In reading a recent article about job loss and subsequent identity loss for some people, it became clear that it is possible for employees to become over-engaged in their work and over-identifying with their jobs. Workers with a great passion and interest in their work may be at risk for over-engagement.
The upside of over-engagement is that a job may not feel like work if the employee feels a personal connection and passion for the work. It may in fact feel like a dream job if personal and work interests are interconnected. On the surface these are likely attributes employers feel make positive contributions to their work sites.
Unfortunately, over-engaged workers may:
- Identify strongly with their jobs thereby losing personal identity
- Have unclear boundaries between work and personal life
- Find it easy to sacrifice family, friends, and health for the sake of their jobs
Here are some tips for ensuring employees aren’t over-engaged
• Make vacation mandatory
• Don’t make “busy a badge of honour”
- Avoid rewarding those who work constant overtime and penalizing those who don’t
- Employers should model valuing personal time by taking vacation, leaving early/on-time
- Reward quality not quantity
- Encourage volunteer work or involvement in community-based projects
- Support health and wellness initiatives in the workplace
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