Every country has its own rules regarding working hours. However, these rules are occasionally tweaked to accommodate the bigger business picture. There are unavoidable circumstances, such as closing a very important deal with a client, meeting the quarterly sales target or preparing the yearly budget, which see employees putting in long hours. But if such instances are becoming more frequent, then it can become a matter for concern. After all, the ill-effects on health as a result of working excessive overtime, are widely known. It can lead to stress, high blood pressure and coronary heart disease.
If you are witnessing more and more employees in your organisation working overtime, it might well be time for a reality check. When an employee needs to work overtime on a regular basis in order to manage their workload, it can often mean that you, as a manager, haven’t figured out how to organise, manage and lead effectively in the eight hours of the work day.
So, it’s in your interests as much as it is in your employees’, that you find out the reasons why they are putting in the extra hours.
Too much work pressure
Find out if your employees are reeling under too heavy a workload. Are you setting unrealistic deadlines? Are your employees unable to effectively manage their time during the day to get their tasks done? If the answers to all of these questions result in affirmatives, then take a long hard look at your organisation’s working culture. It may need some serious adjustment.
Problems on the personal front more often than not reflect in an employee’s work patterns. If one of your employees is dealing with painful personal problems, for the individual, the workplace or the work itself may be seen as a safe haven from the other problems outside of work. If this is the case, talk to your employee about the health implications. If need be, suggest that he or she see a counsellor who can assist them to work through the issues being experienced in the other parts of their life.
Availability of facilities
Some organisations provide their employees with facilities like gymnasium, cafeteria, library, recreational room etc. This might lure your employees away during working hours and then force them into staying back late to finish their work.
Encourage your employees to finish their work during official office hours and then use the facilities.
Perks and benefits
Some organisations provide free meals or free transportation for employees staying back late. Though this can be a motivator, it should not be the sole reason behind working long hours.
The same applies for employees working overtime just to make an extra buck or two. There have been instances where some employees dilly-dally during the normal working hours only to work extra later so that they can get a fatter paycheck at the end of the month.
Employees should be observed closely. If they are deliberately staying back late to earn more money or reap the perks, it should be immediately stopped. But if a larger percentage of your employees are indulging in this practice, you might want to revisit their salaries. It could be time for an increase.
Some employees pull long hours in order to impress management. They believe working long hours is synonymous with more dedication and higher productivity with the possibility that this could lead to promotions and an increase in salary. This practice of a few employees might threaten those who choose a different work-life balance and put unreasonable pressure on them to work long hours too, in order to prove their worth.
If your employees are under this misplaced belief, it’s time you convey the right message. Long working hours don’t necessarily mean higher productivity. The sooner your employees and managers learn that, the better for them.
At Cegos Asia Pacific, we offer a course on Time Management. This course is specifically designed to help individuals (to):
- Focus on the essentials, dealing with priorities and ranking urgent situations
- Optimise the effect/effort ratio to enhance efficiency
- Stay ‘on the ball’ in intense working conditions
- Strike a healthy work–life balance
- Cooperate with people who have different perceptions of time
- Get organised in a fast-moving universe
Inquire with us today to learn more about this course at/contact-us/