Working overtime: exploitation or opportunity? - Deepstash

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Problems with overtime

Problems with overtime

Overtime is often a symptom of :

  • An overstretched workforce. You may not have enough resources to manage your workload.
  • Poor project estimation or time management.
  • Unrealistic client expectations. Client's are unaware of how long a task takes. It's a sign that you're selling yourself short.
  • Communication breakdown. There are no proper work boundaries or realistic expectations.
  • Toxic company culture. Many organisations have a culture of working beyond contractual working hours.

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The benefits of working overtime

There are times when overtime benefits workers. 

  • Workers can get paid time and a half or even double pay.
  • Workers can take advantage of their individual productive flow. Some may work best in the mornings, and others late at night.
  • Employees feel independent and autonomous when they work within their own schedules.

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The problem with overtime pay

Some companies have clear overtime policies, such as "time and a half". Other companies offer "payment in kind" or counterbalance overtime by leaving early on another day or putting the time worked towards extra vacation days. A sign of a toxic working culture is when the company offer nothing extra.

Overtime can lead to accusations of wage theft. Therefore, it is vital that overtime is met with some form of compensation that is satisfactory for the employee and employer.

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The impact of working overtime on culture

The impact of working overtime on culture

Overtime can harm company culture. When people willingly work late, it can normalise over time. More people will feel obliged to stay late, and resentment can follow.

People that continually work late suggest that the productive output is valued above being human. Employees have families, friends and other interests. Good management will recognise the importance of these aspects.

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Staying in control of overtime

Track overtime. It helps employees manage their working hours and protect against abuses.

Actively work against a stay-late company culture. Ensure everyone is clear on the company's overtime policy.

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