Overtime is something that employers are familiar with.
Employees that work more than full-time hours in a week are occasionally compensated at a higher rate. Overtime is a way for certain employees to earn more money. Every now and again, they receive a few additional hours.
Overwork, on the other hand, is a very different story.
It occurs when employees labour very hard over an extended period of time without receiving a break.
The job load never relents, there isn’t enough break or rest time to break the cycle, and emotional manipulation might exacerbate the condition in some cases.
Employee burnout is the last link in the overworked chain. Employees who have been overworked for an extended period of time struggle to complete simple tasks, be productive, and may even develop physical or emotional impairments.
When you consider that 77% of individuals suffer some sort of burnout at work, with 23% feeling it frequently, it’s clear that overworking is a major issue. Burnout costs billions in the healthcare profession, which is a high-stress, high-demand position that is badly impacted by the present labour crisis.
Overworked employees are clearly a critical problem that should not be overlooked. We’ll teach you how to recognise the indications of overwork and the repercussions of ignoring them, as well as how to prevent this problem from wreaking havoc on your team.
Overworked employee signs
There are several telltale signals that your employees are feeling overworked. There are several signals, each of which may appear unconnected or to be its own problem to be handled. However, when all of these factors are considered together, you have a strong indication that overwork is an issue.
The following are five of the most prevalent signs:
Poor work performance is number one.
Employee underperformance isn’t only about lower production, however it is a factor. It’s also about disgruntled personnel who don’t appear to care enough to accomplish excellent work.
Poor employee performance may be caused by a variety of factors, but you should be aware that it is sometimes an indication of being overworked. Consider that, combined with the other symptoms, low performance might be a significant symptom of a greater problem before focusing on it as a problem to be fixed.
Employee absenteeism is number two.
Employees will be more likely to call in sick or arrive late.
Some will have valid claims, such as headaches, nausea, and other stress and exhaustion-related side effects. Others will just be looking for an excuse to sleep in or get some rest and avoid going to work.
Increased emotion is number three.
You’re fatigued when you’re overworked. You’ve depleted your energy “bank account,” and the energy you have left isn’t enough to regulate your emotions.
As a result, you’ll notice an increase in rage, irritation, and conflict. Employees may be openly antagonistic with you or other coworkers. Alternatively, you may find that certain employees are avoiding you, either out of annoyance or to avoid having additional work thrown at them. It becomes typical to see a lack of team cohesiveness and cohesion.
Employees may even joke that they live on the job or that they never take vacations. That isn’t a joke. They’re attempting to communicate with you that they require a break.
Negative consumer feedback is number four.
Customer feedback may arrive, portraying employees and services in negative terms. They may describe your employees as cranky, hostile, exhausted, or uninterested.
It’s easy to dismiss this as a one-off issue, similar to bad staff performance, rather than seeing it as a symptom of a wider problem. You’ll compound the problem if you try to solve the employees’ “poor attitudes” without recognising it’s due to overwork.
#5: Labor scarcity has a little influence.
Watch caution if you know your personnel numbers are low yet everything appears to be running smoothly (at least at first). You’re undoubtedly overworking your staff by heaping too much work and expectation on them.
Employees who work too much have unintended effects.
Overwork is a very easy trap to fall into. When you consider that 55% of American employees don’t use all of their vacation time and 60% of them work while on vacation, you can understand how difficult it is to keep track of overwork.
It may happen while you believe your staff are taking a break. You’re even grateful when they work on their break since it helps you out. Allowing it to continue, though, has significant repercussions.
Overwork results in less production rather than more. According to studies, persons who work 80 hours a week create no more than those who merely appear to work. When you put forth more effort, you get less in return.
Working more leads to serious health issues and unhealthy behaviours. Overworked employees are more likely to develop depressed, drink excessively, have poor sleep and memory, lose reasoning capacity over time, and have a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes. They may become hypersensitive to loud noises and bright lights, which might have a substantial impact on their ability to work.
All of this contributes to higher employee absenteeism, turnover, health-care expenditures, and the hidden costs of missed productivity. Once this train gets going, it will wreak havoc on your entire firm. Employers and supervisors will be affected by the stress as well.
Your reputation will suffer in the long run. Employees will perceive you as a taskmaster who pushes for greater hours and a bad work-life balance. This unfavourable review has an influence on future hiring, and it may even reach consumers who don’t want to support a company with that sort of culture.
Remember that overworking employees can lead to violations of labour regulations at the federal, state, and municipal levels. Total hours, break time, and overtime are all regulated by different legislation.
What should you do if your staff are overworked?
This appears to be a massive problem that has to be addressed, yet it appears to be hard to grasp.
It’s not a problem—you’ve got this. To reverse the overwork tendency, managers may take a few simple actions.
Step 1: Insist on vacations and breaks.
You provide breaks and vacations, but do your employees believe they will be able to take use of them?
They may be afraid of penalties from management if they take breaks during hectic days, since the work culture frowns on anyone who isn’t “giving it their best.”
As a leader, you must provide an example of behaviour that does not encourage overwork.
Although it is common for startups to give “unlimited” vacation, employees soon grasp what is expected of them when they witness their supervisors and bosses working constantly and for lengthy periods of time at the office. If you don’t take vacation, high-performing employees—the ones you want to keep the most and who are most inclined to overwork—won’t.
Make them payable if necessary to prevent employees from skipping them due to financial concerns.
Step 2: Hire temporary staff
Bring on temporary labour to lessen the burden if there is too much work to be done. Speak with your coworkers. Ask them where they might use some assistance and where temp employees could be a good fit.
Step 3: Be considerate of employees’ work-life balance.
Make it clear that your workers are not required to take their work home with them. Encourage employees to avoid replying to work emails or doing anything job-related when at home, with their families, or on vacation.
Allow their minds and emotions to rest for a while.
Step #4: Assist burnt-out staff.
If you’ve had an overwork problem for a long time, you’ll need to focus on assisting employees with burnout first.
Make mental health a priority, and talk about it openly so it isn’t seen as a taboo subject. Breaks should be rewarded. Don’t punish workers who exhibit bad conduct as a result of being burned out; instead, sympathise and work with them to reclaim a healthy work environment.
Burnout is a condition that occurs when someone work too hard. They aren’t slackers. You don’t want them to get away.
How can you avoid being overworked in the first place?
The best way to deal with an overworking problem is to prevent it from arising in the first place. There are a few options for doing so.
Step 1: Create a positive work environment.
Your workplace culture should promote mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Reward appropriate conduct. Excessive labour is frequently praised or held up as good.
Sincere and non-threatening contact with employees, both in groups and one-on-one, allows them to express concerns, request assistance, or flag difficulties. Make this a regular event; it’s difficult to communicate something as personal as being overworked with your employer if you only see him once a year.
Not all staff are aware of what is going on. When I Work assists you with keeping track of overtime and can notify you if an employee is working excessively. Employees can also be seen manipulating shifts so they don’t have to work as much.
Step 2: Give employees control over their working hours.
Giving employees a sense of control over their work schedule is one of the finest things you can do. When you utilise a technology like When I Work, you can use flexible self-scheduling to offer employees a say in the shifts they wish to work, and it also makes the process easier for scheduling managers.
Instead than going via management, they can trade shifts directly with each other. Cutting through red tape and procedural hoops decreases workload and stress.
Step #3: Improve your communication skills.
Employee-manager communication necessitates a sense of security. Employees must feel secure in telling bosses that they can’t handle any more work or that they won’t be able to meet deadlines.
There must also be clear communication to ensure that expectations are met. Ambiguity causes tension, which exacerbates the issue. You squander time performing extra effort merely to make sure your performance is satisfactory if you don’t know what sort of work is needed.
Step 4: Increase the number of staff you have.
It’s a no-brainer on this one. If your staff are overworked, you’ll need to hire more people. You must locate support, whether you utilise temp labour, permanent hiring, part-time staff, or independent contractors.
Burnout comes from overworking, and it’s how you lose your finest people. Especially during a labour shortage, the chances of it happening to your team are higher.
One thing to keep in mind is that your employees are your most important asset. They must be safeguarded. Make business decisions that benefit your employees, or you’ll lose sight of what really counts.