Are you a workaholic?

The Bergen Work Addict Scale was devised by clinical psychologist Dr Cecilie Andreassen and her team a the University of Bergen after testing 12,000 Norwegian workers from 25 different industries. Based around the answers to seven simple questions, the scale rates the kind of beahviour displayed by workaholics, which is similar to that shown in other addictions.


Look at each of the seven questions below.
Answer each by choosing one response from “never” to “always” that best describes you:
1 = Never
2 = Rarely
3 = Sometimes
4 = Often
5 = Always

Record your responses to each statement.

How often during the last year have you…….

  1. Thought of how you can free up more time to work?
  2. Spent much more time working than initially intended?
  3. Worked in order to reduce feelings of guilt, anxiety, helplessness and depression?
  4. Been told by others to cut down on work without listening to them?
  5. Become stressed if you are prohibited from working?
  6. Deprioritised hobbies, leisure activities, and exercise because of your work?
  7. Worked so much it has negatively influenced your health?

If you score 4 (Often) or 5 (Always) on four or more of these seven statements, it might suggest you are a workaholic.

A strong work ethic is something that is typically desired or glorified, it’s two words we put on our CV’s when we want to look like the right fit for an employer. For some people, throwing themselves into their work is comforting, and easy. When you’re ‘on a roll’ it’s easy to lose track of time and stay behind at work for an hour so after you were meant to clock off. However, like most things in life, there can be ‘too much of a good thing’.

One of the biggest changes for workplaces in late 2019 and throughout 2020 was the many lockdowns that meant that some workplaces went to completely online delivery. For some people, this change meant that they could spend more time with family and could balance housework with their day-to-day employment-related tasks. However, this also meant that times, the line between work and home got blurred. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) conducted some research on employees working from home. Participants included 3,143,270 people from North America, Europe, and The Middle East. These figures were collected from March 8 to March 25, 2020 (during the first Covid-19 lockdown period). The results revealed that there was an 8.3% increase in the emails sent after close of business hours, compared to the pre-lockdown time. And the average workday became 48.5 minutes longer.

This means that the lines between work and home are becoming increasingly blurred. It is important that we ensure that we are doing all that we can to maintain a work-life balance.

We thought we might offer some suggestions:
1) If you’re working from home, try to have your workstation or where you work in a separate room, like a spare room or study. This can be helpful in ‘clocking off’ after the working day and can be symbolic like walking out of the office at the end of the day.

2) Unless you are expected to work overtime hours or a job role requires continual work, avoid working outside of these times. This can look like: answering emails at 9 pm at night or taking work calls after 5 pm. Whilst these might not seem like a big deal or even hard work, it can create an expectation that you will always do this and makes it harder to maintain boundaries between work and home.

3) Learn to say ‘No’. This one can be tricky, but when you’re already feeling overwhelmed or overworked, taking on more work will only make things worse. Having an honest conversation with your manager about how you’re feeling can be the best outcome for business and employees. A happy, healthy worker is more effective and costs less than an unhappy stressed one.

4) Try to take some time each day, 10 minutes will suffice, to contemplate or reflect. Not only is this process relaxing, but it can also help you see things from a different perspective and look at ways to improve.