Are You a Hard Worker or a Workaholic?

There's a big difference and not knowing it could be putting you and your company in danger.

Though society might tell us that working harder and working more hours is good, it's actually damaging both your employees and your company's success. That's why it's crucial to self diagnose your company to make sure it is made up of hard workers, not workaholics.

Here's the difference: Workaholics are people who compulsively work long hours, often on the weekends, and through vacation time. They are physically addicted to work. This could mean 12-to-14-hour work days, every day. A hard worker on the other hand, does not put him or herself in this type of danger. They might stay extra hours right before a big deadline, but they don't get to a point where they neglect family, friends, and their own health, to a sometimes irreversible point.

This matters to your company on two levels. Individually, employees are not only neglecting their health and personal lives, but they are experiencing less job satisfaction than coworkers who maintain a better work-life balance according to a study published in The Psychologist Manager Journal.

Additionally, because being a workaholic is an addiction, it's similar to alcoholism and other addictions in that there is little enjoyment experienced while actually working. That makes for unhappy, overworked employees.

Then these unhappy employees inevidably affect your company culture and team as a whole. Because a workaholic is constantly trying to outwork others, they become an obstacle because they can't work as part of a team. Their extreme approach to work usually translates to a disregard for unspoken bonds between coworkers. For instance, poking your head up from your desk every so often to ask a coworker how they are, is the difference between fostering a caring and respectful team, and a cold competitive one.

Since the hours of the work week have consistently increased, defying the workaholic mentality and culture is difficult to accomplish. That's why it's important to define strict boundaries within the office because modern society has led to smaller differences between work and leisure. Coming up with a structure, or rules for certain boundaries like enforcing a lunch hour, or encouraging employees to leave after eight hours, might be some simple, first steps in the right direction.

Since it's sometimes difficult to self diagnose, ask yourself the following questions to determine if your company, individual employees or you might be a workaholic. Then make some changes.

Are you a workaholic? If "yes" is your response to all of the following questions, you might be.

1. Do I work far more than 40 hours per week?

2. Do I feel a continual urge to prove that I’m the best among my colleagues?

3. Do I recognize signs of intense insecurity in myself about work?

4. Are my personal and work lives balanced?

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