TOWIE star Mark Wright has spoken candidly about his ‘addiction’ to his career in a recent interview. While the 35-year-old presenter said he would never put work before his family, burnout is a rising problem that the UK needs to address with one in ten employees admitting to having a work addiction.
With this in mind, Professor Sir Cary Cooper, Advisory board member at Delamere has shared how you can spot the signs and prevent work addiction.
What is work addiction?
Work addiction, also known as workaholism, is the inability to switch off your professional life. It is driven by the need to achieve status and success. Similarly, those who suffer from a work addiction tend to get a “high” from getting good recognition for their efforts and completing a task.
You work more than intended
If you find yourself skipping your lunch break and working long hours into the evening, this is a definite sign that you’re putting too much pressure on yourself. When working in the same space you live in, it can be challenging to establish boundaries and know when to switch off.
Delamere’s survey reveals that one in four adults increased their alcohol consumption during the lockdown in the last year. With this in mind, if you find the urge to break into the bottle every night, this could be a sign that you’re using alcohol as a de-stressor from working long hours.
You’re using work to escape your problems
People use their addictions as outlets to escape what they’re going through in their life. Those with a work addiction tend to dive headfirst in their work to distract themselves from the problems occurring in their lives.
You have trouble sleeping
As the mind is so alert during the day, people with a work addiction tend to suffer from insomnia. This is common when someone works in the same bedroom they sleep in.
Not working stresses you out
When it gets to the evenings or weekends, and you feel on edge due to not working, this is a key sign that you’re addicted to your work. This feeling tends to stem from guilt from not being able to devote yourself to your job all the time.
You are deprioritising aspects of your personal life
If you can’t remember the last time you made time for yourself, this is another indicator you’re working too much. Similarly, if you aren’t exercising, eating takeaways way too often and meeting up with friends less regularly, this is also a warning that you need to take a break from your work life.
Your loved ones have voiced their concerns
You should always trust your loved ones to let you know when something is wrong. If you’ve received comments about your working lifestyle from the individuals close to you, it’s time to take action.
What can you do to avoid work addiction if you struggle to put down your laptop?
Professor Sir Cary Cooper says: ‘If the last 20 months have taught us anything, we should be taking the time to switch off and relax with loved ones when we’re not working. If you have emails or messages coming to your phone, switch them off so that you aren’t distracted or thinking about work when you should be relaxing.’
What can employers do if they are concerned about a staff member?
‘If you are concerned that a staff member is becoming addicted to work, there are a few telltale symptoms that you can look out for, including acting withdrawn, looking physically exhausted, over-using substances like alcohol or drugs or using work as a form of escape.’
‘To help keep work addiction to a minimum, managers should not send any email outside of working hours, even if it’s work that can wait until the new year. For those that might struggle with addiction to their job, receiving an email like this could cause the person to start working again when they should be resting.’
‘Countries including France and Portugal have recently brought in legislation that bans managers and employers from doing so, while some companies will choose to shut down the server altogether.’