taking a quiet break has become a viable strategy.

    According to CNN Indonesia, ‘quiet firing’ is not much different from ‘quiet quitting’. Quiet firing is a method that employers can use to secretly fire employees. It is usually carried out so that the employer can avoid financial, psychological, and legal costs associated with forcing employees to leave; the employer intentionally creates an unpleasant work environment so that the employee voluntarily leaves.

    TikTok influencer DeAndre Brown was one of the first people to mention the term. In his video, he describes “Quiet Firing” as a workplace phenomenon that doesn’t reward employees for their work and instead forces them to leave the company.

    (Image courtesy of samfiru tumarkin -
    (Image courtesy of samfiru tumarkin –

    Combatting Unhealthy Workplace Trends:

    1. Prioritize Employee Well-being

    Many employees consider quiet quitting as a way to maintain mental health. If the employer proactively meets workers’ needs, this step is unnecessary. When employers prioritize the physical, mental, and emotional health of employees, employees feel no need to withdraw professionally to protect themselves from threats.

    Ideally, employers should protect employees from unnecessary risks. By emphasizing the employer’s commitment to employee well-being and taking action to support this commitment, the employer creates a safe work environment and helps employees to be fully themselves and maximize their full potential in the workplace.

    1. Promote Transparent Communication

    So far, the single best way to become a better employer is to communicate well. Employers can truly understand their employees’ unique needs, wants, challenges, and circumstances by communicating with them frequently. This type of communication is important to ensure that the employee is able to thrive and not just stay in the workplace.

    1. Foster a Positive Work Culture

    Forbes stated that it’s important to understand how employees feel because toxic company culture is a major reason for resignations. Those who work want to feel valued and appreciated for their work. Providing recognition and appreciation to employees shows them that their work is important to the employer and the organization.

    According to a Deloitte study, employees often say recognition is an important part of their engagement; this allows them to devote more attention to themselves at work, which in turn enhances their careers. A brief acknowledgment, such as a pat on the back and a sincere compliment or thank you, can make an employee smile. Employee appreciation must be embedded in the culture of any workplace that wishes to thrive.

    1. Implement Formal Separation Processes

    To reduce the effects of quiet firing, companies must implement formal separation procedures that promote respect, empathy, and fairness. To reduce the negative impact caused by leaving and remaining employees in the company, employers can offer severance packages, provide outplacement services, and consciously manage termination communications.

    Photo by Norbert Tóth on Unsplash
    Norbert Tóth on Unsplash

    Factors Contributing to Unhealthy Workplace Trends

    While the pandemic has certainly accelerated this trend, other factors also play a role in the rise of these phenomena. Smaller companies may experience this trend more frequently due to limited resources, highly interconnected social dynamics, and less established HR practices. In contrast, macro organizations may have stronger structures, policies, and HR departments that actively address employee concerns, which reduces the likelihood that these trends will become embedded.

    But it could work the other way around. The more close-knit nature of smaller businesses may be of benefit to how more ‘personal’ employee relations are being handled. This could be the exact opposite for larger companies with more manpower since employee relations may tend to feel more process-oriented than employee-centric.

    Snapping Out of the Phase: What Shifted the Paradigm?

    Long-standing issues at work such as silent quitting and silent firing have been intensified by the global pandemic. Because of this, we must all recognize and combat these trends. Organizations can create a healthier work environment by prioritizing the health and well-being of employees, implementing a system of fair segregation, and creating a positive work culture. In doing so, they will encourage employees to be more open and confident in raising their concerns about workplace-related challenges.

    Companies that can adapt to the changing needs of their workplace and give priority to their employees are more likely to thrive in the new normal when situations stabilize and conditions improve.

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