Workaholism is an addiction that is plaguing the average American worker. Research shows that almost half consider themselves “workaholics”, putting in four hours of unpaid overtime per week, and spending another four hours just thinking about work. What can executives and HR leaders do to support the long-term health of their employees and promote work-life balance?
Dr. Nelson says that improvements to culture are just as important as access to mental health services. In his piece, Nelson details steps that employers can take to avoid promoting workaholic cultures, including:
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- Educate and train managers to actively combat workaholic cultural contributors – Managers committed to repeating healthy messages about combating workaholism —establishing appropriate workloads, maintaining a balanced lifestyle, and “switching off” at the end of the day—are doing the hard work of pushing back against the false claim that the more hours accrued the better.
- Provide better access and knowledge to local workaholics anonymous meetings and resources – Similar to having onsite mental health care, making these resources available sends the message that the company takes workaholism seriously. Workaholics could benefit from communicating with peers who can give voice to the same pressures.
- Communicate the expectation that employees clock out, physically and mentally, when the workday ends – Employees may put in more hours to overcompensate to feel worthy. In these cases, more time put in is not improving productivity. In fact, the game of chicken between employees refusing to leave first may be fanning the flames before a burnout.
About Dr. Ross Nelson
Dr. Ross Nelson, PsyD is a Behavioral Health Program Consultant at Crossover Health and a licensed clinical psychologist with over 12 years’ experience providing therapy, consultation, and leadership across diverse healthcare systems ranging from innovative startups, government agencies, large for-profit healthcare organizations, and non-profit mental health clinics. Nelson specializes in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and is devoted to shaping and scaling next-generation mental healthcare systems.
Prior to establishing his own practice, Nelson served as behavioral health clinical psychologist at Crossover Health, providing healthcare to employees of large technology companies in Silicon Valley. He also served as psychologist at Kaiser Permanente, providing expertise, guidance, consultation, department-wide didactic training, and treatment for individuals overcoming anxiety disorders and stress.
Nelson is experienced in vetting and delivering innovative treatment — including live video/teletherapy and digital health/mobile apps — generating creative solutions for population health, and building effective mental healthcare systems.