Why Overwork Kills Productivity

Why Overwork Kills Productivity

Working long hours and cramming everything you can into your day while not getting much back in return could be damaging your productivity as well as your health. It’s actually a scenario that is more common than you think in today’s high pressure work environments.

The media last year reported that Japanese workers are more likely to commit suicide or suffer a premature death because of overwork. They even have a word for it: Karoshi.

While Japan may be an exception, the increasing workloads put on employees in many sectors is a cause for concern. Managers and employees remain switched on even when they’re at home relaxing with the family or out enjoying time with friends.

Many of us work extra hours just to keep up.

This culture isn’t just damaging to the individual, it usually doesn’t achieve what we want it to either. Here are 3 reasons why:

  1. Quick Doesn’t Equal Efficient

Overwork usually means you try to rush through tasks and get them out of the way as quickly as possible.

That means that you often miss the important stuff or leave things uncompleted.

There are only so many hours in the day and just a short time to get that work completed and the more deadlines you get the worse it becomes.

You end up concentrating on completing rather than doing a good job.

  1. Too Much Work Leads to Dilution

If there’s too much work, quality gets diluted and deadlines get missed.

Spending too much time on one task can lead to rushing through the next but it can also lead us to work longer hours.

This can be a problem for an employee who hasn’t learned to say no or there is a manger who is not effectively managing workloads.

  1. Tiredness Leads to Mistakes

When we get tired, we don’t work effectively.

In some businesses this can have an impact on health on safety, but in most it generally leads to mistakes.

When this happens you spend more of your time trying to put things right and that then puts extra pressure on other projects or jobs.

Training Managers to Focus on Better Productivity

Productivity works on several levels.

There is personal productivity and how an individual manages their own workload.

There is team productivity where the results of the entire section are added together.

Then there’s the productivity of the business as a whole.

Organisations like the CMI have long pointed out the issue of ‘accidental managers’ those that tend to have no focused process in place for handling projects and workloads.

This is largely down to a question of training and business not really ensuring that managers have the tools to hand they really need.

It should, when used effectively, ensure that employees are not suffering from overwork and have everything they need to complete tasks effectively and efficiently.

Better productivity requires clear thinking and that’s not always easy in a busy office.

Setting targets and understanding what you want to achieve is a good starting point but without proper training, managers often struggle to find the right solutions because they are not equipped with the appropriate skills.

It’s important to have a proper balance if you want better productivity and the impetus for that generally comes from the top down.

If your team is constantly overstretched the chances are it’s not performing at 100%. You may be lucky for it to hit 70%.

The truth is that actually reducing workloads and ensuring people have the right tools to do their job can have a huge impact on productivity.


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