HR & Management

Are you suffering from workaholism?

3 min read

09 March 2018

If you habitually stay late at the office, always keep one eye on your emails and struggle to switch off at night, there’s a high possibility you could be a workaholic.

While it might be the most socially acceptable form of addiction, workaholism is still a terrible habit to fall into, and can have extremely negative effects on your physical health and mental wellbeing. In a recent survey carried out by UK call-handling specialists CALLCARE, 64 per cent of respondents felt wages weren’t high enough to match business-induced stress.

With experts claiming that one in four people show workaholic traits, it’s important we recognise addictive behaviour – in others and ourselves – and the impact it can have on our lives.

Firstly, there are some obvious signs and symptoms of workaholism, but others aren’t as easy to detect.

Obvious signs

  • Chronic fatigue;
  • Frequent headaches;
  • Impatience and irritability;
  • Chest pains and shortness of breath;
  • Reliance on caffeine and other stimulants; and/ or
  • Self-neglect.

Hidden signs

  • Depressive thoughts;
  • Memory loss due to exhaustion;
  • Increased adrenaline and blood pressure;
  • Feelings of self-inadequacy; and/ or
  • Lack of appetite and poor digestion.

Working hard or hardly working?

Studies have shown that working long hours is not conducive to productivity. Stress can have extremely negative effects on our ability to work effectively. A busy brain will find it more difficult to organise and prioritise, for example.

Stress affects our ability to retain information, making us more forgetful, not to mention that you’re more prone to becoming distracted when you’re exhausted and on-edge. And when you’re stressed you tend to fall ill. But there are ways for you to break the habit – and in turn present such advice when you spot the signs amongst staff.

(1) Give your brain a break – The ideal work-to-break ratio is 52 minutes of work to 17 minutes of break.

(2) Don’t eat lunch at your desk – Taking a proper lunch break will reset your mind and can help keep obesity at bay.

(3) Stay away from your phone – Switching off emails and calls when you’re not at work allows you to properly relax, reducing stress.

(4) Go on holiday – Studies show that workers who don’t use their holidays are less productive and have poorer performance.

(5) Decide on a strategy – Write down a list of steps you can take to improve your work/life balance (e.g. I will only work five out of seven days).

(6) Seek help – Depending on the severity of your addiction, you may see the best results with help from a doctor or support group.

Workaholism is a serious addiction and can be linked to a number of major health complaints. If you recognise some of the signs and symptoms mentioned here, it might be time to reassess your work/life balance.

Gemma Harding is head of corporate services at CALLCARE