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Stop your employees from working overtime to prevent burn out

by , 25 February 2013
Overtime is a killer of workplace productivity. As employees work late to keep up with their deadlines, they start to fall further behind and become less productive. This puts them in a bad mood and makes them panicky, which means they're more likely to make mistakes and fall sick from the stress. Here are simple ways to stop your employees from working overtime to prevent burn out.

There's no denying the medical profession works hard. 
Doctors are constantly on call and have very little time off from the job.
Now, the Gauteng Department of Health is asking SARS to audit all overtime claims submitted by doctors in some of its hospitals as these claims are 'excessive', says Politicsweb.
Luckily, you don't have to go for such extreme action.

But you do need to limit the amount of overtime your employees take on, both in the office and at home.
Here's why you need to limit the amount of overtime your employees work!
If your employees are constantly taking work home to make sure they make your deadlines, you might need to rethink their workload. 
That's because industrial accidents increase disproportionately as hours increase above 40 per week, or above eight hours per day, says XProgramming
And more than half of all industrial accidents occur in jobs with extended working hours.
Added to this, if employees spend less time with family because there's just too much to do at work, they'll start to wake up in the morning feeling stressed, depressed and drained, which is hardly the right mindset to tackle a huge workload, adds the Health and Safety Bulletin.
Before long, this stress will lead them to fall ill, which means they'll be able to get even less work done.
Or worse, they will still show up for work even when they're sick and run the risk of infecting others.
Limit overtime and boost your employees' health in the following ways…
You can put measures in place today to ensure your employees don't harm their health by working excessive overtime.
One of the best ways to do so is to only allow your employees to submit overtime claims if they can prove their overtime through attendance registers.
This way, you can follow up on any trends and take action.
Ask the employees who repeatedly work late why they have trouble getting through their workload in normal office hours.
You might need to help them to prioritise certain tasks so these get done first.
Before your employees leave the office, encourage them to run through what they need to do the next day, suggests AsiaOne.
And encourage employees to take a lunch break. It may seem counter-intuitive, but time away from your desk actually helps to refresh your mind, which makes you more productive in the long run.
So if you notice an increase in your employees' overtime claims, have a look at the reasons behind this – you might be able to prevent employee burn out, which is one of the top reasons they look for another job!

You can monitor your employees' stress in terms of exposure to risk e.g. physical, mechanical, biological, psychological, chemical and ergonomic hazards by carrying out medical surveillance which is a task for your occupational health practitioner.
See section M 01/005-030, Medical Surveillance in your Health and Safety Advisor.


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