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How to Cut Down on Unnecessary Overtime Work by Employees

Although working overtime may be necessary in some cases, it does come at a potentially high price. Not only will overtime incur huge expenses for businesses, but it can also end up overworking employees leading to a loss in productivity or even causing them to burn out.

Because of the risks involved, it is best to cut down on unnecessary overtime work. However to do that you’ll need to tackle the issue on several fronts:

  • Improve your deadlines and scheduling

One of the main reasons why employees have to work overtime is because of unrealistic deadlines and scheduling. In other words, employees are given more work than they can possibly complete during working hours.

The best way to improve your deadlines and scheduling is to use WorkExaminer to track how long your employees spend on different tasks. That data can then be used as a baseline so that you can estimate how much time tasks will take and set deadlines as well as allocate work accordingly.

  • Create an overtime policy

Every company should have an official overtime policy. Aside from outlining what constitutes over time and how it will be compensated, it should also detail rules for working overtime.

Ideally, your overtime policy should contain rules that help to reduce overtime. For example, you can set a cap on the total number of overtime hours allowed in a week, and only allow exceptions subject to management approval.

By using WorkExaminer you’ll be able to enforce this policy more effectively. It will let you know exactly how many hours of overtime employees are working through the detailed reports it generates.

  • Identify overtime patterns

Through the data from WorkExaminer, you can also identify overtime patterns and act on them. Employee monitoring software assists in identifying overworked or understaffed departments as well as individual employees who may be constantly working long hours of overtime.

Once patterns are identified, you can take appropriate action. For example you could adjust your labor management if you find that overtime is high at certain times of the year.

  • Cross-train employees to perform different roles

In some cases, it may be possible to cross-train your employees so that they can perform more than one role. If you do, it will open up options so that you can improve your scheduling and labor management and assign employees different tasks during busy periods.

While this method may not be applicable to all industries, it can be a very effective way to cut down on unnecessary overtime in some.

  • Adopt a flexible work schedule

Research has shown that employees are more productive if they can choose the hours they work and maybe even opt to work from home. In other words, by adopting a flexible work schedule your employees will get more done in less time, and not have to work as much overtime.

With WorkExaminer you can keep tabs on your employees and track their computer activity, browser history, and how they spend their time. By doing so you can effectively manage and measure employee efficiency even if they aren’t working on a 9 to 5 schedule or work remotely.

  • Talk to your employees

The best way to find out why your employees are working so much overtime is to talk to them directly. Set up one-on-one meetings or even discussion sessions and allow them to share their thoughts.

Be sure to assure your employees that they will not be penalized for anything that they share, and carefully listen then act on what they have to say.

If you follow these steps, you should be able to convincingly reduce the amount of overtime that your employees have to work. More importantly, as you start to take steps to reduce overtime it will show your commitment to treating overtime as an exception rather than a rule.

Generally, it won’t be too long before you start to see results as employees end up working shorter hours. Eventually, it will reflect in your businesses’ bottom line as well as employee satisfaction and engagement levels too.

In the long run, taking steps to reduce unnecessary overtime is essential if you want your business to remain competitive.

Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes a learning specialist, designs and delivers learning initiatives (both in-class and online) for a global and internal audience. He is responsible for the ongoing development, delivery, and maintenance of training. He has the ability to manage competing priorities to execute time-sensitive deliverables within a changing environment. He contributes to continually improving the team's processes and standards and works as a member of the team to assist with team initiatives.

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