Why quiet quitting is a mental health risk for employees

There’s no such thing as a perfect job. And when you’re at a job you don’t like, it can be difficult to stay engaged and motivated in an environment that doesn’t match your values or interests. In some cases, employees become so disengaged that they start “quietly quitting” without actually quitting or announcing their departure.

Quiet quitters put in minimal effort just to get through the workday but don’t express their discontent to management. It can have serious mental health risks in the long-term. Let’s take a look at what quiet quitting is, what signs to look out for, and why it can be dangerous.

What is quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting refers to a silent but dangerous problem in the workplace. The term called quiet quitter is used to describe employees who are doing the minimum requirements of their job and putting in no more time, effort, or enthusiasm than absolutely necessary. It does not mean actually quitting the job, but rather choosing to stay in the role while not investing any extra energy into it.

Employees who are quietly quitting may still show up to work physically, but mentally, they have already left. They may lose their passion for their work, disengage from their coworkers, and stop making an effort to contribute to the company. In some cases, these employees may even actively work against the company’s interests or sabotage their coworkers’ efforts.

Although they’re not actively resigning from their position, quietly quitting may be just as damaging to overall morale and productivity as leaving altogether.

Why does quiet quitting happen? 

The reasons why people engage in quiet quitting vary from person to person, but typically stem from an underlying feeling of powerlessness or a lack of meaningful connection with their job. 

For example, if an employee feels unsupported by their employer or unable to make meaningful contributions to their team, they may turn inward and begin quietly checking out of their job without ever voicing those concerns aloud. This behavior is often seen as a way for employees to regain control over their lives and career paths without having to confront the realities of their situation head-on.

Additionally, quiet quitting can indicate that the workplace may be toxic or have poor working conditions, which could further contribute to employee mental health issues.

Signs of quiet quitting 

The signs of quiet quitting are usually easy to spot if you know what to look for. Here are some things to look out for to recognize when employees are quietly quitting:

  • Consistently dissatisfied with their work and workplace environment: They may express feelings of unhappiness, boredom, or apathy on a regular basis.
  • Making minimal effort: They do the bare minimum at work and may no longer strive to do their best work. Instead, they just “go through the motions” for their job.
  • Less engaged at work: They may not participate in team meetings or activities and lack enthusiasm for the company’s mission.
  • Poor communication: They may avoid interacting with coworkers or managers and be reluctant to share ideas or feedback. They may also be unresponsive to emails and messages.
  • Withdraw from social activities: They may avoid social activities with coworkers and stay at their desk or away from the office to finish work.
  • More critical in meetings and conversations: They may be more likely to criticize others’ ideas or dismiss good suggestions.
  • Take more frequent sick days or time off: They may be absent from work more often or request a lot of time off.
  • Less productive in general: They may take longer to complete tasks and make more mistakes when completing them. Repeatedly producing low-quality work is also a tell-tale sign that they are quiet quitting.

While these signs don’t necessarily mean someone is quietly quitting, they should be taken seriously if observed in an employee.

The mental health implications of quiet quitting 

Quiet quitting can cause physical, mental, and emotional health problems for employees. Quiet quitters experience mental exhaustion and are often stressed out about their jobs, leading them to experience fatigue, irritability, anxiety, depression, insomnia, headaches, and digestive issues. 

Additionally, quiet quitters may also be at risk of developing mental illnesses such as PTSD or bipolar disorder due to the stress associated with their job. All these physical symptoms can lead to decreased productivity at work and even burnout if left unchecked. 

Quiet quitting can also be a symptom of poor mental health and can lead to lower levels of engagement, purpose, and satisfaction which are all factors in mental and physical well-being.

Why is quiet quitting dangerous to your mental health?

Quiet quitting can lead to poor mental health conditions for a number of reasons. Firstly, it can leave employees feeling isolated and unheard, as their feelings are not being addressed or discussed openly. This can lead to feelings of helplessness, resentment, and low self-worth.

Additionally, without getting professional help from a mental health provider or having an outlet to express their feelings, they may resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse or self-harm. 

Finally, quiet quitting can also lead to job dissatisfaction and chronic stress due to the inability of employees to voice their concerns or advocate for themselves in the workplace. This can further lead to increased absenteeism, decreased productivity, and a lack of motivation.

Manage stress and burnout to prevent quiet quitting

When it comes to mental health, we must all be attuned to the signs of “quiet quitting” to prevent any negative mental health problems for yourself or your co-workers and cultivate safe and supportive workplaces. 

Employers should take steps to create an environment where employees feel heard and supported and speak openly about their feelings in order to avoid quiet quitting. 

If you or somebody you know needs assistance in dealing with work-related stress and mental health issues, please reach out for support. You’ll always find someone at Nao Medical with an open ear and ready to help. Book an appointment today!

Experiencing signs of quiet quitting? Get mental health support nao!

Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered, construed or interpreted as legal or professional advice, guidance or opinion.

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