Researchers in Norway have developed a new tool, the Bergen Work Addiction Scale, that can determine whether you are simply a hard worker or someone who is addicted to work.
The Bergen scale contains the following statements and if you answer “often” or “always” to at least four of the statements, it would signify that you are a workaholic.
- You think of how you can free up more time to work.
- You spend much more time working than initially intended.
- You work to reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness and depression.
- You have been told by others to cut down on work without listening to them.
- You become stressed if you are prohibited from working.
- You de-prioritize hobbies, leisure activities and exercise, because of work.
- You work so much it has negatively influenced your health.
The effectiveness of the tool depends on the honesty of the person providing the responses. Consequently, if the person is in denial, the usefulness of the scale as a tool, would be diminished. Used properly, however, the tool can be used to effectively identify workaholics so that they can be helped through counselling and behavioural therapy.
Certain personality traits such as ambition, insecurity, perfectionism and narcissm lend themselves to work addiction and workaholics with such traits can make work life difficult for colleagues and subordinates. Because such people will generally deny that they have a problem and will seek to blame others, this ususally results in stressful and unhealthy work environments. It is therefore important for employers to be aware of these issues and to try and address them before they spiral out of control.
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