Most companies are looking for dedicated, loyal people to be part of their team… but can commitment to the cause backfire on your business? New research has found that UK workers are clocking up £4,700 in unpaid overtime every year – leaving them at risk of burning out.

As an employer, you have a duty of care to look after your workforce. And, in a remote working environment, it’s easy for scope creep to occur, so ‘a day at the office’ starts early and finishes late.

Keeping an eye on additional hours will not only protect your employees’ mental and physical health; it will help you to get resourcing right, so every person in your team works effectively.

Unpaid overtime: another COVID curse

Sometimes professionals need to go above and beyond their basic role in order to get things done. Once in a while that’s fine – but repeated overtime can lead to people feeling tired, stressed and demotivated. What’s more, if your team are burning out then they’re not bringing their best performance to your business.

Learn more about the impact of employee burnout

Overworking is easy to spot in the office, but it’s become much harder to see since COVID-19 forced most of us to work from home. Many employees say they are more likely to start work earlier and finish later when remote working. In fact, statistics from Furniture at Work reveal the average employee is currently doing almost 6 hours’ extra work every week, which amounts to 40 days per year – or an average of £4,700 in salary value.

To protect the wellbeing of your staff, it’s important to understand how long their team members are actually working, the tasks that fall to them in an average day, and whether responsibilities are being evenly shared across the business. This will help you make sure that everyone is putting in equal effort, not overloading their plate. And the good news is that your company can analyse and manage all these elements using people planning technology.

Getting to the root cause of employee burnout

Shift-based businesses are used to closely monitoring when people are clocking on and clocking off, but the reality is that we are ALL shift workers. The only difference is that the average person’s shift start at 9am and finish at 5/5:30pm.

Once you start viewing every working day as part of a shift pattern, it becomes easier to view and manage unpaid overtime – and the right software can help with this process.

People planning technology enables businesses map out when your team members are working and what tasks they’ve been assigned during the course of each day, to ensure that they can get through everything and start their evening on time.

The best way to do this is by asking your employees to log any additional hours they work. Rather than doing it to pay overtime or build up time off in lieu, you’re simply trying to find out how much overtime people accrue in the course of an average week.

Once you see the reality of staff schedules, you can then look at the root causes. For example:

  • Are there certain days of the week where workload is heavier? Or a particular task that seems to drain people’s time?
  • Is one department racking up hours of overtime, and could do with additional resource?
  • Is one team member taking on too much, and responsibilities could be shared around?
  • Are too many people taking annual leave at certain times of year, causing a spike in additional hours among those left in the (virtual) office?

Managing staff movements online will give you complete visibility over people’s working patterns, so you can understand where the work/life balance needs to be addressed.

Make changes that cause immediate impact

The powerful thing about staff scheduling technology is that it doesn’t just give you the tools to see how employees manage their time; it gives you the capacity to target problems.

For example, if your people planning software includes a task management feature, you can assign certain responsibilities to each team member, each day. If someone is struggling to fit their workload in, or a particular task is taking up too much time, you can assign additional resources to get through that job quicker.

Another ideal feature to look for is an integrated holiday calendar. This will help you to track the impact of annual leave on overtime, so you can put policies in place that limit how many people are off at the same time – at company level, and by seniority and/or department.

Strike the best work/life balance with WhosOffice

No two days are ever the same in any company; inevitably there will be times when unpaid overtime is higher than usual. However, treating every day like a shift and using people planning technology to track actual hours and manage employee tasks will nip escalating hours in the bud.

The most effective staff management solutions integrate every piece of important workforce data in one platform – from contracted hours and annual leave, to overtime and task lists – so you have a complete overview of how effectively each person in your business is working.

Overview of WhosOffice

WhosOffice is an integrated people planning tool, which enables you to manage every element of the employee experience in one online platform – with customised access depending on your level of seniority and the features you need to use. Call us on 01227 812938 to speak with one of our staff management experts about lowering your overtime hours.

Book your free WhosOffice trial to see how online technology can reduce unpaid overtime and stop your most important people from burning out.

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