According to the latest YouGov survey commissioned by HEINEKEN®, work has been cited as a key reason why employees ‘ghost’ their friends, significantly impacting their social life and relationships with friends and family.
In our hyperconnected world today, it is easier than ever to connect with employees on their devices. There is pressure to always be available, adding to employees’ working hours. In many societies throughout Asia, overworking is often seen as a sign of being ‘successful’ in one’s career, which in turn makes it challenging for employees to find time to socialise outside of work.
In collaboration with global Korean actor Park Hyung Sik, the latest Work Responsibly campaign by Heineken hopes to help strike a balance in this hyperconnected world by shedding light on the overworking culture that is commonplace in Malaysia. Staying true to their enjoyment of life values, Heineken wants to remind employees to work responsibly and not let their social life down by ‘ghosting’ their friends.
While ‘ghosting’ is a term typically used in the online world of dating, friendship ‘ghosting’ can hurt just as much. According to the latest YouGov survey commissioned by Heineken, one of the most common reasons why employees in Malaysia ‘ghost’ their friends is due to their work commitments. As much as they seek fresh moments with their friends, work makes it hard for them to do so.
As part of the Work Responsibly campaign from Heineken, Park Hyung Sik recently shared a video on Instagram that appeared to show paranormal activity in a bar — beer glasses moving on their own and chairs sliding across the room. The incident was filmed to highlight how a friend stuck in the office is a ghost at the bar — whenever a friend ‘ghosts’ because of work, their friends end up hanging out with his/her ‘ghost’ instead — which explains the ‘paranormal’ activities happening in the video shared by Park Hyung Sik.
According to YouGov, 41% of employees in Malaysia have ‘ghosted’ their friends due to work obligations. Due to the lack of work-life balance, it has impacted their life significantly — many feel burned out at work and revealed that work has caused strains in their relationship with their friends and partners.
A CULTURE OF OVERWORKING AND PRESENTEEISM
Over the years, employers have been placing more effort on helping employees achieve a work-life balance by implementing benefits such as extended annual leave, mental wellness days, and even flexible working arrangements. However, the commissioned study by YouGov shows that Malaysian employees still find that their social life is significantly impacted due to work.
A reason for overworking that’s unique to not just Malaysia but the APAC region, is the workplace culture of presenteeism — the feeling of confusion and guilt over leaving on time despite finishing the day’s work or feeling obligated to stay back until their seniors leave.
EMPLOYEES ARE STILL LETTING THEIR SOCIAL LIVES DOWN DUE TO WORK
While Malaysian employees agree that their employers value work-life balance and encourage them to take time off, they still do not see improvement in their social life and often find themselves ‘ghosting’ their friends because of work. A whopping 65% of employees find themselves unable to reject extra work given to them – this is because it was assigned by their seniors or managers, and some are afraid that it will affect their promotions as they will be deemed lazy. Based on the YouGov statistics, 91% of Malaysian employees believe that having a good social life can help with the stresses at work.
“The #WorkResponsibly platform is raising awareness of the sensitive work-life balance issue around the world. Heineken has always encouraged and fostered socialisation and healthy human connections as we feel that workers need to embrace more social and leisure time. We’re thrilled to bring this platform to Singapore and Malaysia as a reminder to leave your duties on time and not let your social life fall behind,” says Bram Westenbrink, Global Head Heineken Brand.
“When you don’t leave work on time, you also let someone else down: your friends. Heineken’s campaign serves as a reminder to fans to prioritise having a work-life balance. Despite evidence that working long hours is not sustainable long-term, many Malaysians still find themselves struggling to work responsibly. We hope that with this campaign, Malaysians are inspired to reach a more sustainable way of working and to overcome stress,” said Willemijn Sneep, Head of Marketing at Heineken Malaysia.
BRINGING THE MESSAGE TO THE BARS
In line with Heineken’s Work Responsibly campaign to remind Malaysians to clock out from work on time and socialise with friends, Heineken will be having ‘Ghosted Bar’ activations on weekdays from May 9 to 31 between 6pm and 10pm. There will be a total of 40 activations taking place at selected bars in Penang, Ipoh, Greater KL/Klang Valley, and Johor regions.
The online Ghost Generator here is also available for Malaysians to remind their friends to leave work on time and to not let their social life down through a personalized GIF. Fans of the brand can visit the same website to register for the ‘Ghosted Bar’ activations and/or to find out more details about the ‘Ghosted Bar’. We hope that this campaign inspires and encourages Malaysians to clock off work on time and overcome stress by prioritising their social life.
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