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Working Around the Clock?

Working Around the Clock?

August 26, 2016 In the News

Do you often feel like you are always on the job—answering e-mails and phone calls during off hours and/or staying late at the office to finish reports or to see more patients? For those in academia, do you find yourself grading papers and writing journal articles on the weekends? If you said “yes”, you are not alone. These “high-intensity workplaces” are quite common.

How does one manage in such an environment? Reid and Ramarajan (2016), in their article titled “Managing the High-Intensity Workplace” published in the June issue of Harvard Business Review, report from their research they found these employees tend to fall into one of three camps:

  1. Accepting: Individuals who accept their “high-intensity” work assignments as being most important. While these individuals tend to do well professionally, they may be at a disadvantage when career failures occur as they spent less time and resources building up other aspects of their life.
  2. Passing: Individuals who appear to be accepting of their “high-intensity” work expectations by hiding their competing interests and using shortcuts to meet their job demands. These individuals tend to do well professionally but may have a conflict because they are unable to share their authentic selves with their coworkers. They may have difficulties being a manager because of their internal conflict.
  3. Revealing: These individuals are open about their competing interests outside of work and often suggest changes to the work environment. Unfortunately, these individuals may not be perceived positively when it comes to career advancement.

What’s the best strategy? As you can see, there are pros and cons to each of them.

These authors suggest managers consider changing the work culture, by promoting work-life balance. This may result in more well-rounded and effective employees. Managers and employees should be open about disclosing their outside interests and not expect coworkers to make work their only priority.

Managers also should shift the focus away from the amount of time working to performance-based outcomes. Employees may be better served if they “emphasize results, not effort when discussing work.”  


Reid E, Ramarajan L. (2016) Managing the high-intensity workplace. Harvard Business Review. June 2016:84-90.

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