Do you feel like you never truly switch off from work?

Does it feel like there is always someone to call or an email to read or reply to?

Does your work feel like an addiction that you constantly need to feed?

If the answer is yes to these questions, you could be suffering from workaholism.

Workaholism is “the compulsion or the uncontrollable need to work incessantly”, which was first coined in 1971 by the psychologist Wayne Oates (1971).

Workaholism is an addiction that can change your values and have a significant impact on your relationships and your health. And it’s not to be confused with work engagement.

Work engagement on the other hand, can be defined as “a positive, fulfilling, work-related state of mind that is characterized by vigour, dedication and absorption” (Schaufeli, Salanova, González-Romá & Bakker, 2002).

The behaviors of workaholics and engaged workers can appear similar because in both cases workaholics and engaged workers often work harder and longer than others.

Yet researchers have come up with several key differences between workaholism and work engagement as outlined in this table.

(Van Beek et. al., 2011, 2012; Schuafeli et. al., 2008; Taris et. al., 2010; Van Wijhe et. al., 2011)

If you find yourself resonating more with the right hand side than the left hand side of this table, you may not just be a hard worker but verging towards a workaholic.

And this isn’t something to celebrate.

Workaholics can find it hard to be present with their colleagues, family and friends, and can struggle to maintain a balance between their work and their personal lives. They are known to stay late unnecessarily and procrastinate intensely, they can fail to delegate effectively and aren’t considered team players. If you notice any of your colleagues displaying these traits, it might be a good idea to check in with them to make sure they’re ok. And people managers have a duty of care to do so.

Workaholism has become so much of an issue in our country that Workaholics Anonymous (WA) groups have even been formed in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide, and their presence is growing. WA offers a twelve-step program for people identifying themselves as “powerless over compulsive work, worry or activity.”

So if you are interested in finding out whether you or someone you know is a workaholic, you can have a look at this list of 20 questions.

And once done, please down the tools.