Originally found at Business News Daily, by Ethan Spielman
Conventional wisdom suggests workaholics must learn moderation and balance, reducing the number of hours they work, as well as the overall mental bandwidth work takes up. Otherwise, they risk potentially life-threatening, stress-induced medical conditions.
A recent study published by the Academy of Management, however, complicates this understanding. According to the study, workaholism as a condition is defined by a person’s attitude toward work, not simply the amount of work a person does. Workaholism can be a significant health problem when an individual fixates on work for unhealthy reasons, such as anxiety about job security or ambition for its own sake.
"While the majority of workaholics work long hours ... compulsive work mentality poses a more serious health risk than the act of working long hours," the study's authors wrote.
However, survey respondents who felt truly engaged in their work, even those who identified themselves as workaholics, did not experience a heightened risk of heart disease or diabetes. In part, this was because of a strong overall problem-solving inclination, including the tendency to address everyday ailments before they turned into long-term illnesses.
"Engagement is the key," said Lieke L. ten Brummelhuis, a professor at Simon Fraser University and co-author of the study. "There's a big difference between workers whose propensity to overwork and inability to relax after hours stem from absorption in the challenges their job presents … and those for whom it reflects, say, anxiety about the job or obsessive ambition."
Though an apparent workaholic can be a fulfilled, dedicated employee, it's difficult for a manager or colleague to discern simply through observation. Workers of all stripes remain susceptible to job-induced physical and mental health conditions, and a work environment that supports employees and their personal needs can offset the development of such ailments.
Continue reading original article at Business News Daily.
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