Are You A Workaholic?

Workaholism is a real condition that can have a negative impact on health and wellbeing.
  • Workaholism is a real condition that can have a negative impact on health and wellbeing.
  • Symptoms include loss of sleep due to stress, and finding it difficult to disengage from work.
  • With more people working from home, it’s important to create clear work/life boundaries to prevent burnout.

Workaholic is a term that has been used casually for so long that it has lost some of its meaning. However, workaholism is a real thing that can have negative consequences in a person’s life. 

Workaholism is defined as an obsessive-compulsive disorder that can have serious health effects. 

While you may think that your working habits are normal, you may want to re-evaluate that, particularly as people increasingly work from home and find it harder to keep the line between work and life from blurring. 

Canva recently conducted a survey about working habits in the United States. Here’s what the survey found. 

“The majority of employed US people work a minimum of 8 hours a day (71%), with over a third (36%) saying they work over 9 hours a day. Over half (53%) get less than 8 hours of sleep a day and just 22% said they enjoy 8 hours of leisure time each day.”

It paints a pretty normal picture, but lack of sleep and lack of leisure time can have negative implications in the long-term, including increased stress levels and a higher incidence of burnout. 

“While short-lived stress is often a part of daily work life, too much prolonged stress can have health implications, such as a lowered immune system, trouble sleeping and frequent headaches.”

While some believe the adage that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life, this type of thinking can lead people down a rabbit hole. 

Canva’s survey found that 84% of US workers would make sacrifices for work:

  • 60% of respondents would sacrifice their leisure time
  • 41% of respondents would sacrifice their sleep
  • 40% of respondents would sacrifice their family time
  • 20% of respondents would sacrifice their health.

As for the last item, Canva found that “there are several reasons why a worker may put their work above their physical and mental wellbeing. Included in the list are guilt for missing work, simply having too much to do and internal pressures.”

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Before you jump to your answer, keep the following in mind:

“Symptoms of workaholism include loss of sleep due to stress, feeling guilty or anxious during free time and finding it difficult to disengage from work.”

Furthermore, almost 90% of US workers said they had experienced symptoms of workaholism at some point or another. Canva found the most commonly experienced symptoms include:

  • Loss of sleep due to stress (45%)
  • Skipping meals because of work (43%)
  • Feeling guilty when leaving before colleagues (40%)
  • Finding it difficult to disengage from work (38%)
  • Feeling guilty or anxious when not working (38%). 

While it’s OK to experience some of these on occasion, particularly if your line of work includes high-season vs low-season, feeling the above symptoms should be the exception and not the rule. 

Luckily, organizations around the world are proposing several initiatives to help combat workaholism and help workers find a work-life balance (or integration if you will) that best works for them. 

The most popular of these include the 4-day work week, with 55% of US workers saying they would support it, followed by flexible working hours, which is supported by 52% of US Workers. Respondents also cited unlimited vacation days and a reduction in working hours during the week as viable options. 

On the other hand, there are some workers who would favour the 9-9-6 work schedule, which requires working from 9am to 9pm 6 days a week. Luckily for many, this initiative is only supported by 17% of US workers, which makes it highly unlikely for it to reach the US any time soon. 

Strategies to reduce workaholism

  • Write everything in your calendar. This means that if you need to schedule going to the gym, going for family dinner, or scheduling sleep, you should do it. 
  • Set alarms on your phone or laptop to remind you to take a break and rest. 
  • Avoid engaging in work when you’re spending time with family or having some “me-time”.
  • Avoid work during the weekends when possible. 
  • Don’t eat and work, whether you’re working from home or the office. 
  • Clock in enough zzz’s on a daily basis; this will improve your work performance and keep stress levels in check. 
  • Whenever possible, delegate. 
  • Leave your phone behind when you’re spending time with family. 
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