As you can see, burnout is not a new topic. While it seems like the interest in the subject has faded in the months since “the Great Resignation”, the recent Tiktok trend of “Quiet Quitting” - only doing what you're asked to at work and not going above and beyond is once again giving this topic another viral moment. “Quiet Quitting” is gaining momentum as it is believed to be an effective way to battle workplace burnout, but is this the best solution?
First and foremost, understanding burnout and its signs…
Although the Salesforce community encourages happiness and promotes good work-life balance, we all still operate in a world where projects are driven by deadlines, customer satisfaction and last-minute changes that can cause stress or force us to work overtime. Stress is a fact of professional life, but extreme and unrelenting pressures can lead to the debilitating state we call burnout, then it becomes a serious problem.
Burnout is a condition brought on by excessive and protracted stress that results in physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. High workloads, little recognition, a stressful work environment, and a lack of leadership support are all factors that contribute to burnout. According to the World Health Organization, three signs characterise burnout at work include people feeling:
mentally distant from or cynical about their job
feelings of professional inefficacy or feelings of incompetence and lack of achievement
When you are experiencing these signs of burnout, most of your energy and mental focus is on daily survival and not developing for the future.
Why is “Quiet Quitting” believed to help avoid burnout and improve work-life balance?
It is about boundary setting. Lee Chambers, a psychologist and well-being consultant, told Healthline that Quiet Quitting can be beneficial in a multitude of ways, particularly in terms of having the confidence to implement boundaries.
Many social media users who quietly leave their jobs are doing so by shutting down their laptops at precisely 5 o'clock in the evening. There will be no more after-hours email responses. Instead, they disconnect to better define the line between work and their personal life.
Additionally, “Quiet Quitters” do not take on extra work and instead work in accordance with their job description and avoid taking on any extra unpaid work. This can lessen the workload and the unnecessary stress that it creates. And as a result, having less stress at work will indeed make your life happier.
So, will “Quiet Quitting” be the answer to my constant burnout?
While Quiet Quitting could help burnout by ensuring that you don’t overextend yourself at work, it is not a long-term solution if you want to manage burnout properly. "It's a lot more like putting a wall up and shutting down than healthy communication”, said Michelle Elman, a five-board accredited life coach, boundaries, and relationship expert, in Women & Home (2022).
It's a band-aid to cover a bigger problem and it’s more important to deal with the root causes of the chronic stress condition directly. "It doesn't let your employer know about your dissatisfaction and therefore, nothing is going to change.", according to Elman (2022).
So if you are battling burnout, here is what you should do instead:
1. Know the why
It’s easy to say that you are exhausted but finding out why you are feeling so and what will make you happy is the hard part. Get the help and support that you need to take ownership of your health and figure out why you feel burned out or why you feel the need to resort to Quiet Quitting as an uneasy but necessary step.
Here is an article from Henry Ford that might be useful for you.
2. Don’t be afraid to talk to the person in charge
Communication is key. Employers often don’t know that you are dealing with chronic stress, especially with the rise of remote working environments. Whether the matter is with your workload, your work environment, or you feel unappreciated, it is highly recommended and responsible action for you to have a conversation with your employer about your needs and current challenges. Following these guides from Havard may help you to master these difficult but essential conversations.
3. Help yourself by working smarter
For the time you spend at work, try to maximize your time and aim for a balance between workload and capacity. That way, you will be able to get work done and find time for professional growth, development, rest, and work recovery.
Here are some actions that might be helpful:
Planning your work and defining goals: write down on your schedule what work is coming and what you will be working on next week and distribute your time around that.
Delegating tasks: don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help in managing your workload.
Saying no when necessary: saying no when you have too much work.
Setting clear boundaries: it's okay to only put in the hours you get paid for and leave time for things you're passionate about outside of work.
Say goodbye to perfectionism: It's not always necessary to create the most perfect work; sometimes it's okay to just get the job done the way it needs to be done.
As a company with a strong focus on employees’ well-being and mental health, EMPAUA empowers people to strive for a healthy and balanced work-life. Unlimited time off, mental health support and resources from our qualified Mental Health Ambassadors, flexible working time and location are among the well-being benefits we offer to support our employees in achieving their work-life balance goal. So far, we belong to the top 5% of over 1M companies on Kununu, a professionally operated employer rating platform in the DACH area.
If you want to work at a place that values work-life balance and is willing to help you achieve it, join us! Find out about our vacancies in South Africa/Germany at https://empaua.kenjo.io/jobs.
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