Are you addicted to work?


Are you addicted to work?

Are you addicted to work? Another reason to increase personal accountability for wellbeing at work.

Over the past ten years the focus on employee engagement and improved leadership has meant thankfully many more people are genuinely in roles that play to their strengths, give meaning and purpose, support positive relationships and that ultimately they enjoy.

Me included. I really do love what I do, I use my strengths every single day and get an amazing sense of fulfilment from my work. I constantly have to juggle this love for my work with my other life demands of being a full time working mum to my little ones, remember to feed the increasing menagerie of animals, not forget my family celebrations and tending to my important friendships as well as trying to be a great wife. But I have to admit I get such a rich sense of thriving and flourishing in my work that often I have to reign myself in.

I know I’m not the only one. I often hear people say to me jokingly “it’s easier to be at work” and it resonates. Chatting with other parents this week at the school gates hearing people say how much work they’ve got done now kids are back at school with a big smile on their face. It’s an environment I know, I can influence and can achieve and feel productive and capable, top of my game. I don’t have a nanny, house husband or able parents to support my constant juggling and when one of life’s big challenges comes my way it’s harder than hard to get through it, but we do. And often it’s work that helps me, something constant, something meaningful, supportive work relationships, but above all for me it’s the achievement of moving things forward. I expect it’s something different for everyone depending on what they enjoy most in their work.

The balance to ensure that I am indeed still focusing on other key areas of my life is my responsibility, not anyone else’s. I have my own reminders on my desk, pictures of my kids and their latest masterpieces, yet I still regularly find myself sprinting out of the door to go pick them up on time because I’ve been completely absorbed in another fascinating piece of work. I’ve allowed myself to be completely absorbed even though I’m fully aware that I should be packing up to go.

There is always more work. It will never be finished. At school our kids are constantly taught to stretch and grow in their learning and this is the same in modern L&D approaches in organisations. Everything is a journey full of opportunities and possibilities so it is only us, ourselves, who can determine where we draw the line.

I hear people go on about the hours they do as if it’s always someone else’s fault, yet I know lots of people love being busy, needed, included, required in back to back meetings, it boosts how important people feel about themselves even if it means they are still working late and other parts of their life suffer. It can tip over the edge and have a huge influence on our identity. I also know that our increase in work/life integration is not a bad thing for everyone – I know my crazy working hours allow me to be the best mum I can be by swapping daytime hours for night time or weekend working. And now LinkedIn has a green dot on those online I can see lots of people are indeed working different hours because they choose to also.

So increasing people’s knowledge of what positive wellbeing is, guiding learning of skills to equip us and giving confidence in ourselves to know how and when to balance our life priorities is key. We are only going to be more empowered in work in the future so equipping people to lead themselves effectively and take care of their wellbeing at work is fundamental as a preventative approach for all people in organisations in addition to and alongside the more targeted interventions for those struggling at a crisis point.

Alex Bailey

For more information on our wellbeing programmes, including our wellbeing conversation mat, workshops and notebooks, email us or call +44 1273 830 830. To purchase the wellbeing conversation mats and notebooks directly via our online shop click here.

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