top of page


Corporate atmospheres contain pronounced and unpronounced competition. The competition is both internal (competing with yourself to be the best you) and external; sometimes, it can be healthy, but sometimes unhealthy. In that spirit, most of us find ourselves absorbed in the struggle to achieve perfectionism, hence overworking and gradually shying away from other sections of life, i.e., family, society, or spirituality, thus what I call workaholism. The term workaholism was coined in 1971 by minister and psychologist Wayne Oates, who described workaholism as “the compulsion or the uncontrollable need to work incessantly” (Oates, 1971). In other words, people are lost in work. So, what is the opposite of a workaholic? Read to the end…

Workaholics, like myself, at times, find ourselves easily susceptible to anxiety. We are ever looking at our phones or laptops, anticipating the next email, trying to secure the next deal, and over-analyzing everything. We listen to motivational speeches and pump ourselves to extremes because “you gotta want it like you need breath” and “no pain, no gain”. We watch ourselves burnt out, exhausted, and depressed, yet we justify it because we have big dreams. We have long to-do lists and convince ourselves that, if only we pushed ourselves harder, we could check every box on that list. The fewer boxes checked, the more the anxiety piles up, the more anxious and stressed we become, and the more we cut ourselves off from hobbies, family, and friends because we have already concluded: we have no time. We are busy. Our plates are full. We are booked out. And yes, the truth is, we are. We are because we let it happen.

Many schools of thought have come up with different studies to explain the cause of workaholism. One of those reasons is the work environment. The work environment significantly influences shaping one’s approach to work. An example of a critical metric to assess a healthy work environment is: Is there an ongoing assessment to evaluate work efficiency?

Timely execution is one of our core values at Lyawere. Our work is primarily logistics; thus, operations are 24/7, and the pace of work is fast. When operations are 24/7, it is easy to find oneself working all the time. However, that is not efficiency. To ensure timely execution, we need efficiency. This forces us to learn how to balance work and life to become efficient. Two things I’ve learned at Lyawere that I’ve found to be antidotes to workaholism and boosters for efficiency are Teamwork and Corporate Social Clubs. I’ve discovered teamwork vital in maximising efficiency and minimising workaholic risks. Think of a machine. When each part does its functions well, the whole machine works. The productivity of the machine is dependent on the parts. Equally, a company’s productivity is dependent on the stakeholders, and the productivity of an individual is dependent on the elements that make up the person (individual, family, community, environment). Lyawere also supports and encourages the creation of social clubs within the company. We have a running club, a swimming club, a dancing club, a walking club and so on. A workmate leads each club and thus creates healthy competition and motivation to be active. I ask myself, “if they can find time to swim, surely I can too”. It comes down to priority. Failing to do the things we love or be with people we love out of “busyness” is a failure to prioritise ourselves. We should love ourselves enough to care about every aspect of our life, including social ones. A balanced work-life lifestyle is possible, and most times improves the work efficiency we are all striving for.

It’s interesting that when we speak of stopping being workaholics, people ask, what would we be? Most dictionaries online mention “couch-potato, idler, loafer, chair warmer” as opposites of a workaholic. The key is to note that we are not aiming to be the opposite of workaholics but rather to refrain from those extremes and become the average workaholics and couch potatoes. The issue is that the new generation is allergic to moderate, and thus we constantly swing from one extreme to another. It is either a 4-day no-sleep grind or an entire weekend in bed, burnt out and, in the end, dissatisfied. Remember, the power to change to a satisfying and whole life is in our hands, and the time to act is NOW. John Nyangwecha, a talented artist on Spotify under the name Gweejy, coined a remarkable phrase in his soundtrack of “We Can’t Stop Now” that applies in this scenario too, and it says, “kama sio sasa, ni sasa hivi”.

By Mworeka – TLL (Today Lyawere Learns) Reflection Lyawere Group

February, 2023


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page