You’ve heard the phrase ‘workaholic’ right? Something that’s often thrown around in a jokey context is in fact a real condition that can be super damaging to employees mental and physical health.
Similar to those with a drug addiction, staff with a work addiction are said to achieve a ‘high’ from working and have a strong inability to stop their behaviour despite the negative impact that it’s having on their life.
So why is it that work addictions are generally accepted in society?
Hustle culture is glam, isn’t it?
In today’s world it seems that the busier you are, the better. If you’re not seen to be busy then you risk the chance of being labelled lazy or even worse, unsuccessful. But is that really the case? Absolutely not, and it’s down to us as employers to make sure our people know that.
Much too often, employees will use the fact that they prefer to be busy or simply love their jobs as a way of masking their obsessive habits. When in reality, there are underlying reasons for them being chained to the desk. These include:
· Unstoppable paranoia about their work-related performance
· An intense fear of failure
· A compulsive need to achieve status and success
· A way to escape emotional stress, such as relationship, financial or home difficulties
9 til 5 5 til 9
Gone are the days of working 9 til 5 then clocking off for some personal time - in the remote working world it seems that staff are now grinding round the clock, with 4 out of 5 workers admitting to finding it hard to shut off in the evenings.
The inability to psychologically detach from work can not only result in the occupational phenomenon of staff burnout and other mental health problems including stress, anxiety and depression. It can also have the following impacts, such as:
Family or relationship conflicts – working long hours removes the opportunity for employees to spend meaningful, quality time with family or partners which in turn can lead to conflicts and feelings of loneliness.
Lack of sleep – ongoing worries about work performance and unfinished tasks make it extremely hard for employees to quieten their minds at bedtime, leading to the vicious circle of less sleep and more daytime fatigue.
Damage to physical health – it’s important to remember that when staff work overtime, their heart works overtime. Stress releases the hormone cortisol which can increase the risk of strokes, coronary artery disease, and even cancer.
With all of this in mind, it’s paramount that employers promote a healthy work-life balance for their people to reduce work addiction and overall improve workplace wellbeing.
The key to a healthy work-life balance
Adjusting daily work patterns and changing the way your people think and feel towards work is never going to be something that magically happens overnight, especially in the current working environment. But what employers can do is actively encourage staff to take time out to chill.
A good way to initiate this is through the promotion of relaxation. Whether that’s listening to chill out tunes, winding down with a guided meditation, releasing the day’s stresses with a yoga flow, or taking their hand to the increasingly popular activity of adult colouring. Taking as little as ten minutes away from the screen to relax can decrease the effects of stress on our mind and body, slow down the heart rate, lower blood pressure and reduce the build-up of tension.
Not only that, it enables employees to have a calmer, clearer mind, which in turn aids positive thinking, concentration, memory and decision making - a win-win for everyone.
Here at Key Wellbeing, we can help your workplace create better working, healthy habits, get in touch!