Handle With Care: New Study Reveals Tips On Managing Workaholics

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May 22, 2013 ‐ By Ann Brown

Being a workaholic isn’t necessarily a good thing. There’s stress involved and weird personality traits to deal with. But that’s where a good manager comes in. And a new study found that there is a right way to manage workaholics on the team.

According to the Florida State University study, workaholics tend to live in extremes, with great job satisfaction and creativity on the one hand and high levels of frustration and exhaustion on the other hand.

Wayne Hochwarter, the Jim Moran Professor of Business Administration in Florida State’s College of Business, and research associate Daniel Herrera studied more than 400 employees in professional and administrative occupations and found about 60 percent of these workers identified themselves as workaholics who characteristically “feel guilty when taking time off.”

Workaholics reported they gave more effort compared to other workers, but they also experienced more tension. They were more willing to help others, yet were more likely to view co-workers as feeling entitled.

“We found that there is an optimal level of workaholism for job effectiveness and positive health,” Hochwarter said in a press release sent to MadameNoire. “However, when in excessively low or high ranges, both the company and the employee are likely to suffer.”

In order for a workaholic to thrive, they need to have access to resources, such as personnel, rest, equipment and social support at work.

“We discovered that workaholics really struggle when they feel that they are alone or swimming upstream without a paddle,” Hochwarter continues in the press statement. Workaholics who said they had access to resources reported a 40 percent higher rate of job satisfaction and a 33 percent lower rate of burnout.

Moreover, managers shouldn’t presume that their workaholics are only self-serving. The study found that many want to be team players and see their companies grown (in addition to their personal careers).

Finally, for the workaholics, you have to make downtime a priority. A vacation every now and again is a good thing. And, take a look at your productivity. Are you working hard or effectively? Shoot for the latter. “Whether you’re a student or well along in your career, if your goal is to build a remarkable life, then busyness and exhaustion should be your enemy,” said Cal Newport, an assistant professor at Georgetown University (via Lifehacker), discussing this very topic along with some research performed at a German university.

“The solution suggested by this research, as well as my own, is as simple as it is startling: Do less. But do what you do with complete and hard focus. Then when you’re done be done, and go enjoy the rest of the day,” he says. Sounds nice no?

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