Why ‘Workaholism’ doesn’t work

March 17, 2016 Geoffroy De Lestrange


Overworked employees, or “workaholism” does not only harm a person, but in the long term, it can also effect companies as well. A culture of "all work and no play" can be damaging to family life, cause high stress levels, and creates an inability to switch off from work when at home.

Eight in ten Britons are overworked, with almost a third ""burnt out"" or ""very overworked"", according to a new survey from The Open University, the UK's largest academic institution. Employees believe that working longer hours is one of the best ways to earn a promotion or pay rise.

Overworking employees can lead to depression, stress, damage to health and, ultimately, an employee who is less effective at work. Drinking more and comfort eating are two of the most common ways people cope, found a survey of 1,100 workers by recruitment group CV-Library.

Organisations need to avoid burnout by ensuring that your employee’s needs are respected and fulfilled by undertstanding the ‘work/life balance’. HR managers can implement some of the principles below to avoid employee burnout…

  1. Make an adjustment to the job role. Have employees lost interest in what they are doing? Do they want or need a change in responsibilities? Make a change to an employee's job or allow them to pursue another career opportunity in your organisation.
  2. Boost employee social support. Social support and strong co-worker relationships help employees deal with work stressors more effectively. Consider making use of your company’s “employee of the month” programme or annual award ceremony to recognise company and individual success.
  3. Avoid employee burnout. Regularly evaluate employees' workloads and adjust, delegate, and make other accommodations to make sure that they are not overloaded for an extended period of time. Helping employees manage time effectively is important, everyone gets swamped with work sometimes but planning and preparation can go a long way to prevent overworking and the effects it can cause to a business.
  4. Flexible working. The rise in facilities that offer remote and flexible working is making it easier to achieve a sensible work/life balance. Professional, flexible workspaces are available across the UK meaning that workers can avoid lengthy commutes and still operate effectively. Using a platform like Cornerstone Connect can ensure your teams can organise and manage their products. Include task management, social feedback, and goal setting tools to keep everyone on the same page.
  5. Manage the manager. Managers can be a source of burnout, particularly if their style isn't a fit for the employee they are managing. It is important that the manager also receives coaching and training on adapting their working style.

Use these tips and you can reduce the negative effects of overworking and help people to find the right balance between work and private life. Making overworked employees feel comfortable and valued will increase engagement, satisfaction, and happiness, leading to higher productivity levels and increased profitability for your organisation.

About the Author

Geoffroy De Lestrange

Product Marketing & Communication Director EMEA at Cornerstone OnDemand

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