The Fine Line Between Hard Worker and Workaholic

As an employer, you value hard work and dedication from your employees. Encouraging and praising a strong work ethic is an important factor in having a positive company culture. However, being a hard worker and being a workaholic are two different things. What are some of the key differences between these two types of individuals? We have made a few observations to help you see what separates healthy commitment from unhealthy compulsivity:

  • Hard workers arrive to the office every day on time. However, when a situation arises that they have no control over, they demonstrate flexibility and take the situation in stride. They communicate honestly about why they are not able to come in and give a plan as to how they will make-up what they are missing. Workaholics on the other hand will come in to the office despite illness, poor weather conditions, and other important life priorities.

  • Hard workers are passionate. When it’s time to change gears, they are as invested in the tailgate party, card game, violin recital, shopping trip, or beach weekend as they are in their job. Workaholics view these events as distractions and rarely make time for plans other than work.

  • Hard workers ignore their phone when at the table with friends and family. They are fully present in the moment. Workaholics, however, continually check their phones for emails and messages.

  • Hard workers take yearly vacations. Workaholics tend to have many PTO days they never end up using.

  • Hard workers are healthy and well-adjusted with an active social life and diverse interests. Workaholics tend to miss social events and forget to make time for their interests and hobbies.

Which one of these two categories of people will be more productive in your workplace? If you guessed the hard worker, you’re correct. Hard workers can start to have some workaholic tendencies, which is why it’s important to make note of these observations. You should absolutely encourage your employees to show commitment to the company, but as the employer you should also ask them about their work-life balance from time to time. These types on conversations encourage innovation, teamwork, clear thinking, and flexibility.

Here are three tangible steps you can implement as an employer to maintain a healthy work environment for your employees.

  1. Actively reach out to those with workaholic tendencies. Chat with them in private and ask politely about the state of their health and current workload. Listen closely to the answers and offer help where you are able.

  2. Suggest time off. Look at their current PTO and see how many unused days they still have. Workaholics might need the verbal affirmation from you that it truly is okay for them to take time off work.

  3. Support dedication, not overworking. A toxic culture is one that encourages employees to come in when they’re sick, or to engage in cutthroat competition with their own teammates. Set a positive example for your entire workplace by praising commitment, not only to work responsibilities but community volunteering or time with family, etc.

Strive to encourage your employees in all they are doing. If you can help them celebrate the progress that is made along with reminding them of healthy boundaries, your employees will be equipped and well-rounded in their roles. If you have further questions on this, please reach out to us at Palmer Group. Our staff has tips and tricks to help you keep your employees not just busy, but also happy, healthy, flexible, innovative, and engaged.