Overtime can happen from time to time, and when it does, it’s usually a sign of poor management. Some companies encourage this practice because it keeps the workflow on track during the busiest of times, offering a competitive advantage if done strategically. Employees exceed their normally scheduled working hours because they can earn some extra money, therefore, supplementing their base salaries. Excessive overtime contributes to unhealthy workplace culture, as it leads to increased stress, sickness absence, and higher turnover rates, meaning it’s not effective. Overtime is tolerable every now and then, but long-term overtime is harmful.
Keep in mind these tips if you want to minimize issues with overtime.
Plan Ahead of Time with Smart Scheduling
To plan and create a good work schedule, you don’t necessarily have to go above and beyond. Identify the busy periods and, most importantly, know who is available and when to distribute the workload easily and avoid destroying your glowing reputation. Looking at the big picture allows you to efficiently manage work across your teams and create a better schedule for your team members. No matter if you use the pen and paper method, Excel, or rely on an online scheduling app, you’ll have to:
- Understand your team individually
- Get a detailed view of the workload
- Follow a set of rules to schedule employees fairly
- Involve people in the process
- Use templates to organize work tasks
Despite your best efforts, last-minute changes are inevitable, and they can have a ripple effect on your workforce. Your team members are people with real-life problems, so limit the negative impact resulting from last-minute schedule changes – filling an empty shift and placing a heavier workload on your team.
Monitor The Hours Your Employees Work
While overtime allows your company to meet high demands for products and services, providing employees with a larger paycheck, it can result in huge expenses without proper management. As highlighted by the experts at TimesheetPortal.com, monitoring the hours your employees work helps identify patterns at the individual level and company-wide, so you’ll know which person is at risk of burnout. Keeping track of employees’ hours can be challenging, especially if you run a large organization, so it would be best to use online timesheets because they provide a simple yet powerful way to see how long any given task takes to complete or who on your team works most efficiently.
Allow Flexible Working Schedules
Flexible working arrangements can be introduced for work-life balance purposes, as they’re a win-win for employers and employees alike. Seriously consider this approach and reject it only if there are good business reasons for doing so. It’s not in your best interest to have an overstretched workforce, so let staff members choose at what time to begin work, where to work, and when to stop work. This way, they can enjoy more time with the family, not to mention limit dissatisfaction. If you have a task-oriented management style, why don’t you make the transition from hours worked expectation to tasks completed expectation?
Hire Temporary Employees During Busy Periods
As mentioned earlier, it’s common for businesses to experience fluctuations in the organization’s activity, but how you handle these peak times plays a key role in your company’s success. People throughout the organization will need to work hard during busy periods to generate much-needed revenue to survive the months ahead. The best way to prepare your workforce for peak times is to be completely honest with them, so don’t even try to sugarcoat it; if you want to reward your loyal employees, consider offering premiums for the extra effort. It’s not enough to set targets that reflect the busier periods, so make sure to offer rewards to match.
Employees can’t be at their best if they’re overworked, so it’s recommended to hire temporary employees that don’t require lengthy training. Their presence will allow your core staff to be productive, meaning they can focus on more important aspects of the job. Overwork means working more hours than a person is physically or emotionally capable of, so the last thing you want to do is pressure employees to spend more than their contracted work hours every day. You’re better off hiring temporary employees, as many have special skill sets, so they can help with important projects.
Treat Overtime as The Exception, Not the Rule
Overtime isn’t an ideal situation for anyone: employees are tired, and you increase your labor budget. Building a strong company culture starts at the top and works its way down, so don’t treat overtime like normal and hand out realistic timelines. Even if people choose to stay late, and they do so because they genuinely want to, send them home. Hiring seasonal/ temporary employees or freelancers will help you get through the busier periods. What you need to understand is that if you normalize overtime, employees will do the same; it should be the last resort, not the first, so change the culture of overtime to efficiency.
You probably think that the only way to catch up with top companies is to exert more effort, which translates to more time working, not realizing that when high levels of overtime begin, marginal productivity slows down. There’s no denying that working in addition to normal working hours can lead to increased creativity, but working long hours can have adverse effects on employees’ mental health, ultimately leading to burnout. Unfortunately, overtime has become an integral part of business culture, and, as we all know, culture is resilient and resistant to change. Actively work against a stay-late culture in the office.
The good news is there are more effective solutions to overtime, such as flexible working arrangements that allow you to retain a skilled and more diverse workforce. Freelancers don’t require special wages, and their productivity isn’t affected by a full day at work. Of course, if you want something done the same day or over the weekend, you’ll be charged a rush fee. All in all, while some costs are unavoidable, it’s possible to set your company up for success.