Workaholism: Stop Rewarding This Addiction

Workaholism: Stop Rewarding This Addiction

Working hard is admirable, but becoming addicted to work, also known as workaholism, can be toxic and erode the balance between career and life. Unfortunately, workaholism is an affliction that is often rewarded.

With the need for productivity continuously on the rise, employees may feel pressure from both employers and families to give more of themselves than reasonably possible. Employees are working harder and longer to provide for their families, yet may not take the time to enjoy what they have earned. The divorce rate for workaholics is higher, chunks of paid time off allowances go unused, and the feeling of accomplishment decreases.

Work/life imbalance is only one effect of workaholism. Employees working too many hours may experience emotional issues such as anxiety or inadequacy, may be less productive at work from being unrested or less focused, and, despite all of that work, still may feel like they haven't accomplished much throughout the day. With these stressors, it's not surprising that workaholism has numerous health consequences, including headaches, stiff muscles, and an increased likelihood of heart disease.

There are warning signs, provided by Workaholics Anonymous, to identify those who may be at risk of being workaholics, including:
  • Do you get more excited about work than you do about family or other things?
  • Do you take work with you to bed, on weekends, or on vacation?
  • Do you work excessive hours each week?
  • Do you take on extra work because you're afraid that it won't get done otherwise?
  • Do your long work hours hurt your family or others?

While any changes would be largely the responsibility of the workaholic him or herself, employers are certainly complicit in both the cause and the recovery. Managers and supervisors can enforce several policies that encourage a balanced lifestyle, including close monitoring of workloads, making sure staffing needs are met, and not rewarding long hours.

For more information or human resource guidance in managing your workforce, please contact Nextep's HR team.

Check out the infographic below to learn more about workaholism:
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