Monday, December 15, 2008


Do we live to work or work to live is a debatable issue these days. With the growing technology there are so many changes and challenges in this world. From the initial attitude of working to live has gradually changed to living to work due to various factors and forces leading to workaholism. This led to higher stress levels and other health hazards like insomnia, cardiac arrest, depression etc., In this context, it is better to find what is all about workaholism.

According to Barbara Killinger, “Workaholism is a soul destroying addiction that changes people’s personalities and the values they live by. A workaholic is a work-obsessed individual who had gradually become emotionally crippled and addicted to power and control.”

With the snowballing global recession the employees across the organizations across the world are under pressure to work hard and are forced to become workaholics. There is already work pressure at the corporate world due to fierce competition everywhere. With the American economy showing the signals of recession the employees are made to work long hours. It is reported that the average work hours per person in America increased from 1942 hours in 1990 to 1978 hours by 2000, an increase of 36 hours a week of work. Due to the apprehensions of losing the jobs the employees are under pressure to work extra hours under the threat of recession. Failure to perform may cost their jobs.

Workholism can be defined as excessive obsession to work at the cost of personal and social life. In the words of Spence and Robbins, “Workaholic is a person who exhibits three properties: high work involvement, feeling driven to work because of inner pressures, low in enjoyment of work.” It is the habit of employees to work more hours than the prescribed working hours as they derive joy out of it. It is type of psychological state where the end result is either positive or negative and predominantly negative. For instance, it could be beneficial to the organizations and problematic to the employees. If workaholism is thrust upon then it has adverse effects on the employees and employers in the long run. It looks that the employee puts in extra efforts by working long hours but when we look at the effectiveness then it has no qualitative results. It is more prevalent in private sector than in public sector. There are six types of workaholism: work enthusiasts, work addicts, enthusiastic addicts unengaged workers, relaxed workers and disenchanted workers.

The rapid growing technology resulted into many challenges everywhere. It gave rise to opening up the information thereby minimizing the secrecy as it used to prevail much before the internet technology. Everything is opened up. And there is constant innovation to stay competitive at the corporate world. Failure to do so the same results into companies getting obsolete over a period of time. And the impact is felt on the employees who ultimately have to perform or perish. With an intention to survive the employees began putting in extra hours of work in their daily corporate life resulting into workaholism. The companies too treat workaholics as their assets. At times the employees like to set an example for others and also their personal superego result into workholism.

Workhalism when viewed from positive perspective helps in quick career growth for the employees as it offers recognition apart from providing better pay and perks. Usually the goals get the employees going towards becoming work addict. It leads to professional success of the employees but adversely affects their personal and social life. It is observed that the task oriented leaders fall in this category.

When viewed from the other side, workaholism leads to psychological problems and insomnia. Employees keep continuously thinking in terms of their work and as a result losing their sleep. It also gives rise to cardiac arrest, stress, depression, fatigue and adversely affects the immune system. Employees lack concentration thus resulting into accidents.

It is rightly said that all the work no play makes the Jack dull. The employees must see that they are able to strike right balance amongst their personal, professional and social life. There is a strong need to take time off their routine work like going for vacations or for tours to relieve their stress levels. At the workplace too, the employees should take regular breaks after lunch, do light physical exercises and talk to their colleagues. At home it is necessary to do yoga or mediation or physical exercises to ease their stress levels so that they can go for work with energy and enthusiasm. It must be noted that we should do what we love to do rather than loving what we do. Being assertive at the workplace and taking feedback helps in solving the problem. It is important to note that we should strive for excellence not for perfection. Besides setting priorities properly and managing time effectively also minimizes the work load so that the time so saved can be utilized for personal and social activities. Or it can be utilized for creative pursuits.

According to the research reports, almost one-third of working Canadians are workaholics. Globally workaholism has become a challenging issue. It has become more of bane than boon and more of pathology than pleasure. It needs to be addressed earnestly to make life worth living. It is high time organizations took serious note of this issue.


1 comment:

Jayachandra Raju said...

Hi Mr M.S.Rao Garu

Thank's for giving this type of Knowledge
Realy Very intrested.
Infact This is Fact.
Thank You