Potential Consequences Of Too Many Extra Working Hours
1st March 2019
Croner Associate Director Paul Holcroft reacts to TUC's latest study.
An employer whose workforce regularly stays past their normal hours may count themselves lucky that their team has a ‘good work ethic'. But these employers may do well to think again with a renewed focus on what actually is the best way to get the most out of their employees; both employee wellbeing and overall business productivity are likely to benefit.
Overwork can actually have the opposite effect of that which it is trying to achieve. Tired employees may well make more mistakes which means that a piece of work needs to be done again, or an order is sent out wrong leading to customer complaints. Tasks can start to take longer because an employee finds it difficult to keep concentration and procrastination may start to creep in, slowing productivity again.
Along the same lines, too much work can lead to employees feeling overwhelmed, even by small tasks. They may find themselves starting a project but being unable to finish it because something else lands on their desk. The ‘to do' list gets longer and longer and nothing actually ever gets crossed off.
The impact of stress caused by overwork is not likely to be restricted to the workplace so employees may find themselves becoming withdrawn from their usual social life or other outside interests. Employees who identify work as the reason for their unhappiness may decide enough is enough and look for other work. Employers end up losing skilled staff who may otherwise have been happy in their role.
Employees who don't feel able to cope are more likely to take time off work because they feel they just can't face the day. This direct effect on an employer's productivity may be as severe as presenteeism, which is where the employee is present at work but productivity levels are low.
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