New Survey Reveals the Best Way to Manage Workaholics

According to Science Daily, a new study coming from Florida State University provides insight as to how managers can keep their workaholic employees healthy and engaged on the job.

More than 400 employees in professional and administrative occupations participated in the study and apparently 60 percent of them were self-identified as workaholics who felt “guilty when taking time off.” While they experienced more tension, they also reported pouring more effort into their work than their colleagues.

“We found that there is an optimal level of workaholism for job effectiveness and positive health,” Wayne Hochwarter said.

The Jim Moran Professor of Business Administration in Florida State’s College of Business continued, “However, when in excessively low or high ranges, both the company and the employee are likely to suffer.

Interestingly enough, workaholics were divided into two groups: People who had access to resources like rest and social support and the other camp. Essentially, people who didn’t.

“We discovered that workaholics really struggle when they feel that they are alone or swimming upstream without a paddle,” he added.

Job satisfaction surged to the tune of 40 percent when workaholics had access to resources. They also reported a 33 percent lower rate of burnout, 20 percent lower rate of work frustration and 25 percent higher rate of career fulfillment.

Unfortunately, due to the volatility in today’s work environment and the “ability to work hard, contribute long hours and demonstrate value,” researchers concluded workaholism will “likely remain alive and well for years to come.”

It’s not all bleak though as we can accept workaholism is here to stay. The good news? There are ways for managers to help their workaholic team members.

They can start by determining what physical and social resources they need and try to boost accessibility. For instance, maybe someone’s a workaholic since the team is too small and there’s simply too much work. Since the goal of workaholics is to contribute to the company and see how their efforts impact it, goals are more likely to be achieved when there’s available resources.

And even when there are resources, it may be a self-fulfulling prophecy. A workaholic may continue to churn out work and be viewed as a productive employee. Guess what the reward is for that? Yes, you guessed it: More work.

Managers may unknowingly give them more work and limit opportunities for them to recharge and rejuvenate. Hochwarter pointed out, “Having realistic expectations that take into account both the work and the person doing the work, is essential.”