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Why Workaholics Are the Least Productive
According to a new study by the American Sociological Review, 70 percent of American workers struggle with balancing work and life, which is much higher than the global average, which consulting firm Ernst & Young found to be closer to one-third worldwide. That's not to say that only Americans get stressed by their jobs: a national work survey in Canadian found that work stress was the cause of 89 percent of the stress in lives of Canadians. Work stress is bad for everyone involved. A study done by Global Benefits Attitudes looked at workers in 12 countries and found stressed-out workers have higher levels of absenteeism, and disengagement than those with low stress. Numerous studies have shown that physical and mental stress can lead to a reduced immune response and open the body to hypertension, which can further decrease productivity. A study in the International Journal of Leadership Studies found women bear more of the traditional family roles and therefore have more difficulty with work-family balance; though both spouses feel that stress. On top of that, when both spouses work, and one falls sick, the other must often take sick days too, so the family is cared for. Overall, people with no work-life balance took 1.8 times the sick days of low-stress workers.
Studies have also shown that it's an easy fix. Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and France have productivity at or above the United States, all while the EU mandates laws promoting work-life balance like mandated family leave, more vacation time, and other worker protections. Adopting work-life balance doesn't mean caring less about your job, rather, it means having clear boundaries and focused goals. Having goals at work, and understanding how to achieve those, helps, but also know when to stop working. Taking a break during the work day (even for five minutes) can actually help increase productivity in the long run. According to The Harvard Business Review, businesses that increase work-life balance initiatives see greater productivity, and a less-stressed workforce. Leaving work to take a break, listening to music, and even being honest with your co-workers increases the balance. Having hobbies and out-of-work interests are also important because they help us decompress from work and set aside time for family and friends.
Do you have trouble maintaining your work life balance? What is your strategy for dealing with it? Let us know in the comments down below--as always, we love to hear from you.
Workplace Stress Leads To Less Productive Employees (Forbes)
"Employees suffering from high stress levels have lower engagement, are less productive and have higher absenteeism levels than those not working under excessive pressure, according to research from professional services firm Towers Watson."
Work Life Balance (Mental Health America)
"In our rush to "get it all done" at the office and at home, it's easy to forget that as our stress levels spike, our productivity plummets. Stress can zap our concentration, make us irritable or depressed, and harm our personal and professional relationships."