It’s a common misconception that more hours at work equals greater productivity. In truth, workaholics are less productive than non-addicted peers. Learn more.

Workaholism: The Silent Killer

Insightful managers look closely at employee engagement
by Mike Saxton, PhD

一道本不卡免费高清“Workaholism” is a word that many peopleverbalize, but too often use generically to describe an individual who works excessively.While that is certainly a component, there is much more to the term. What isworkaholism? Is everyone who works a lot a workaholic? Can it be unhealthy towork a lot?

First, we need to define workaholism.The term was coined by Wayne Oates in his book Confessions of a Workaholic (1973).He describes his personal experience and differentiates it from merely workinga great deal. Since then, his writing has been considered a seminal piece in adeveloping body of research.

一道本不卡免费高清While scholars do not agree completely(they rarely do), the definitions offered generally involve an unhealthyaddiction to work. Studies that show that workaholism — like addictions todrugs or alcohol — can have similar damaging physiological effects, includingwithdrawal syndromes, and psychological effects such as irritability and withdrawalfrom family and social circles. There are even support groups for recoveringworkaholics, like Workaholics Anonymous.

Simply working a lot does not make onea workaholic, and it is wise to look at the totality of the circumstances. Thereis another phenomenon called workplace engagement,一道本不卡免费高清 where people enjoytheir work to the extent that it fulfills them in a fashion similar to hobbiesand extracurricular activities. To the organizationally engaged individual,spending 10 or 12 hours a day on work is rewarding, not destructive.

Another question is whether working alot can be healthy. We can consider this from two perspectives: the healthof the individual and the health of the work environment.

一道本不卡免费高清An organizationally engaged individualcan find health benefits in working extended hours. When someone feelsfulfilled, endorphins and other chemicals can influence physical and mentalhealth in a positive way. By being efficient and productive during thoseworking hours, the organizationally engaged individual can also accomplishtasks that provide additional satisfaction and intrinsic value.

In contrast, a workaholic may “work”for extended hours, but they are not necessarily productive ones, merely workfor the sake of work. Mundane activities, such as indiscriminately scrollingthrough emails, waste time rather than produce results. The negative effects ofwork addiction on physical and mental health can also slow productivity, sothat it takes eight hours to accomplish what a non-addicted individual canaccomplish in four.

This leads us to our second consideration:workplace or organizational health. While most of us would agree that alcoholicsor drug addicts negatively impact organizational health, work addiction is sooften misunderstood that managers actually regard it as healthy. Far too many employerscling to the outdated belief that hours worked equal productivity. There is asubstantial body of convincing research that productivity is not determined solelyby hours present at work. Therefore, workaholics can spend hours in theworkplace accomplishing less一道本不卡免费高清 than their non-addicted counterparts.

一道本不卡免费高清Managers and other professionals need to be acutely aware of employee productivity levels. Measuring productivity should go beyond simply watching when people punch in and out. What tasks are being accomplished? Are organizational goals being met? Are there any indications that employees are experiencing greater than expected stress? Have family members, friends, or colleagues expressed concerns? Is behavior becoming erratic?

一道本不卡免费高清Given the time constraints in ourfast-paced business world, the energy and resources for such astute observationrequire serious institutional commitment. But by focusing on employee healthand work habits, organizations can significantly influence productivity and thesuccess of their projects and operations.

Click here tolearn more about Goodwin’s Management and Leadership offerings.

Dr. Mike Saxton has been an adjunct facultymember at Goodwin for three years. He is passionate about working with adultlearners and strives to develop a learning environment that fosters holisticgrowth for the student, not just academically. He uses his diverseprofessional, personal, and academic experience to offer guidance above andbeyond just passing the test. Dr. Saxton encourages students to pass the testof life through both successes and learning from failures. As an instructor andmentor, he utilizes his diverse background that includes higher education,wireless technology services, information technology, and self-defenseinstruction. He has served in Student Affairs as an administrator,instructional faculty member, property management, business owner, databasedeveloper, network manager, and self-defense instructor. Dr. Saxton graduatedEastern Connecticut State University in 2001 and 2004 with a bachelor’s degreein Computer Science and a master’s degree in Organizational Management,respectively. He graduated with distinction from Capella University in 2016 witha PhD in Organization and Management. He holds CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+,and CompTIA Project+ certifications.