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How much overtime is too much?


Overtime for the employee. In some cases, that very word brings employees instant happiness and shiny dollar signs flashing in the eyes. In other cases, it can fill hearts with dread, exhaustion, and even serve as a cause to start looking around for a new job.

Overtime for the employer. This is also a double edged sword, as on the one hand it gives managers the necessary flexibility to cover unexpected absences and changes in demand without necessarily having to immediately hire more staff. On the other hand, the premium rates for overtime can be costly, especially if they get out of control.

Indeed, overtime has the potential to be simultaneously beneficial and detrimental for employees and company decision makers alike.

There are other, less acknowledged drawbacks to excessive overtime too. While many managers are familiar with employees who will happily take on as much overtime as they have available, there is growing scientific evidence to suggest that companies relying too much on overtime can become vulnerable to certain workforce management issues such as:

  • Declining morale
  • Poor employee retention
  • Absenteeism
  • Productivity drops
  • Safety concerns
  • Health Issues

The key is proper management. With Mitrefinch Budgeting & Labour Costing functionality, company decision makers have a real-time view of all the company’s work in progress, presented with graphs, plans and even customisable reports showing overtime hours worked by employees. This helps you avoid unanticipated labour costs, control your budget, and make sure things stay on track.

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