Knowledge@Wharton: The truth about being a workaholic: Why it isn’t always bad for you
Originally found at Knowledge@Wharton
Most people will agree that being a workaholic is a bad thing. The word itself, adapted from “alcoholic,” implies a compulsive behavior that could eventually kill you. It has even been referred to as an addiction by some researchers, albeit one that’s socially acceptable — even rewarded — in American business.
We think of the workaholic as someone hunched in a cramped office in rumpled clothing, sweating over a hot computer while the hours crawl by and everyone else has gone home. Or someone obsessively on email and the phone while they’re supposed to be relaxing on vacation. We say they are “working themselves to death.” But are they, actually?
Recently, Wharton management professor Nancy Rothbard put this long-held belief to the test, teaming up with Lieke ten Brummelhuis, a professor of management and organization studies at Simon Fraser University, and Benjamin Uhrich, a consultant in learning and organizational development at the Carolinas HealthCare System. “There are so few studies … that really look at the implications of our working life on our health,” says Rothbard. Their paper is titled, “Beyond Nine to Five: Is Working to Excess Bad for Health?”
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