At the end of the day, projects have to get done, client needs have to be answered and deadlines have to be met. Overtime can play a role in all of that.
Companies benefit from overtime in the following ways:
Overtime isn’t all rainbows and unicorns for companies either. Some cons include:
Employers may also face legal risks if they do not comply with overtime regulations. Failure to pay overtime or misclassifying employees can result in costly legal battles and reputational damage.
With five generations now in the workforce, it’s important to zoom out and think about how we got here so we can know where we’re going.
Traditionalists and boomers were responsible for standing up the systems and organizations we currently find ourselves working in. These systems were born from survival (two World Wars and the Great Depression) and a value system that emphasized dependability and duty.
Decades later, with the rise of technology and an evolving culture, these systems don’t necessarily support the long-term goals and values of new generations. A 2022 study by EY, for example, revealed Gen Z and millennials care about the companies they dedicate their time and skills to as well as what their companies do to foster a culture that aligns with their values.
In fact, 39% of both millennial and Gen Z employees affirmed that culture greatly impacts their decision to stay at their current company, as opposed to 29% of boomers who said a company’s culture has little or no impact on their decision to stay.
The same study underscored the importance of other factors too. Flexibility, for example, is important: 29% of Gen X and 35% of millennials said they’d consider staying with their current companies if remote and hybrid options were offered.
So, what does all this have to do with overtime? The changing landscape of the workforce impacts everything from quiet quitting to where and how we work. That means overtime — and its implications — are up for reevaluation.
As I see it, employees can no longer be viewed as capital, assets or resources. They are people. People who want to be valued, heard, respected, fulfilled, aligned and invested in as much as they invest their time, energy and skills into their work.
I have both witnessed and experienced burnout. I put in long hours for the promise of a promotion that never came before I wised up and left. And I’ve seen numerous high achievers who felt pressured to work overtime but end up feeling jaded, undervalued and disengaged. If overtime happens on a long-term basis, these high achievers often leave for greener pastures where companies see their value and invest back into them holistically.
Overtime can be beneficial in the short run for non-exempt employees who need a financial boost and employers who need to meet short-term deadlines. However, overtime should be used only in moderation and in combination with initiatives that prioritize long-term sustainability and the growth and alignment of the individual within the organization. This can help ensure not only steady and sustained levels of productivity but also increased employee engagement and reduced turnover.
And that’s something that benefits everyone.