Excessive Work Is Problematic for Some

News Updates

Some might need to add “work less and relax more” to their list of New Year’s resolutions for 2011, a new survey suggests. According to a CareerBuilder survey of 3,067 U.S. workers employed full-time in nongovernment roles, nearly one in four respondents (24 percent) finds it hard to stop thinking about work at the end of the day, while nearly one in five (19 percent) said they dream about work.

The survey, released Dec. 15, 2010, was conducted online by Harris Interactive between Aug. 17 and Sept. 2, 2010.

About half of workers (51 percent) indicated that their workload had increased in the six months prior to completing the survey.

A similar number (52 percent) said they worked more than 40 hours a week, and 14 percent worked more than 50 hours a week.

Some don’t leave work behind at the end of the day.

Thirty-one percent said they take work home at least once a week, and one in 10 said they did so at least every other day.

Fifteen percent reported that they would rather be at work than at home. Nine percent said they were more concerned with gaining approval from their boss than from their family.

And, even if they are not working, 16 percent of respondents said they prefer to talk about work, whether they are at home or out socially.

All Work and No Play…

Though some companies might appreciate such employees’ unwavering devotion to their employer, those who engage in workaholic behaviors said they pay a price for doing so, such as:

  • Health issues tied to stress (26 percent).
  • Having insufficient time to pursue personal interests (22 percent).
  • Experiencing friction with their family (12 percent).

“With increased demands at the office and greater accessibility through mobile devices, the workday literally never ends for some workers,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, in a statement. Consequently, employees should be encouraged to:

  • Schedule personal time and time for family and friends—and stick to the schedule—with at least the same level of commitment used for business meetings and events.
  • Learn to delegate work-related tasks and responsibilities.
  • “Take off the e-leash,” Haefner, said, by turning off electronic devices at a certain time to take care of personal commitments.
  • Seek help, if necessary, through an employee assistance program or support group such as Workaholics Anonymous.

The Workaholics Anonymous website contains a list of 20 questions individuals can ask themselves in order to self-assess the impact work has on their lives, such as:

Do you get more excited about your work than about family or anything else?
Do you take work with you to bed, on weekends or on vacation?
Is work the activity you like to do best and talk about most?
Do you work more than 40 hours a week?
Do you take on extra work because you are concerned that it won't otherwise get done?

The site notes that people who answer “yes” to three or more questions could be workaholics.