Has work addiction become the “new normal”? Can too much work actually kill you? Sadly – it can. That’s the first “why” you need a corporate time management culture within your enterprise STAT! Staying late at work and not turning off on weekends seems like a good thing. The habit of working overtime and at the same time, remaining unhappy with ourselves leads us, on the one hand, to the risk of burnout in the long run, on the other – to the inability to plan rest. The first mention of workaholism as a disease is dated 1919. The Hungarian psychoanalyst Sandor Ferenczi noted that some of his patients were getting sick steadily by Friday evening and also stably got better by Monday morning.
“Karoshi”: Death From Work Overload
In February 2002, at the Toyota Motor Corp plant, Kenichi Uchino died suddenly during the working day. He was only 30 years old, and everyone considered him an exemplary worker. Kenichi never took time off and was happy to stay after hours to finish the next task. On average, his working day lasted about 12 hours, and the last month before his death – almost 14. He went to bed and slept at work until his heart suddenly stopped. As the doctors concluded, it was precisely his regular overtime and lack of sleep that killed him. Literally – dead by fatigue.
In Japan, death from work has a special word – “karoshi.” It is considered an insurance case; the family of the deceased is entitled to compensation. The history of Kenichi is far from an isolated case, and not even the only one that has been publicized. In 2000, Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi died of fatigue: his working day was 12 hours, and for almost two years he had only three days off. According to statistics, about 10,000 people per year die from karoshi in Japan alone.
If you take the American megacities, the people work very hard, and cardiovascular diseases still occupy one of the first places in the list of causes of death. We do not have such a thing as karoshi, and there are no convincing statistics of deaths from reprocessing, and in Japan it has been conducted since 1987.
The Main Health Hazards of Work Addicts
Scientists found that women who work more than 45 hours a week, the risk of developing diabetes increases by more than 60%. As reported in the Science Daily, the study lasted 12 years. All this time, scientists monitored the health indicators of more than 7 thousand men and women aged 35 to 74 years. Participants in the experiment were divided into four groups. The first worked from 15 to 43 hours a week, the second – 34-40 hours, the third – 41-44 hours, and the fourth – 45 hours daily or more.
As a result, it turned out that women who were in the last group were 63% more likely to suffer from diabetes than other groups. It was found that smoking, physical activity, or body mass index did not affect their health so much. Scientists believe that too long a working day, supplemented by household chores, causes a chronic stress reaction in the female body. As a result, this increases the risk of hormonal disruption, including the emergence of insulin resistance. The researchers concluded that men should work no more than 47 hours a week, and women who follow the house – not more than 34. In 2016, scientists from the University of Quebec in Canada found that people who work in night shifts are significantly more likely to develop cancer. They concluded that men working at night, the chances of developing prostate cancer tripled.
How to Recognize a Work Addict? Pass a test or check the table below.
The consequences of a labor marathon are, as a rule, very deplorable. At best, a person breaks down, writes a letter of resignation, and leaves to treat nerves somewhere deep in Thailand. Maybe to return rested, enlightened with an adequate attitude to work. At worst, he also breaks down, but quietly. He starts doing work worse and worse, although the number of working hours does not decrease. It comes down to so-called “professional burnout”.
How Can Time Management Help Avoid Professional Burnout?
Time management is an amazing thing. It works purely on human psychology. Alone, it helps to do more, while not turning into a workaholic. To others, it helps build teamwork and make the business successful and manageable. For example, stop repeating the same mistakes every day:
- to conduct long telephone conversations, with no visible result;
- change the sequence of doing things;
- confuse important tasks with secondary ones;
- be unable to deal with the mail (still);
- forget to make the necessary calls and blame the secretary.
And what about overlays with office equipment, paperwork, endless meetings. The first step away from kirohsi and into productivity zone is a corporate time management culture.
Where to Start Building a Corporate Culture of Time Management?
A person engaged in intense intellectual work is characterized by the use of three main blocks in his work:
- Block of accumulation and processing of new information
- Information output and distribution block
- Block of rest and relaxation
Each of these blocks is an integral part of the harmonious development of the individual. And as a result, the very first building block for any successful corporate time management culture.
Violation of the proportions between these blocks or ignoring one of them leads to a decrease in working capacity, and therefore, labor efficiency. Maintaining a regime of sustainable personal and organizational development in the long term, a high level of health and creative activity through an optimal combination of functioning and development modes is the main condition for the stable operation of any company, whatever it is engaged in: production of consumer goods, trade, services or anything to others. That’s when time tracking app will be the most simple way to notice the problem when it arises.
How Can Time-Tracking Help?
On the one hand, time tracking will prevent potential workaholic from burning out. On the other hand – it will alert the management when some extra time “appears” in the schedule of the team members.
And eventually it will enable the upper management to analyze time reports and optimize “the way things are done”:
- prioritize tasks better
- make decisions faster
- delegate tasks more efficiently
- notice when the team needs external help or a new member etc.
Plus, we’re all still human. The human mind has a habit of wondering. So a very important thing that time tracker can dщ for you is to help conduct a detailed analysis of the main reasons for “time leakages.” If a person knows in advance from which pocket a thief will steal a wallet, he won’t put it in that pocket. Time is money. When we know the main “leakage points,” we can easily avoid them. A recent study identified the main reasons that make us waste time in vain:
- Poorly organized exchange of information between departments.
- Problems with hardware.
- Spontaneous change in the order of tasks (imposed by colleagues).
- Lack of organizational structure and planning.
- Correction of errors (that could have been avoided).
- Indecision in business matters.
- Poorly organized and coordinated meetings.
- Distractions in the workplace.
- Excessive office bureaucracy.
Plus, a modern time tracking app will eliminate the newest issue – “report on reporting.”
It shouldn’t take more than a minute to report on your weekly activities on the job. However, if you implement automatization in your workplace, it leads to having a handful of apps and systems that track progress for different projects, departments, issues, and tasks. This basically leads to a half an hour struggle to manually fill the multiple progress trackers. With modern solutions like PPM Express Time, crafted especially for fast-paced multitasking businesses and teams, you will avoid this issue altogether. The app will connect to all your time-tables (from calendar in outlook to Planner and Trello) and project management tools (like Azure DevOps and GitHub) and gather the “intel” for you. It will create an entry per each task (be that a conference call, meeting, or a sprint). You’ll have to approve it in one click (or edit, if necessary, in two clicks).
A Couple of Tips to Build a Strong Corporate Time Management Culture
- Change the tempo: Often, it is difficult for us to meet the deadlines set by ourselves or set by management. An analysis of such situations can not only reveal mistakes in planning but also help to develop tactics of behavior in situations when we do not fit into the schedule. The ability to determine the pace of work and the amount of necessary information for its implementation will help us to plan the time needed to complete the tasks.
- Delegate, delegate, delegate! Many managers and managers who consider themselves very experienced and efficient, prefer to do what they could instruct other employees, referring to the inexperience and lack of education of their subordinates. This phenomenon indicates, rather, the lack of experience of the delegation of authority and the inability to train staff in the necessary functions, rather than the high qualities of a manager. By doing less, achieve more – this is the main motto of a competent leader. To earn a million rubles, one needs to work hard for many years; the other is enough to make one phone call. It all depends on the choice of priorities and orderliness of actions in a certain period. By correctly delegating authority, we free up time for creative work and, therefore, we can more actively develop in the direction we need.
Keep Calm and Carry on!
For effective time management, corporate culture, the ability to identify the presence of a stressful state, and knowledge of stress management methods are also very important. Eradicating the “cult of a workaholic” in your business is a very important step towards a healthy time management corporate culture.
Just like a drug addict or alcoholic, a work addict does not always recognize his dependence and, therefore, does not see any problem in his excessive diligence. On the contrary, despite the constant stress, he is satisfied that, for example, he has established another record for the length of his stay in the office. But the problem is, and the sooner a person starts to solve it, the better. Work addiction can not only destroy the career and health but also completely dissociates a person from society, deprive friends, and family. Work addiction symptoms work against a person and are good indicators that he or she needs work addiction treatment.
Help for work addicts is available in several ways, including behavioral therapy and hotlines. Therapy will also address possible signs of depression, substance abuse, or alcoholism. Work addicts may be presented with new boundaries, such as leaving their cellphones in another room during dinner or at night. They may not be allowed to take a work laptop on vacation.
While a rehabilitation program is more common in drug and alcohol addictions, severe work addictions can also be helped by this intensive approach. Outpatient treatment allows you to live at home while attending classes and counseling during the day. Many people with a work addiction find help through 12-step groups and other therapy programs and organizations such as Workaholics Anonymous. Methods of self-diagnosis, relaxation, and prevention of stressful conditions are selected in the process of individual work. Check yourself for signs of workaholism – take a test!