How to Reduce Employee Overtime

by Nov 28, 2019Business, Business Tips, Processes, Productivity, Systems, Team

As a business owner, are you finding that you and your employees are spending more time at work then at home? What about the work that you outsource, does it seem like the budget you set aside for outsourcing keeps getting bigger?

The other day, I was doing research on employee overtime and what contributes to it. What I read made me a little annoyed, so bare with me while I get on my soap box;

The first topic I typed in Google was “How to reduce employee overtime,” and the results that appeared on my screen made my mouth gape open. I saw tons of articles about reducing wages, micro-management, managing workloads, scheduling, time management and advanced planning.

However, there were no articles about reducing employee overtime.

And then while reading one article, I found this horror;

“Strategise ways to make your employee believe that the reduction in hours is his own choice. This can be especially effective if you are cutting back on an employee’s hours because you are dissatisfied with their attitude or performance”


Did they not consider other factors such as the person being in a position that wasn’t right for them, making them unhappy? Which in turn resulted in poor performance at work?

And then it got worse.

“If you want to take time off because your child is sick, then you should log in while at home because this is a two-way street”

Umm, excuse me… if the kids are sick, the last thing you have time for is work.

The Causes of Unnecessary Employee Overtime

Looking at employee overtime in the above manner does not do a company any favours. It may be a quick short term fix but over time could cause more harm than good.  If a business was to remove employees while the market is down, as soon as the market goes back up — the same problems will still be there  — and employee overtime won’t be fixed because the root cause of the problem wasn’t addressed the first time.

Do you, or your employees really want to work overtime when you would rather be spending their time with family or friends?

I bet the first response would be a “No.”

The more hours we spend at work, the more our mental health declines and our stress levels increase. This leads to lower productivity and increased risk of injury. And the one thing we don’t want to deal with is tired and cranky employees. There is nothing worse in a company culture than unhappy employees.

So, after spending hours researching, I had to write this article to help others on this topic.

Want to know my one secret for reducing employee overtime?

Clear and easy to do processes!

Pretty obvious huh! It’s what I’m all about after all. It’s so simple yet when done incorrectly can have negative effects on a business.

Having a process that is clear and easy to understand allows everyone to see where improvement is necessary. This allows you to see where bottlenecks and double ups are and shows you where you are spending too much time. Once a clear process is in place, it allows for a better performance.

A regular review of your processes allows you to keep up with trends in your industry and shows where growth is possible. If you don’t review your processes, your employees are doing the same task for an old system. It’s like putting water into a fuel tank an expecting the engine to run the same way as before.

Another great thing about well-defined processes is that you don’t have to micro-manage tasks, it’s not needed. You already have checks in place, so if you need information about a project, it can be found easily. In the end this reduces any negative feelings around doing a task/project. It also enables a culture of openness and honesty, as employees know that there are always ways to improve and make each task easier, which we all want in the end, right!

One more thing…

There is one more thing I want you to consider before signing off. When it comes to fixing processes, we need to be aware that our best intentions may not have the result we were expecting. So, we need to ensure that there are clear lines of communication open at all levels.

When we have clear and easy to understand processes, we can calmly and confidently complete any task or project — without the overtime.

I’ve got more than one secret up my sleeve when it comes to business systems and processes.

Contact me for a free 20-minute Zoom chat.

About the author

Hello, I’m Rebecca and I’m a Business Systems and Process Consultant.    Over the past 15 years I’ve worked in various roles, as well as ran a very successful VA business. It was during these roles where I learnt how to take a hands-on approach in business systemisation. Now, I’m leveraging this experience to help business owners develop robust systems and processes for better clarity, productivity and overall business performance.


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