The reality is that today the issue has reached a tipping point. ‘Workaholism’ is not only common, but often an encouraged practice. Pulling long hours on the job to earn big money is considered by many to be the modern mark of success. This delusion blurs the lines between what’s considered challenging work and an unhealthy work-life balance, coming at a high expense for those people who fail to distinguish between the two. Health, relationships and even the quality of your work are all a stake.
On the brink of a burn-out
According to our Smart Talent Expects report, 41% of the UK’s top performing employees are close to breaking point. The study, which examines the behaviours and attitudes of UK smart talent employees – those who stand out with their high-drive and ambition – reveals that current working practices have a serious negative impact on employees’ emotional and physical well-being.
Whilst many hard workers are driven by a passion for what they do, people who seem to continuously be pulling long hours may also be crying out for help. For this reason, it’s important that management recognise how to spot a workaholic so the right support can be given before things come to a head.
Smart talent expects
Forward-thinking leaders realise that fostering employee well-being will ultimately benefit the whole organisation. Ideally, every employer wants to have an engaged and happy workforce. Still, the fact that it can financially benefit the business makes it an obvious priority.
Everything from work expectations, satisfaction, and career outlook can affect an employee’s well-being. In turn, well-being impacts employees’ abilities to think creatively, solve problems and spot business opportunities. It also influences their attitude towards their job, and how well they cooperate with co-workers.
Satisfied workers are more likely to perform well, offer productive suggestions and comply with company regulations. On the flipside, unsatisfied workers are more likely to be unproductive, disengaged, and uncooperative or absent without reason.
Still, while over 70% of respondents in the Smart Talent Expects survey say that a good work-life balance is attractive in an employer, only 41% believe their current job actually allows for this.
People thrive when they’re challenged, but they shouldn’t be pushed to breaking point. Businesses have a massive role to play in balancing the two. Failure to identify and accommodate to the needs of your talent also makes it incredibly difficult to retain and attract more.
The win-win formula
There will be times in every business where the ‘full on’ mode is unavoidable, but it’s important to realise that ‘full on’ coupled with the ‘always on’ is neither healthy nor sustainable. It’s the responsibility of every leader and every HR professional to ensure people are given the stretch to grow with the right balance of being able to switch off. What is more, well-being programs must be aligned with the needs and profiles of the workforce, targeted to address specific well-being risks and repeated at professionally recommended intervals for sustained impact and effectiveness.
Cultivating a work culture that sustains good mental health is key for ensuring employee satisfaction and driving further engagement. Introducing flexible working arrangements, implementing well-being days and ensuring every employee has someone they feel they can speak to in times of need are just some of the ways companies can reduce stress. When each of the above is also supported by smart HR technologies, employees can more easily perform under pressure and grow professionally whilst also maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
HR leaders must proactively seek to fulfil these expectations and pick a fight against unhealthy working practices. Only by meeting employee expectations for a seamless, collaborative and balanced working experience, will businesses be able to harness their potential.
Now is the time to focus on identifying practices that support employees and truly guide workforces to new heights. It’s all about working strategically and with the right tools to empower those that stand out with their drive, attitude and unique contribution to the business.
For more details about the report, click here.
Dean Forbes, CEO, CoreHR