This is how being a workaholic is ruining your entire life

Turning off from work can seem impossible sometimes, especially during the pandemic. But you may want to rethink your work style based on new research.

How we work now

Our minds were trained to stop working when the 8-hour workday ended. The commute home signaled an end to the work rush and a peaceful transition to home before the next day’s work. But home and work are no longer separated; with our jobs pivoting to full-time remotely, we’re now prone to working more than ever before.

Research from earlier in the pandemic found that American workers are working almost 40% more than the average workday, which totaled to an additional three hours daily.

That means Americans were working 11-hour days, which means the commute and downtime after work had been sacrificed.

The fact that the average American works more hours than a medieval peasant shouldn’t come as a surprise. There’s a constant pressure to continue to work due to the idea that more works means harder working.

It’s not a longterm plan for success with things like burnout waiting on the horizon. Getting rewarded for being a workaholic may be dangled in front of you before your next performance review, but there are long term side effects that can lead to mental and physical health problems, according to new research.

A new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that workaholism or work addiction is a serious problem for workers, which can lead to a number of negative health outcomes such as depression, anxiety, or sleep disorder.

The study defined a workaholic as someone who works seven or more hours than others per week, but not because of choice. Usually, a workaholic or someone with work addiction is having trouble away from work, which can be financial issues, marriage trouble, or feeling pressured by a boss, the study said.

It should be noted that workaholism is different than work engagement; workaholism is classified as a behavioral disorder where someone works more despite it not being asked or required.

The study classified four different work environments based on level of job demands and what was asked: passive, low-strain, active, and job-strain.

From the study:

High job demands at work are strongly associated with work addiction risk but the job control level does not play the same role. The prevalence of work addiction risk is higher for active and high-strain workers than for passive and low-strain workers. These two groups of workers appeared to be more vulnerable and therefore can suffer more from the negative outcomes of work addiction risk, in terms of depression, sleep disorder, stress and health. Preventive strategies, such as social support programs, should benefit from identifying risk factors of work addiction and vulnerable groups of workers.

Morteza Charkhabi, a researcher on the study, said there are many factors to consider for work addiction risk.

“We found that job demands could be the most important factor that can develop work addiction risk. So this factor should be controlled or should be investigated by the organization’s manager, for example, HR staff, psychologists. Also another conclusion could be the job climate like job demands of each job category can influence the rate of work addiction risk. Thus in this study we actually focused on external factors like job demands not internal factors like the personal characteristics,” Charkhabi said.