11 July 2024

Have you ever felt that you are constantly snowed under with work? Or never have enough time to finish the job as you expect to, just because you have to multitask. You often have to stay late at work and work on weekends. Even worse, you are asked to work or respond to phone calls from the office on your day off or on sick leave! 

It’s just a matter of time before you can no longer tolerate that, when you hit the burnout point.

The good news is you are not alone. Post-pandemic, most organisations around the globe have had to rethink their business models, including costs and manpower management. They need to make the most of everything, and their employees are expected to be experts in multitasking, work well under pressure and in hustled environments, which could be called the ‘new normal’ in almost every office.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) included burnout, or ‘occupational phenomenon’, in its 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases. This new office based disease is referred to as “resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

A recent survey by Mahidol University revealed that all types of workers in Thailand are suffering burnout. Employees working in state enterprises are at the top of the list (77%), followed by those in the private sector (73%), government officials (58%) and business owners (48%).

For some employees, who are not willing to quit their job just yet, they opt for ‘quiet quitting’.

There is actually nothing new about ‘quiet quitting’. Other names for ‘quiet quitting’ could be ‘not very productive’, ‘lack of ambition’, ‘shiftless’ or ‘freeloader’. Generally speaking, there are two meanings of quiet quitting.

“The first one is the negative meaning, which is lacking the willingness to work beyond the requirement. It can be seen as being lazy, like working using just the minimum effort. Another definition is rather neutral, meaning the way an employee manages themselves. It doesn’t mean work-shy, but doing the bare minimum, or just meeting the boss’s or company’s requirements. The employee won’t be into what they are doing or add any new ideas to their work. By doing so, they self-manage themselves into being able to hang in there and keep working”, said Seetala Chanvised, a marketing consultant.

Seetala Chanvised, a marketing consultant

There are various factors that trigger quiet quitting, whether it is the heavy workload, a hierarchical corporate culture, toxic colleagues or even an inflexible boss.

Sirinun Taweepat was a fresh graduate when she worked as a creative and a stylist in a clothing company. She was very enthusiastic, determined and worked really hard. After a few years had passed, she engaged in quiet quitting for quite a while, before she actually quit.

Sirinun Taweepat, a freelance creative

“I faced problems at work. I felt I did the best I could, but it was not good enough for the owner or my supervisor. So, I felt bad and discouraged. I actually discussed the matter with the owner but did not speak directly, as I didn’t dare criticise him and couldn’t convince him to change the working approach. We were unable to reach a mutual understanding about our work”.

 

In most cases, however, quiet quitting is a way for employees to rebalance their work life and personal life, and, in some cases, it’s a way out, to prevent them from burning out and maintain their sanity. Undeniably, quiet quitting is ravaging many workplaces, when employees fail to achieve the companies’ challenges.

So what can the companies do to prevent this problem, especially among Gen Z workers?

President of the Personnel Management Association of Thailand, Dr. Borwornnan Thongkallaya

suggests that organisations should be more “employee-centric”, where employers or immediate bosses focus on what the employee wants and how they can support or help them to achieve it, while ensuring their happiness with their work. What is much more important, though, is showing appreciation for their work, as well as showing them how they can achieve advancement in their career. This, he thinks, will help ease the problem of quiet quitting.

Dr. Borwornnan Thongkallaya,
president of the Personnel Management Association of Thailand,

“Apart from supporting their employees, they should also give value to their work. We must admit that young people are not working only to earn their salaries, but they are looking for something meaningful in their lives. Therefore, supervisors, bosses or the company must give value to their work”.

He added that employers must show their staff that what they’re doing is not just an assignment, which must be done to achieve their KPIs, but their work can make an impact on certain people, which is much bigger than they might think.

By Jeerapa Boonyatus and Nad Bunnag