Working Overtime?
Here’s Why You Should Stop Right Now!

Why Working Over Time is Bad

The businesses today are battling with overtime and paying a hefty price for the extra hours. Can overtime be completely ruled out from your life? Maybe not! See how you can avoid overtime with some simple tips and tricks.

All of us know someone for whom working late is a routine. In fact, you may also work overtime often. We have been conditioned to connect overtime to performance and productivity. To say that overtime is an epidemic will not be an exaggeration. Today’s workforce regularly battles with overtime knowing very well that the damage is irreversible.

Why Do We Choose to Work Overtime?

Overtime is not always a choice you make consciously. There may be some unavoidable factors forcing you to spend more hours than you wish. For instance, working overtime is closely linked to peer pressure and performance. If your colleagues are working late and if you leave early or on time you are often seen in a bad light. People working overtime are given rewards and recognition sending a wrong impression on the employees. Lack of resources during peak seasons is also a common cause for overtime. People prefer staying back in the office with colleagues rather than going home to an empty apartment due to the factor of loneliness. For some of us, overtime eases financial problems.

Why Working Overtime is Bad for You?

In general, we know that working overtime is bad for us. But how bad can it be? Let us see if numbers and statistics can help us see the actual effects of it.

  1. Deterioration in physical health - You don’t need an expert to tell you that working overtime will impact your health negatively. Research at the University of Columbia suggested that even a couple of extra hours of sitting in that office chair daily can be as bad as smoking. People who spent 13 hours sitting (being inactive) instead of 11.5 hours are twice as likely to die prematurely. There are many more studies that have sufficiently corroborated a direct correlation between long sedentary work culture to heart ailments.
  2. Effect on mental health - Your mind is a muscle. It also needs to rest and relax after having worked hard. More hours at work mean more pressure on mind and less time for it to wind down. The result? Negative impact on your mental health. A study published by The Independent in the year 2000 pointed out that 40% of the people who work long hours are stressed and complained of insomnia, depression, overeating or excessive drinking.
  3. Work-life balance is hampered - A research at Cornell University highlighted that people putting in extra hours at work were 30% more likely to face marital conflicts. More time at work means less time for yourself, your social circle and your family which is your source of emotional support.
  4. Decreased productivity and lesser job satisfaction - Work expands to fill your time. Do not assume that putting in long hours will help you get more work done. You will just fill the extended time with your actual work and your productivity is actually less when you work overtime.

Organizations also do not want you working overtime. They realize that overtime decreases the overall efficiency of the employees. Some organizations also consider it a liability because overtime needs to be compensated monetarily. This adds to the cost of the company. Overtime also hampers the work culture and negatively affects job satisfaction levels. Employees may leave the company due to overtime and bringing in new people to fill the vacancy results in additional costs and efforts.

Avoiding Overtime is Possible

Ruling out the chances of overtime may not be practical, but you can certainly take steps to avoid it. In dire circumstances, even if you work longer than usual, you can make sure that this does not become a pattern.

There are no sure ways to eliminate overtime. But, let’s look at some tried and tested tips that have helped employees avoid overtime to a large extent.

  1. Plan and prioritize - Planning is an underrated tool. People do things as and when they come their way. An unplanned thing or two takes up a whole day. Plan things and prioritize that are important. Things that can be set aside for later should not take up your time now.
  2. Help but also learn to say NO - Helping your colleagues is great but make sure that you are not paying a cost for it. If your work suffers because of it, take a stand and refuse. You will realize that you are not only helping yourself but also your colleague by making him independent.
  3. Be punctual - Come on time and leave on time. Do not succumb to peer pressure, but don’t be too stubborn. Be a part of the team and help out when things get difficult. Train yourself and those around you that your time in office is limited. During that allotted time give 100% to your job.
  4. Use technology and gadgets - Technology can actually help you plan, remind, and automate things to organize your daily schedule better.
  5. Don’t fall for distractions - An extra coffee break or a gossip session with a fellow worker may seem attractive but it ends up eating into your productive time. Don’t fall for these short term distractions and stick to your goals.

Get Over With It

Overtime is slowing killing us and we are foolishly surrendering to it. Career, success, money, and fame may be important but everything has a price. And sometimes we realize this when the damage is already done.

People around you will find this shocking initially. You may be criticized or even blamed for avoiding work but take a stand. Put your 100% in your work and let it speak for itself. An organization is interested in the results you give not the hours you spend in that chair. You may not be able to avoid overtime out of your life but you can limit the amount of overtime. With just the right technology and attitude, you can get over with it in no time.

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