Your Questions Answered

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Q: I have a couple of employees who will always volunteer themselves for overtime, and will regularly work more than 60 hours a week, but I constantly find them dawdling during their normal shifts and not completing work as quickly as it should be. How can I improve their performance and cut back on their overtime – which would not be needed if they were more productive during the day?

A: The fatigue caused by regularly working long periods of overtime costs the UK between £100 and £200 million pounds a year in work-related accidents alone. As well as the additional costs of paying for sick leave when an employee has burnt themselves out, or the agency staff required to cover their position. There are a number of things you can do to ensure people don’t become reliant on overtime:

  1. Catch them early. Overtime dependents know how to influence the amount of overtime they do and can abuse the system, such as working all weekend, but calling in sick on Monday. Or being available on premium paying Sunday but not Saturday. Have a look at work patterns and where there are too many working in hours that are not peak demand.
  2. Don’t make overtime bonus-time. Many companies incentivise long hours, which encourages people to stay at work longer, especially during periods of economic instability. Ensure you don’t fall into this trap and promote a work-life balance.
  3. Offer incentives. Offer incentives that encourage employees to complete tasks during normal working hours.
  4. Consider regular pay packets. Many workers like a stable pay packet as it enable them to budget for expenses. However, those working in seasonal businesses are keen to work overtime to make up for the months of reduced pay. Giving workers equal, monthly pay packets, it offers them stability and reassurance.

It’s important to understand what drives overtime and ensure you and your employees understand the damage this can do in the long-term.



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