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Engaged Workaholics Versus Traditional Workaholics: Who’s Healthier?


Research indicates that employees who regularly work long hours are more prone to heart disease, conflicts with coworkers and decreased job satisfaction, but an emerging group called "engaged workaholics" is immune to these consequences. Such workers not only put in overtime — they enjoy it.

Wilmar Schaufeli, a Utrecht University professor who specializes in work and organizational psychology, published research last year exploring the phenomenon of engaged workaholics. Such employees, he told the Los Angeles Times, are "pulled" to their work rather than "pushed" like traditional workaholics. "When a workaholic is not working, he feels guilty and restless," he explained. "To avoid those negative feelings, he starts to work. This is totally different than when you work intensely because you like the job."

Schaufeli's team found that engaged workaholics didn't suffer from the same rates of burnout as traditional workaholics. This suggests that they also didn't experience the same stress levels; however, it's important to note that Shaufeli's research didn't measure participants' health.

How can managers foster engaged workaholics? Employees must have a work environment in which they're appreciated and recognized for their work, treated with respect and given work they enjoy, says Dr. Bruce Rabin, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Are you an engaged workaholic? If so, what motivates you?

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(Photo credit: Alex E. Proimos/Flickr)

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