Home » Governance » Dealing With Overtime

Most businesses seem to be experiencing challenges in managing their time. From a purely business arrangement, overtime allows the company to effectively manage high workloads without increasing staffing levels.

Recently I was astounded to learn from a friend that they work overtime everyday from Monday to Saturday for long extended periods of time.

I said to myself, this manager must be fired, how sustainable is that! And this has been happening for more than 7 months.

All those overtime related costs – food, transport, the actual labour cost could be minimized by work out a sustainable schedule to ease the workload.

Most businesses seem to be experiencing challenges in managing their time. From a purely business arrangement, overtime allows the company to effectively manage high workloads without increasing staffing levels.

It’s normally used when you are not prepared to increase your employment costs.

If for instance, you want to employ an extra individual to manage your accounts, there is a definite cost associated with employing one more person which you could eliminate by assigning someone else those tasks.

Overtime also provides your employees with a source of supplemental income without having to spread their loyalty to other employers.

I say this because the mentality in Zimbabwe these days is that the employer can meet, for argument sakes, 50 percent of an individual income needs.

They will do other tasks and income generating activities to supplement that income. Employees are now in the habit of getting to work and “steal” time from the employer by doing personal work either outside office premise or using their work computers and phones.

When used properly, overtime can become a very powerful tool for meeting workload demands while minimising costs and maximising employee compensation and satisfaction. There are obvious benefits of using overtime. For instance the individuals will not require additional training. You are using the same personnel you have.

It makes it easier that you can nominate, Tom, Jane, Martha for a certain task, they are available on as short notice. In fact, most employees love overtime.

However, overtime that is out of control can lead to higher costs, lower quality, low employee morale and increased employee turnover.

If your employees go for more than 8 months on overtime, what will you be saving in such instances?

Overtime working is routinely used by many businesses as a way of coping with changes in demand or labour shortages. If you frequently require employees to work overtime, this could be a sign of inefficiency in your business

Okay, let’s consider it then, overtime does appear to be expensive. The accountant will look at paying overtime at a premium, maybe 1.5 of the normal working hours.

Remember that in most instances, overtime has not been budgeted for, it normally results in negative accounting variances.

I would prefer that managers focus and pay attention to minimising it, totally eliminating it may present challenges for some industries. I would recommend that you opt for overtime when it’s extremely necessary

Since overtime is easily added or removed from the labour pool, it need not be used unless it is really necessary.

Straight time hours, on the other hand, are part of the regular schedule. When you do decide to introduce overtime at your workplace, be mindful that employees have rights too.

It is vital to actively consult and discuss the changes and any implications with the workforce. You must also check on the contract of employment that was signed for before you introduce it.

As a manager, you must be cognisant that overtime can be a time bomb.

One of the problems that it could bring is when it’s unpaid.

Unpaid overtime can lead to a lot of tension within the company.

So make sure that if you do introduce it, you can afford to pay employees.

Managers and supervisors need to remain attentive to the time worked by their staff. Stopping at the normal time, but spending another 15 minutes putting things away or sending a few last minute e-mails is still working.

For me, overtime is more than an issue of compensation.

Effective employee relations strategies can alleviate common confusion and dilemmas surrounding overtime.

On the other hand, managers must not reprimand employees when they show overtime on their time cards, its grossly unfair.

Employees who feel they have been cheated out of their salaries will not be as productive or willing to go the extra mile.

If employees start getting victimised, they may develop an inert fear and it may have the potential of creating a hostile and intimidating workplace.

Workers that are on overtime often record greater absenteeism and lethargy. So take time to draft a sensible overtime policy within your company.

Set a monthly annual overtime cap limit that will guide you. An excessive overtime working cycle may kill your business. Overtime can be managed with great successes.

Till next week, may God richly bless you.

Let’s talk at shelter.chieza@gmail.com

Source : The Herald

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