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The “quiet quitting” at work, also called silent resignation, is the new phenomenon that worries managers. Particularly popular amongst millennials and gen Z, how does it manifest? What are its causes? And how can we remedy it? 

Learn everything about quiet quitting

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1. What is quiet quitting ?

Quiet quitting is a gradual disengagement from work and company life without actually resigning from the job. The employee becomes less and less invested in their work, reduces their productivity, and therefore impacts the entire structure. 

2. How does it manifest?

Several factors help identify quiet quitting. It usually manifests as a drop in motivation. The employee does the absolute minimum required of them. They no longer put forward ideas and take no and completely lose interest in professional life. They mentally quit their job; it can seem like they already have one foot out the door. This apathy towards work can lead to a lack of cooperation with co-workers, and therefore a deterioration in professional relationships. This alarming phenomenon is likely to affect all employees, regardless of their tenure in the company and their types of contracts (fixed-term, permanent, etc.). 

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3. The causes of quiet quitting

There are multiple reasons to emotionally quit one’s job. We will explore a few that push employees to be disengaged from their work without terminating their employment contract. 

Mental overload

The primary reason for quiet quitting remains undetermined. However, an important lead to explore is the mental load, which becomes so significant that quiet quitting appears as the only choice to protect one’s mental health. Quiet quitting then stands as the only possible defense mechanism for self-preservation.  

The mental load refers to the weight of all tasks, visible or not, asked of the employee. This emotional fatigue can stem from various factors such as stress, work hours, overtime, the difficulty of the tasks assigned, excessive workload, a work accident, harassment, the level of demand, etc. It can also emerge from personal reasons that affect the employee’s morale, such as maternity, paternity, sick leave, or other events.  

The work pace then becomes unsustainable and weighs on the employee’s morale. This emotional overload renders the employee unhappy and is therefore considered the primary source of discomfort at work. 

A fulfillment that doesn’t come from work

Lack of fulfillment at work can also lead to mental job abandonment. The worker is not or no longer stimulated nor enthusiastic enough by their tasks, which affects their motivation and therefore their productivity and justifies their professional shortcomings. They do not feel useful at work and will therefore seek meaning elsewhere. 

Due to this breakdown between personal and professional aspirations, work is perceived as a constraint and only as a mean to meet physiological needs. This lack of employee satisfaction translates into a generalized disengagement. 

A desire to defy one’s company

Growing frustration with one’s administration leads to distrust of their bosses and reduces the desire to conform to their expectations. If the worker’s relations with their colleagues are deteriorated, this may demotivate them to accomplish their tasks.  

The desire to defy one’s company can also emerge from the feeling of not being heard, recognized, or valued. Dissatisfaction can also be expressed through this if the employee does not find their place within the company, if they feel uncomfortable in their work environment. All these reasons can lead to resistance towards supervisors and thus lead to quiet quitting

4. How to remedy quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting does not necessarily equate to an employee being laid-off. Especially since once this behavior is observed, a dismissal is to be excluded without a few weeks’ notice and a tricky exit interview. Without serious misconduct, it will be tricky to initiate a procedure for the mutual termination of the employment contract as this goes against the labor law, unless there is mutual agreement, a real and serious cause, or a generous paycheck. In any case, it is better not to venture onto dismissal grounds and risk a visit from the labor inspector.  

Moreover, once the symptoms of quiet quitting are identified, there are several ways to remedy them and motivate employees to be invested in their work again. 

Restore a healthy relationship through communication

It is important to reach out to your employees to try and restore a healthier relationship. The first step is to open communication. Try to understand what led to this change in attitude. Be prepared to hear the employees’ feedback and the measures they would like to see implemented to improve their professional life.  

The employee must be able to share their grievances honestly. It would also be wise to integrate feedback sessions or some type of engagement survey regularly to prevent the deterioration of relationships and their excessive escalation. The establishment of a benevolent listening space is crucial. Such a framework must rely on a support system and, in the most extreme cases, a redirection to more competent experts to provide guidance. 

Value the employee and their work

A lack of recognition can quickly lead to a loss of desire to work. In this case, the worker needs to be valued. Their opinions must be heard, their ideas taken into account, and their inclusion in the decision-making process is vital. Their efforts must be recognized and appreciated, in the form of compliments, for example. Missions can also be rewarded with indemnities or other benefits. If discontent in work persists, it may be necessary to consider requalification, career progression, or different professional prospects. 

Ensure a balance between professional and personal life

As an employer, it is crucial to ensure a good balance between the professional and personal lives of your employees. This first requires well-defined work hours and rest periods. It is also essential to respect your employees’ boundaries by, for example, avoiding contacting them outside of their assigned working hours or on their business days.  

Over-solicitation in the workplace should be avoided, a good way to remedy this would be to introduce part-time teleworking. In some cases, it is necessary to encourage your workers to use their paid leave or time off in order to truly take a break from work. Finally, the use of certain tools or participation in seminars on task management and their prioritization can also reduce the mental load and thus contribute to job satisfaction. 

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Quiet quitting, although the state of a single individual, can strongly affect the life of an entire company and reduce the involvement of co-workers around them. Several causes have been discussed to keep an attentive ear to the well-being of employees. Employers must be made aware of these types of problems to prevent them or better manage them when they arise to increase employee satisfaction and reduce turnover.  

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