In 2010, more employees were asked to do more with less, which can create a work environment where some employees become addicted to work.

Work-life balance experts at CareerBuilder, the online career Web site, recently conducted a survey among 3, 067 U.S. workers. The survey results show that 52% of workers put in more than 40 hours a week, while 14% clock in more than 50 hours.  In addition, 31% of survey participants bring home work at least once a week, while one-in-ten do the same at least every other day. 

Of course, companies value workers with a strong work ethic, especially during tough economic times. Employers, however, need to be mindful of those employees who are consumed by work and have tossed aside all personal activities. 

The post-recession workplace reflects a leaner staff and an increased workload. As a result, 24% of workers reported that when they’re at home or out socially, they’re still thinking about work, while 19% often dream about work and 16% admitted that most of their conversations always tend to focus on work, according to the survey, which was conducted between Aug. 17 and Sept. 2, 2010.

Working too much can also affect personal and family relationships. About 22% of workers reported they don’t have time to pursue personal interests because they say they’re always working, the survey found.

Fifteen percent of workers acknowledged that they would rather be working than at home, while 12% reported the amount of time spent on work is causing troubles at home, and 9% are more concerned about their boss’s approval than their family members.

Besides the fact that workaholics become burnt-out workers who eventually leave the company sooner than expected, their traits and behaviors also have implications for health care costs.

In survey, 27% of workers have not taken a personal or sick day in the last few years, while 26% have experienced health issues tied to stress on the job.

"With increased demands at the office and greater accessibility through mobile devices, the workday literally never ends for some workers," says Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.  "While a strong work ethic is valued, a lack of balance with your personal life can ultimately work against you in the long run.  As the year wraps up, take inventory of your personal time and see where you need to make adjustments in 2011," she adds.

Haefner provides the following advice to improve a work/life balance:

1) Set aside personal time: You schedule business meetings and events.  Do the same for “me time” or “family time” and stick to the schedule. 

2) Let go: Learn to delegate work-related tasks and responsibilities to others.   

3) Take off the e-leash: In most cases, that email or text can wait.  Turn off your electronic devices at a certain time.  Take care of personal commitments and put the kids to bed before turning it back on.

4) Talk to others who understand your situation: Check out support groups such as Workaholics Anonymous and find out what others have done in their recovery.

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