Employees exhibit bad habits, produce bad work when putting in extra hours
There is a common misconception that people who work more hours are happier, more fulfilled and more successful in their careers. This however, is not reflective of reality, whatsoever. The happiest people in the office – call centers included, take advantage of their annual vacation days. They don’t put in loads of overtime. And they are never the last to leave at the end of the work day. In fact, working longer hours negatively impacts worker conduct and output. The amount of overtime an employee puts in can even be a red flag for employers. Working extra hours can tip them off that the worker would not be a good candidate for a promotion.
A call center employee might choose – or feel compelled to put in countless overtime hours. This can occur when the workload is exceptionally heavy or in an attempt to impress management and compete for a promotion. Yet, this practice is overrated. It can also be disadvantageous to engage in for the employee, as well as for the organization. Let’s examine why.
Working longer hours does not necessarily correlate with increased productivity
First, if workers are focused on working long hours then they are almost certainly working slower than is optimal. Or, they could just be wasting time on work that isn’t really important. If a boss is halfway decent, he or she will notice not just how much time an employee spends in the office but also how productive the employee is. A top boss will be able to discern how much work the employee is getting done in a given time period. If an employee presents a long worksheet but doesn’t have an equally long list of accomplishments to match it, something is wrong. The employee’s work behavior most likely needs to be dealt with by means of coaching by the organization’s management.
Working longer hours is a sign that the employee does not know how to delegate
Second, if an employee is working extra hours then there’s a good chance that they don’t know how to delegate – hand work off to other employees more skilled at given tasks. This is especially true for anyone in a middle management position. Employees should be sorting the tasks assigned to them. They ought to pass on those tasks that another employee is better suited to handling. They should not be spending countless hours attempting to tackle every project that crosses their desk on their own.
Putting in lots of overtime could indicate inefficient planning tactics
Third, working extra hours means the employee probably isn’t very good at planning their time. Successful planning means assessing work tasks quickly, making a to-do list and deciding which assignments to prioritize over others. Starting with the easy tasks and saving the more complex tasks for later can be a good way to increase productivity. Inefficient planning tactics often lead workers to shuttle back and forth between different tasks. Or, they could be constantly pausing to reply to emails. Both practices ultimately slow them down and prolonging the process of completing any given task.
Overwork and the resulting stress can lead to health problems
Fourth, when employees continuously put in extra hours on the job, they can adopt bad habits such as drinking, smoking and overeating. They can also run themselves ragged, leading workers to develop a whole slew of health problems These can include impaired sleep, depression, diabetes, cognitive decline and heart disease. Such health issues are bad for the employee, but they are also detrimental to the company’s bottom line. Poor health can result in increased employee absenteeism, turnover and a surge in health insurance costs for each worker.
Overtime can lead to a vicious cycle of failure and hero syndrome
Lastly, puttingin overtime perpetuates the band aid solution approach that encourages the development of hero syndrome. Hero syndrome is when workers put in extra hours in the last minute to fix a specific problem and are then applauded for their heroic efforts. But as they did not fix the underlying problem, the cycle of failure and last minute heroic fixes continues without respite. This is extremely inefficient and can lead to tired workers making more mistakes, which further perpetuate the vicious cycle. Instead, workers should be provided with the right resources to build the right infrastructure in the first place. That way, nobody would have to burn the midnight oil to fix errors that arise just before a big presentation or operation.
In short, employees might think that putting in lots of extra hours makes them look good to management. Yet, overtime actually reduces productivity and can be indicative of bad work habits or a lack of efficient work practices. Call center managers would benefit from encouraging their employees to manage their time and tasks more advantageously, instead of promoting extra hours on the job to complete necessary assignments.