Minimising Quiet Quitting in the Workplace
The first question you may have is what “quiet quitting” is in the first place. Worry not employers, your employees are not secretly quitting their jobs. Although, they might be retreating from additional responsibilities.
Quiet quitting, a new term coined on the internet, is the act of doing the bare minimum at work. This means, no more late-night emails, no zoom calls beyond work hours, and, definitely, no more working on the weekend.
In theory, Gen Z has decided to take a stand and set boundaries on what they can and cannot do in the workplace in order to protect their mental and physical health. But, the question is, how practical is this mindset and can it really thrive in the legal industry?
Quiet Quitting and The Legal Sector
The legal sector can be tiring, especially with the long hours and endless client queries. When working in this industry, you’d often find your phone chime at odd hours only to find emails with odder demands.
But the truth is, that is just how the sector is. It’s not just in select firms, but most legal professionals have found themselves working beyond their stipulated hours. If you think about it, legal issues don’t stop being issues after 5:30 pm every day, which leads to firm employees working around the clock.
So, keeping that in mind, is it possible to “quiet quit” in a law firm? Sacha Barrett, a senior associate solicitor at Redmans, doesn’t think so. She says:
“Quiet quitting would not be possible in the legal industry, especially in magic circle firms. Young solicitors will always have billing targets which makes it impossible to do a 9-5 day. A failure to hit those targets could lead to a PIP process and ultimately dismissal for poor performance or selection for redundancy”.
Clearly, the legal sector is demanding, and by the looks of it, always will be. While “quiet quitting” is not feasible, there is no denying that the stress and workload can be taxing. If not by setting boundaries, how is one supposed to protect their physical and mental health? This is where an employer’s responsibility towards the firm and its people comes in.
Creating a Healthy Workplace
As pointed out, quiet quitting at a mass level can lead to underperformance of not just the employee, but the firm as well. In order to ensure employees remain motivated to work, employers need to start treating employees like humans instead of machines.
One of the findings in the State of the Global Workplace Report (2022) was regarding employee well-being. Researchers found that well-being and engagement in the workplace are interconnected as engaged employees are less stressed. Hence, finding ways that will encourage a healthy work culture and promote employee well-being is imperative.
The best way to ensure employee well-being is to prioritize speaking to employees periodically about the reason behind their potential burnout. When employees feel like they are being heard and are taken care of, motivation to work will come naturally. Additionally, a shift to focus on what is truly important is very much needed on every level.
So, while being client-focused and having a laser vision on profits is needed for a firm to grow, putting employees first will also ensure better work and more profit. This means, that “flexible working” should truly mean flexible and not just when it is convenient to employers. Yes, some calls, emails and meetings are unavoidable but letting employees live their life outside the firm is just as important.
As an employer, encourage taking breaks, spending time with family, and disconnecting from work whenever possible. Most importantly, lead by example and don’t let work stress get to you. While quiet quitting may be something young professionals are heading towards, work stress affects us all. And at the end of the day, an unhappy boss can often lead to many disgruntled, stressed-out employees.