Reasons Why Overtime Is Actually Harming Your Business

It makes sense when business owners crunch the numbers. If they’re making a certain amount of money when employees are working X hours per week they’ll bring in more depending on the total amount of extra hours someone works. Unfortunately in the real world your employees aren’t robots, so you can’t use mathematical calculations to work out how productive they’ll be.

Forcing someone to work longer than necessary could have a negative impact on your business from various reasons:

1. Employees Will Actually Be Less Productive

This is something people find really hard to wrap their head around, but if you continually work overtime you’ll be less productive than if you worked your normal amount of hours per week.

Although this won’t be noticeable in the first week and possibly the second, by the time the third week rolls around employees will be so tired and disillusioned they’ll be less productive than they would be on an average week. This will keep getting worse as the weeks progress until they get some much needed rest.

2. It Could Lead To A Serious Accident

There are thousands of new health hazards in the modern workplace. You can do everything within your power to avoid it, but the law of averages states someone will eventually get hurt. You can reduce the amount of injuries by making sure your employees are always completely focused on what they’re doing.

When you throw overtime into the equation they’ll inevitably begin to take their eye off the ball. You could end up losing some of your best performing employees for a very long time.

3. Sick Days Will Become A Constant Thing

Count up the number of hours your employees are working at the moment after they should be finished for the week. Don’t get excited by the numbers because it turns out you’ll have to adjust them. Those who are working longer hours per week will take more sick days than anyone who isn’t racking up those overtime hours.

After being exposed to exhausting length of their working weeks, people tend to become sensitive and prone to get ill.

4. You’ll End Up With A High Staff Turnover

Employees taking days off when they’re not sick is one thing, but what if they’ll become so disillusioned they begin looking for another job? One of the reasons a company becomes more and more profitable every year is because they have excellent employees who carry it forwards.

If you have a revolving door with new workers coming in all the time it’s hard to succeed, which is why overtime isn’t the greatest idea in the world. Businesses where workers are forced to work longer than necessary will have a higher turnover rate.

5. It’s Hard To Tell Who Is Actually Working

If people are putting in 20 hours of overtime per week it might please you, but just because you’re happy it doesn’t mean you are not throwing your money down the drain. It’s been proven employers aren’t able to tell the difference in output between an employee who is working overtime and one who is working their regular hours.

When you add in the fact lots of people will pretend they’re working to stay in your good books there will be employees sitting at their desks getting paid to twiddle their thumbs.

6. People Will Be Affected Emotionally

You want everyone to be performing at their best all the time, which is unlikely to happen if they’re affected emotionally. It’s not just the extra stress those who choose to do overtime feel. The employees who don’t want to do overtime feel less valued and respected, plus some also feel like their job is less secure.

It’s also hard for people to gel as a team when they’re dealing with all these personal issues, which would be taken away if nobody was pressured into working a crazy amount of hours per week.


There is nothing wrong with a little overtime, but it’s turned into a shark-infested world full of greed and suffering. Eventually asking someone to work too many hours is going to have negative consequences you could easily avoid.

As long as you’re acting within the law you’re free to run your business as you choose, but take the potential negative effects of your decisions into consideration as well. It could help you build a much more successful company in the long run.

Written By
Mila Payton is an economist by profession. Currently she works as a Freelance writer, always eager to tackle interesting business stories. While looking for answers, she can be found on business events worldwide.

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