Quiet quitting – where employees do the bare minimum required of them to get by at work – has taken the US workplace by storm in August, and Gen Z employees are leading the way. Nearly 7.8 million people have engaged with the #quietquitting hashtag on TikTok, with the latest Google search data in August showing an increase of 940% compared to July*.
The trend is a backlash towards growing burnout in the workforce. With this in mind, new research reveals that city employees in the US are 2.5 times more likely to suffer from occupational burnout. So far this year, the number seeking burnout support is 163% higher than the national average*.
In some areas, 74% of employees have been affected by fatigue, stress or burnout in some way since spring 2020. Companies continue to grapple with employee health pandemic fallouts, inflationary squeezes and the lingering effects of changed workplace practices.
These US states are most at risk of ‘quiet quitting’, with burnout increasing
|Increase in searches for ‘occupational burnout’ support (% change – latest 12 weeks compared to 2021)
The research, conducted by the employee engagement experts at Wildgoose, analysed Google search data from each state, each state capital and 52 major US cities. Data was compared to state average and nationwide data.
Across the USA, searches for burnout help have risen 15% this year, compared to the same period last year. Just one state – Wyoming – hasn’t experienced increased demand for burnout support.
Burnout is defined by the World Health Organization as an ‘occupational phenomenon’ resulting from chronic workplace stress. It is characterized by three dimensions: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.
To deal with burnout, millions of American employees are taking to the quiet quitting trend: sticking to the bare minimum requirements of their job description and rejecting the notion of going above and beyond at work.
Jonny Edser, Director at Wildgoose, says:
“The rise of employee burnout in the USA is cause for alarm. And what’s noticeable is that it’s in the cities where people seem to be suffering most.
“While it’s positive the conversation is being had by the younger generations starting their career, it’s important that companies create the working environment where issues can be raised in a constructive manner to improve employee wellbeing.
“Whatever the cause, it’s clear that companies can’t afford to ignore rising cases of burnout. As well as addressing root causes such as longer working hours, they should take action to actively raise morale. We’ve found that team building activities improve morale and help prevent burnout by giving people a real break. But they also help people to foster better connections with coworkers, who can support and sympathize when work stress becomes too much.”
Ivan Harding, CEO and Co-Founder of HR platform Applaud, says:
“Managers need to ensure they’re actively checking in on employees while they’re working at home to eliminate the risk of anyone looking to ‘Quietly Quit’. This means encouraging more transparent conversations with their teams about how they’re ‘really’ finding work. Although, it’s not just the role of managers to improve communication. It’s somewhat impossible for them to get the information they need if the person they reach out to is completely closed off. Employees also need to ensure they’re open and honest about what they’re able to manage. The two go hand-in-hand.”
Jim Frawley, Executive Coach and CEO of business consultants Bellwether Hub, says:
“In the office, much of burnout comes from emotional responses to our work. We typically blame workload, but it’s the fear of failure that piles up as well. Employees being driven to quiet quitting connects to a bigger picture feeling of ‘what’s the point’? What’s the motivation to go above and beyond? For many – there isn’t any, other than the fear of losing a job.
To prevent this quiet quitting trend, employees must have ‘ownership’ in a process, a mentality that’s missing in corporate business. We can call it responsibility, accountability, or anything else – but at the end of the day – we are motivated to do something we own – not just things ‘assigned’ to us.”
*according to Google Trends data
Wildgoose are leaders in the events industry, delivering a wide range of corporate team building and social team events across the globe. Since launching in 2003, thousands of companies around the world have benefited from Wildgoose’s creative approach to inspiring workforces.
The innovative brand prides itself on creating engaging and interactive team building activities. By implementing remote delivery methods and developing new team building products, Wildgoose has been able to keep people motivated and connected at a time when team building is more important than ever.