That depends, according to a new study
Researchers at SFU's Beedie School of Business, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte have found that how working long hours affects your health depends on how much you enjoy what you do. Focusing on four indicators that predict heart disease and diabetes, their study in the current issue of Academy of Management Discoveries finds no evidence that long hours per se increase those risk factors. Even when such excess reflects a compulsive drive to overwork, as is the case with workaholics, poor health isn't necessarily the outcome.
Questionnaire responses from 1,277 workers at a large international financial consulting firm, followed by medical screening of 763 of them, indicated that although workaholism is associated with stress-related physical complaints, only employees with below-average work engagement were at risk for heart disease or diabetes. Workaholics with above-average engagement not only showed no sign of being at risk for those health disorders but were at lower risk than non-workaholics, suggesting a surprising health benefit of working compulsively at something one loves.