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7 Reasons Why Your Workaholic Nature Is Harming You And Those Around You

7 Reasons Why Your Workaholic Nature Is Harming You And Those Around You
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There have been quite a few articles recently saying that workaholism can be good for you! They claim that workaholics are unique in displaying dedication, energy, and drive. Obviously, I do not agree as an ex-workaholic myself. Workaholics are actually harming themselves and their families and friends. Here are 7 reasons why workaholism is definitely not a good idea.

1. Your health will suffer

Just think. If you are the type who has to skimp on sleep, meals and exercise because of your workaholic addiction, what is the result? Poor health, of course. Researchers at the Kansas State University have found that there is a startling reduction in physical and mental health when 50 hour weeks become the norm. The study took a sample from over 12,000 workers who were interviewed on a yearly basis between the years 1979 through 1994.

2. Your productivity suffers

Strange isn’t it? We have been raised to think that long hours are a sign of a really productive and dedicated employee. It is the old Protestant work ethic which still persists to this day. The opposite seems to be the case, however. Numerous studies show that long hours are synonymous with declining energy, concentration, poor decision making, and awful results.

According to the International Labor Organization, over 600 million workers are clocking up 48 hour working weeks and their productivity is suffering. Peru, Republic of Korea and Thailand are at the top of the list.

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One human resources company, Bamboo HR, insists that the maximum number of working hours a week is 40. They are very strict about this and the policy has paid off in that there is no burnout among their employees. They all leave they office at 5.p.m.on the dot. They decided this after seeing marriages break up and managers being hospitalized.

‘We trade a strict adherence to a 40-hour workweek for all employees in return for their commitment to making all of those hours productive and efficient.’- Ryan Sanders, co-founder of Bamboo.

3. Your working timetable is all over the place

If you insist on getting up very early and keeping irregular hours at the office, then you are in for a few nasty surprises. You will be more prone to irritability, your creativity will suffer and your morale will take a dive.

The best solution is to work towards setting clear boundaries between your work and your home life. You have to schedule in time for some quite time, exercise, or just relaxing and listening to music. Some employees are lucky enough to have napping facilities. These things can help to set limits.

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4. You are a perfectionist

Lots of workaholics are suffering from micro-managing and perfectionism which make things a lot worse. There is a dangerous side effect of this in that it can lead to a mindset which is all or nothing. There are no compromises and the task at hand is either going to be a success or a total failure.

If you are a perfectionist, there is a possibility that there are underlying mental health issues. These can range from anxiety and depression, to eating disorders and substance abuse.

The best solution is to try and change your mindset. There is, after all, a possibility of failure and this should not be forgotten. This means setting more realistic objectives and breaking the task down into smaller mini tasks.

5. You are neglecting leisure and pleasure

When workaholics stop enjoying themselves and their only satisfaction is reaching work deadlines, then there is something terribly wrong. They are likely to run themselves into the ground with disastrous consequences for themselves and the company.

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I know all about this as I ended up in hospital twice because I was incapable of putting these simple suggestions into practice. I was under enormous pressure and stress won the battle. But I risked my health. Lesson learned the hard way!

Try to set time and energy for doing things that you love such as taking your kids out, going to the gym or attending a school event. Another solution is to make sure that you are not available by iPhone or email. Urgent calls can wait till tomorrow.

6. You cannot switch off your laptop on vacation

How many workaholics do you know who go on holiday with their laptop? They are in touch with the office and they are always answering emails and urgent calls, You wonder why they bothered to waste money on the plane ticket.

The great thing when you switch off completely is that you can try out delegating which will give you a great way of assessing your staff. In addition, you will discover that there is life when you switch off your devices. Real life, relaxation, beauty, good food and wine, glorious sunshine are all waiting for you.

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7. You let work define you

This is all you are. Work defines you and boxes you in. Time to make a break. Just think about how many marriages break up because of workaholism. It makes sense because if you are married to your job, it gets tough being married to a real person.

You are also stressing those colleagues who have to work with you. This was the result of a study carried out by the International Journal of Stress Management.

It will not be easy to escape the workaholism addiction, quite frankly. Recognizing that you may have a problem is the first step. The second step is to repeat to yourself that long hours are unproductive. Let your mantra be: ‘work smarter, not harder’.

Featured photo credit: The workaholic NSA/ herval via flickr.com

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More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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