Exodus 20:9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: Exodus 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day:

 

Are you addicted to work?

workaholic.jpg (3958 bytes)

 


July 6, 2008

The Blackberry is probably one of the most important management tools of the 21st century corporate world. At least, so believe corporate bigwigs.

There’s no running away from work, office and targets. Technology has certainly blurred the line between home and office. And thereby, it has created a whole new generation of workaholics.

The eight hour work day is a passť. It’s normal to find professionals working for more than 14 hours at a stretch. Office has become the new home for many in globalised India. And the PC at the work place has become more powerful than ever before.

Ask Kaushal Mehta, founder director of a leading BPO and he says, “There are quite a few workaholics in my team. On an average, they work for 14 hours. There is no doubt that they have dedicated their life to work. And most of them are in their late 20s.” Ask him about his own working hours and he says, “I work round the clock. I am always connected to my work, office and colleagues. Even when I am on vacation, I log on to my laptop to be in touch with my colleagues. Blame it on technology, but that’s the way the life is now.”

There’s no doubt that technology has enabled us in meeting deadlines, connecting across continents, solving problems and much more. In addition to this, stiff competition has also played a vital role in long working hours. “On an average, I work for 12 hours. My father can’t understand my long schedules. But then, there is so much competition that one has to meet targets. There’s always a chance somebody would beat you in the race. So even if I take a two day break, I feel restless. Now, work has almost become an obsession for me,” says R Sudhir, a finance professional.

Even as the number of workaholics increases, it’s slowly taking its toll on people’s personal lives as they find no time for socialising. As says Priya Menon, a homemaker, “My husband works more that 12 hours at a stretch on many occasions. Being a workaholic, he rarely finds time for family vacations and social occasions. I have to manage everything single-handedly. He needs to spend quality time with my growing children, but it seems quite a tough task now.”

Are workaholics better at their jobs than their colleagues who probably stick to fixed working hours? Says Mehta, “It’s not a good trend. Workaholics, in general, don’t have faith in their team members. They are not capable of creating another team which can manage things.”

In addition to this, most workaholics also suffer from a lot of physical and psychological problems. As says physician Ankur Dave, who has been involved with executive health programmes of leading corporates, “Workaholics can’t give time to their spouses and children, and that definitely creates psychological problems. Thanks to their long working hours, most of them also suffer from hypertension, acidity and other health problems. It’s essential to strike a balance between work and life.” Remember, all work and no play will leave Jack a lonely, lost man! ([Saints See: BlackBerry backlash - Canadians are spending fewer hours than ever before at work; civil servants are building firewalls to protect themselves from home invasion by BlackBerry. For many, overtime has become more trouble than it's worth. What's behind this new (not) work ethic? What does it mean for Canadian companies? And for our collective future? There's even a fledgling backlash against that Trojan horse of technology, the BlackBerry, ingeniously designed to invade workers' homes and family time. In an effort to repel that incursion, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has implemented a BlackBerry blackout between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. "Work-life balance is a concern for our members, there's no question about that," says Patty Ducharme, national executive vice-president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. The backlash against long office hours and unpaid BlackBerry time is part of a complex shift in work habits spurred by demographic and societal forces. But it's not just older men who are anxious to work less punishing weeks. Men of all ages retreated from long work weeks during the past 10 years, according to Statistics Canada. It means that although the average Canadian male works more hours (39.6) than his female cohort (33.1 hours), the gap between the two is closing. Women are working more hours than ever, in part because more and more are entering the workforce as highly educated professionals. Women now dominate the ranks of medicine and law, professions that traditionally demand long hours. But women are much less inclined than men to adopt those long work weeks. Statistics show that only four per cent of women in the workforce put in work weeks of 49 hours or more in 2006. It means that employers will increasingly have to address the fact that fewer and fewer workers -- both men and women -- will be willing to sacrifice their home lives for the corporate good.][Saints See: Working Overtime Is Linked to Depression, Anxiety, Study Shows -  Employees who work overtime are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, according to a study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Working overtime was associated with higher anxiety and depression scores among both men and women, particularly among workers on lower incomes and less-skilled workers, Elisabeth Kleppa from the University of Bergen in Norway found. A European Union directive entitled employees to refuse to work more than 48 hours a week. Previous research had shown overtime and long working hours lead to fatigue and stress, which raise the risk of illness and injury.][Saints See: Long hours hurt business and families - Overtime is overdue an overhaul, according to our top Best Companies, who are keen to buck the worrying trend of working extra hours. Did you work overtime last week and is it a regular occurrence? Do you find yourself constantly going into work early and getting home too late to have dinner with your partner, see the kids or make it to social engagements? Best Companies research shows that too many people are working far longer than is good for their health or their company’s productivity. The statistics show that more than one in 10 workers are putting in between 10 and 20 hours of overtime a week, while just over 2% of staff do between 20 and 30 hours over their contracted weekly hours. And the numbers putting in more than 30 hours extra has increased to 0.5%. “Half a per cent may not sound like much but, across all workers in the UK, it would equate to 150,000 people,” says Dr Pete Bradon, head of research at Best Companies Ltd. “This data is very worrying when you consider the effects of overtime on people’s lives.” Of the top 10 firms whose staff work the least overtime across the Best Companies lists of small, mid-sized and big businesses, several involve employees working in people-focused jobs. When someone feels overworked, their sunny disposition is often the first thing to go. In a job where a lot rests on a smile, overtime has an effect on customer satisfaction.] Exodus 23:12 Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.)

Courtesy Times of India

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