Avoid the Overtime Backlash

1428647_14578464When companies depend on mandatory overtime, they must try to minimize the stress and disruptions it causes in their workers’ lives.  Studies show that as overtime is extended, productivity can drop anywhere from 10 percent to 50 percent.

So regular overtime can become very expensive when you add in the costs of redoing work and the increased compensation cost.

Here are eight simple steps that can help maintain productivity and health:

  1. Analyze your overtime needs. Look for patterns and peaks.  Adopt alternative work schedules that can reduce – or even eliminate – long-term overtime.  If two workers share a job, for example, ask one to work the extra time or split the time between them.
  2. Get input from your staff. Give your workers a say by frequently asking for their suggestions.
  3. Look for volunteers.  If you can’t anticipate overtime, ask for a show of hands.  If necessary, assign the extra hours with a schedule everyone understands and accepts.
  4. Be sensitive to problems. Try to accommodate your workers’ needs.  Employees may be more willing to put in extra time if they can do it at their convenience.
  5. Offer stress-management classes. Staff members who are equipped to handle stress will show more drive, energy and health. An added bonus: Medical claims, accidents and poor productivity will likely decrease.
  6. Provide perks. Free meals or pizza, a taxi fare home and compensatory days off all minimize stress and make overtime easier to take.
  7. Hire temps. In some cases, it can be more cost-effective and less disruptive to bring in temporary help during regular periods of overtime. Outsource work if you can.
  8. Show your gratitude. When employees are working hard and doing a good job, a pat on the back is always appreciated.


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