Working long hours at the office could lead to health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and anxiety. However, workaholism could actually be a good thing in some instances. The key is that you must love your job and have the proper amount of engagement at the office to mitigate any negative effects of spending so much time at work.
A 2017 study from the Academy of Management says that working long hours has detrimental effects on humans, but only when the worker has the wrong attitude. A compulsive work mentality could be the culprit. Attitude is everything when it comes to preventing health problems associated with working long hours. The study concluded that people who identified themselves at workaholics but who didn't show signs of heart disease and diabetes often have the highest levels of engagement and support at work.
There are several things manages can do to help people who spend a lot of hours at the office.
1. Know the Signs
Managers should recognize the signs of someone who works too much. Watch for people who ignore personal health problems, avoid taking personal vacations, do not take time for personal relationships or only feel happy when working on the latest new project. Encourage an employee who shows signs of working too much to take regular breaks or a well-deserved vacation.
2. Reward Hard Workers
Recognize high achievers for their quality of work, but also remind them not to go overboard when it comes to quantity. Working long hours can lead to burnout. Take a proactive stance with employees who spend a lot of time at the office. Praise their work ethic, but motivate them to engage in other activities besides work.
Also, try to be understanding. Once you understand someone's motivation for working so much, you can help them minimize any potential negative health effects. Perhaps a teammate really wants a promotion or a larger paycheck. Encourage the person by saying a promotion could be in his future as a way to say he is doing a good job. Then, let him know he doesn't have to work so much to be eligible for the opportunity.
3. Encourage the Use of Benefits
Companies offer plenty of benefits that can minimize the issue of working long hours, such as paid time off, flexible scheduling and telecommuting. Make sure that everyone understands there is no negative consequence for using these benefits.
4. Lead by Example
As a supervisor, you have to set an example, since team members may mimic your behavior as a model for getting ahead. Express that you love your job, but always maintain a good work-life balance, and engage in casual conversations with workmates about hobbies or exciting events that are not work-related.
Working long hours is sometimes necessary, but it's always important to model good habits to your employees. Go home when it's appropriate, maintain a good work-life balance and take care of your own well-being.
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