Why Overtime is (Almost) Always Unproductive (aka Why You Should Always Leave Work on Time)

The essence of having a career is to become productive, to be beneficial and dynamic. This essentially will result to a better life. These are life goals that surely anyone would like to achieve. But, in order to reach this objective, one needs to know where he or she is as of the moment and how one will get there efficiently. If you think about it, all of the things that you do now is actually anchored to the work or job that you have. As a working adult, it is a fact that work eats up most of your time. This is why work has a big influence in one’s well-being.

Well-being in its truest sense also means happiness, health and welfare. Now if the 24 hours that is given in a day is not utilized properly, well-being will definitely be jeopardize. Studies have shown that sustainable work hours for the day is about 8 hours. Sleep should also be a priority and by theory one needs to sleep for about 6-8 hours. Another 8 hours is spend either with family and friends or a hobby but most of all there should be a time spent for yourself – the most important one in realizing a better well-being.

With the scenario above, time management is very crucial. This is where the concept of work-life balance becomes very important. This is how you manage your 24 hours and use the hours wisely to become more productive. For work, the ideal work time is only 8 hours and the rest of the hour should be spent with sleep, family, friends and self. However, with much competition and pressure to perform well in the industry, the urge to spend more hours in the office is often times inevitable. If you see the math, you add in more hours of work and you will take it away from those equally important things to do in your life. This practice may become worst through time. So, be conscious about it and manage your time properly.

Why Overtime is Unproductive


Hence, working overtime will do more harm than good to the employees and even to the organization. Studies have shown that working long hours can cause fatigue, burnout to employees that will result to resentment and unhappiness. If this is felt within the organization, the workplace becomes unproductive and outputs are sure to be down too.

Below are valid and rational reasons why overtime is always unproductive in so many ways.

Productivity is not direct and linear

The thinking that more output can be done if one spends more hours working is the reason why employee and employer do overtime. This is not the case when you talk about efficiency where the essence of being human is emphasized. Clearly in terms of effort and artistry, one cannot compare what humans can do. Yes, there may be more outputs but in terms of quality and value, these may be on the downward direction. Remember, the ones producing these outputs are susceptible to fatigue and burnout that leads to dissatisfaction and resentment and can be a big factor in terms of productivity. Humans are not robots that keeps going and going all day and night. They are simply humans. Period.

More is less in this case

This finding tells us that “an employee working 60 hours a week for two months will produce less overall than the same employee who is working 40 hours a week for the same time period.” This should be a challenge that each organization should look into so their perspective of working long hours is changed. Working more is actually producing less in terms of quality and worth.

There is more to life than work

You do not live to just to work alone. If you think about it, work is a continuous process. It is unending and literally and figuratively never stops. So, the sustainable 40 hours a week broken down into 8 hours a day is the only required hours for work. Maximize and plan your day well so you will deliver. The best part is you get to enjoy the lighter things in life which actually will fuel your momentum to work the following day. This is what work-life balance is all about.

Health is affected

With all the reasons identified above, it all boils down to one single thing and that is the health of the employee. If one continually stresses himself or herself through so much work, then getting sick is surely known to happen. So, it is not worth it to spend more time at work and then landing in a hospital. Did you see the logic?

Having fun and experiencing the lighter things in life are actually important dynamics to get you more motivated in continuing the things you love to do. Without these, you may never know how to be happy and experience genuine laughter. As they say, life is short so enjoy life. This actually makes a lot of sense.

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