Why Working Too Much Lowers Productivity and Efficiency

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Wouldn’t you love it if you went to the doctor for your cold, and not only were you prescribed some medicine, but your doctor also instructed you to work less? More and more, people are finding that over-working is not as rewarding as one would think. The classic work/life balance has been a struggle for many employees through the years. These days, it’s up to employers to ensure that their most valuable assets don’t work so much that they can no longer work.

With France’s new law allowing workers the legal right to not check email out of work hours, many employees are re-evaluating their work/life balance. Even outside of France, many American companies have employees that can – or already – work virtually. With the onset of bringing work home, in addition to working a full-time job 40 hours a week, overworked employees may be more of a common theme.

Though there are some weeks where we can’t escape the busy season, it’s important to not turn a blind eye on coworkers and staff that might need an extra hand. Workers might find it in them to work harder when needed, but over time, it’s not sustainable. When people are overworked, they can make mistakes, they get sick, or they get injured, resulting in having to take unplanned time off, which puts a dent in a project’s timeline that relies on multiple staff members. This can and should be avoided by ensuring that when employees work hard, they have each other’s support for breaks, before requiring a longer leave of absence.

When employees work overtime regularly, it wears them down so that they are only operating at half-capacity during the hours that they do work. Ensuring that staff has a designated amount of time to get their work done will ensure that they are more productive when they are at work, versus them feeling the need to bring their work home. Employees are human resources – they are not computers that can be reset by holding a button for 30 seconds. Burnout can happen to the best of employees, so being more productive within time constraints (9am – 5pm for example), versus attempting to be productive 24/7, is the clear winner.

Employees that can take hour long lunch breaks and two week long vacations are able to learn how to manage their time better when they are in the office, that way they can feel completely relaxed when they are out of the office. This mindset of working smarter, not harder, allows staff to be more efficient with the time that they are given, being that they are able to walk away from their work and focus on their personal and families lives. Whether it’s been one hour for lunch, or two weeks for a vacation, when employees come back, they will be refreshed and rejuvenated.

With the evolution of how we use technology in the workplace, work environments are still expected to shift. Companies with overworked employees are not going to see any gains, only losses, and it’s up managers to set the precedence for valuing employee’s time at work, and their time at home.

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