When work turns into an dependancy | Training | Economy | EUROtoday

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In 2019, the lifetime of Juan Carlos (not his actual title) took a radical flip. Until then, he had a place of accountability in a multinational within the area of promoting, and his each day life and even his personal id had been actually restricted, recognized and absorbed by his work. With a world crew of about 300 folks making inquiries each day from Europe to the Middle East and America, their day began once they began working in Dubai (round 5 within the morning in Spain) and ended once they completed in New York, Chicago or the west coast of the United States, at 9 or ten at evening. Until a really sturdy nervousness assault that occurred in a automotive led him to the physician and a protracted sick depart of 9 months. He didn't see it coming, and his actuality, that of a workaholic, nearly price him a companion, household and pals. But, on the sting of the precipice, he sought assist and was saved.

A research by the Polytechnic University of Valencia, the Jaume I of Castellón and the University of the Basque Country calculated in 2012 that the variety of professionals who, like Juan Carlos, had been hooked on work in Spain was 4.6%, and He ventured that in simply three years it may exceed 11%. Although there is no such thing as a exact information on the present prevalence, it could possibly be round 10%, based on varied organizations. “I wasn't aware that I had a problem, and I saw it as something natural. One of our bosses told us that we had to have breakfast, lunch, dinner and dream about our goal, and I thought it was fun and also something that really had to be done,” explains Juan Carlos in a phone dialog.

We are speaking, remember, about shortly earlier than the years of the pandemic. Years wherein Juan Carlos (who right now remains to be linked to the sector, however at a really completely different tempo) lived by and for his firm, which additionally promoted that tradition of beginning when the primary one began and ending when the final one completed… wherever they had been. The favourite phrase inside the firm was, after all, dedication (dedication). “We were like a special breed of humans with a light that illuminated us and showed us that we could work hard. Because, in addition, we could get a lot of economic return and illuminate, in a certain way, the rest of the people around us, so that they could see that light of dedication and commitment,” he recollects.

Although work dependancy will not be an formally acknowledged dysfunction, it’s a actuality that’s troublesome to see and acknowledge and is influenced by work, social and private components that should be addressed with skilled psychological assist. And psychological pathology is, right now, the second reason for sick days within the office, behind musculoskeletal pathology, and has elevated by nearly 40% in recent times. Now, when can we actually discuss concerning the existence of an dependancy? How to acknowledge that an issue exists, and what to do then?

Work dependancy: signs and causes

Work dependancy happens when there’s “an excessive and uncontrollable need to work incessantly, which affects health, happiness and personal relationships,” explains Lourdes Luceño, professor on the Faculty of Psychology on the University Complutense of Madrid. That is, when every part revolves round work, and instances for disconnection, enjoyment and relaxation are principally non-existent. It is a dysfunction with quite a few signs that, nevertheless, are troublesome to determine with the existence of an dependancy, amongst different issues as a result of current social situations: “From a social point of view, the very busy person is a successful person.” which, with the event of know-how, also can work from wherever and all the time be linked. All of this promotes work dependancy,” warns Luceño.

Difficulty disconnecting or working too many hours will not be the one attainable signs. There can be the lack to delegate duties; intense discomfort when what was anticipated doesn’t happen; the sensation of guilt if you don't work; the deterioration of household and private relationships; extreme perfectionism; elevated irascibility; a shallowness centered on work or the looks of well being issues attributable to working with out getting sufficient relaxation, amongst others.

“There can be many causes, but it usually also responds to a pattern of emptiness in other areas of your life, which is easy to fill with work time so as not to attend to emotional demands, how I feel, family responsibilities… It is like a strategy to avoid situations that I do not want to face, so that there is no space to reflect if, in your life, you are and have what you really wanted,” says Olga Merino, director of Mental Health at Avanta. Health. Without leaving aside, of course, the factors related to business culture: there are organizations whose especially toxic or poorly managed conditions “make it easy for people to become extremely dependent on work, because it is what they seek and even penalize the opposite. ”, she points out. In Japan, this extreme addiction has a name: Karoshi syndrome, for those who die from excessive workload and stress.

As he descended the paths of his dependancy, Juan Carlos started to sleep much less and fewer, and ceaselessly linked a number of journeys in a row with sudden modifications in schedule: within the firm they known as them journeys. Red Eyes, of “red eyes”. She barely slept two or three hours throughout which she, actually, dreamed about work. “I would fall asleep due to exhaustion, because my body and my brain couldn't handle it anymore; but the little time I slept reactivated me and, since I had the possibility of being able to work, because there were already people working [en algún lugar] “He asked me for my opinion, so he did it,” he explains. This made me gradually isolate myself from things: family, colleagues, friends… And his mood changed, becoming more irascible both at home and at work.

The inability to disconnect from work is one of the symptoms that indicate the presence of a disorder.
The inability to disconnect from work is one of the symptoms that indicate the presence of a disorder.Paul Harizan (Getty Images)

What consequences does work addiction have?

The consequences of this type of disorder are, as has already been seen, numerous, both psychologically and physically and emotionally. Firstly, because it ends up leading to “the abandonment of people who can be references in your life, because you yourself withdraw from your friends and family; It can cause a very extreme emptiness and loneliness, and the level of self-care is lower, because we neither eat nor sleep well,” says Elisa Moreno, occupational well being coordinator on the Madrid College of Psychologists. “And, in the end, that emptiness is existential, because they take away your job and you are no longer anyone. In some way, the human being is reified as something from which we obtain a return.”

But the consequences are also physical, as Luceño states: “These are people who have high levels of stress maintained over time, which can lead to a lot of related diseases: problems in the immune system, cardiovascular disorders, skin problems, diabetes, sleep disorders, depression or anxiety.”

The problem is that, most of the time (and as happened to Juan Carlos), people are not aware that they have a problem, and in fact it is those around them who usually notice it first. Until something goes wrong on a physical level, they go to the doctor and only then do they begin to be aware that there is something that they have not managed well. “Suddenly they have a pathology, and the doctor recommends at least three or four months of sick leave. So, when I work with them, I ask them about the time they have spent with their family, their friends or their hobbies in the last six months. And there are people who start to cry, because they realize that they have abandoned many things that were an important part of their lives,” says Moreno.

Beyond the necessary professional help, to overcome work addiction it is necessary to recover some fundamental health habits and balance those aforementioned relational areas, because life cannot be exclusively based on work. Ultimately, it is about putting everything on the scale of self-care, “and from time to time, weighing the degree of satisfaction and obligation I have in each of the areas of my life. If the balance is balanced, there is no problem, but normally, when we enter a phase of illness, that is when the obligation already weighs so heavily on me that satisfaction becomes increasingly minimized,” says Moreno.

The importance of corporate culture

All the experts consulted point out the importance of corporate culture in the emotional well-being of workers and, ultimately, the appearance of mental health problems. For this reason, strategic management of corporate culture “must promote a balance between work and family life, and take into consideration aspects such as work-life balance and the right to rest. Disconnection is not only necessary, it is imposed by law,” defends Luis Miguel Romero, professor of Management and Direction of Strategic Communication at the Rey Juan Carlos University of Madrid. “There are many organizations in which overexploitation is promoted, and even rewarded… In highly competitive fields, employees work excessively to prove their worth, even if this means a significant loss of their quality of life.”

From the perspective of organizational strategy, emotional well-being and adequate management of emotions are increasingly important. Not only for health reasons, but for the company's own benefit, since these types of problems, sick leave and disorders have a clearly negative impact on performance and the appearance of errors and accidents at work. The message, little by little, is getting through: “There are more and more companies that, through psychology professionals, facilitate psychoeducation courses, providing them with tools and skills for care and emotional management,” admits Merino.

Guaranteeing a healthy culture within companies involves, according to Romero, “encouraging open and transparent communication between peers and between members and leaders (horizontal and vertical), promoting conciliation and offering opportunities for professional development and growth, recognizing and rewarding work well done.” But also providing support to employees with emotional difficulties; detecting and controlling toxic leadership; and providing workers with communication and conflict resolution tools; of emotional management and healthy habits and even organization.

Relevant training to address occupational health

Whether from the field of psychology or Human Resources, there are training courses of all kinds focused on talent management, employee care policies, the Health 360 concept, mindfulness, emotional leadership and even cognitive-behavioral therapies, very useful in the case of a disorder like the one at hand. Courses, master's degrees and specializations taught by universities, business schools and training centers that can also be found on platforms such as Emagister.

If you want more extensive training, Luceño recommends completing a master's degree in occupational risk prevention, since one of the areas he works on is work psychosociology, “which would come with the analysis of psychosocial dangers (the situations of the work setting associated to the group, the content material of the work and the efficiency of duties which have the capability to have an effect on each the well-being and well being of staff). However, Merino finally ends up claiming an absence: that of particular coaching in occupational psychological well being, “which does not exist and should exist.”

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