6 Tips On How to Reduce Overtime

Overtime could be causing great damage to your business. Companies up and down the country rely on overtime hours to help them function, but there are many drawbacks to this way of working, making the reduction of overtime a valuable strategy.

Why Is it Important to Reduce Overtime?

The most obvious reason to reduce overtime hours is that they cost your business more money. For workers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), they’re entitled to at least one and a half times their normal rate.

This is money few businesses can afford to pay out on a large scale, but it’s not the only reason to cut back on your overtime hours. The negative effects of overtime hours are numerous:

  • Less productivity
  • Employee burnout
  • Safety risks
  • Higher turnover rates
  • Poor morale

When it comes to overtime, businesses are paying more for less, but this culture of overtime still exists in many organizations.

6 Tips To Help You Reduce Overtime

1. It Starts with Culture

Overtime can become ingrained in a business’s culture. It becomes the rule, not the exception, and a gradual acceptance grows that this is just part of the job.

This shouldn’t be the case though. As the name suggests, overtime is time that’s over and above what is expected – not the norm. Once this perception changes, from overtime being an occasional extra to it being a regular part of working life, it can be hard to change the mentality.

Changing the culture starts at the top and management needs to lead by example.

Embrace the idea that less can be more and remember that output is more important than time. Bring these ideas into your culture, and you’ll make a step towards reducing your overtime.

2. Small Things Add Up

If you needlessly take up someone’s time for 20 minutes a day, then they lose over an hour and a half’s work each week. Do that for 10 people by scheduling needless meetings and this adds up to over 15-hours a week.

40-hours a week might seem like a lot, but when employees have many different things competing for their time, it can soon disappear. The small things add up, and before you know it, employees are through their 40-hours and there’s still work to do.

A strong focus on good scheduling can make a huge difference here. Software like Zoomshift can help you reevaluate how you manage people’s time, and make sure you’re using it more efficiently.

When you’re doing your scheduling, you should be very aware of how to best use people’s time. Ask yourself if those little extras are really worth the time cost, and find ways of making things like meetings more efficient.

3. Where Can You Improve Automation?

Building on the idea that the small things add up, automation is a great tool to help you reduce overtime.

If you’re running outdated software that costs each employee 15-minutes a day, it can turn into a huge amount of lost time. Investing in software isn’t always cheap, but if you can use it to reduce your overtime, then it can save you money.

For example, it’s thought that many employees spend 28% of the workday reading and answering emails. If you can automate this process and other similar time-consuming tasks, then you will find huge time savings.

Automation can free your employees up from time-consuming tasks and release them to focus on the work that adds the most value to your business.

4. Address Skills Shortages Through Training

Many businesses find themselves in a position where a few key employees are vital to the day-to-day running of the business. They have a combination of skills that mean they’re indispensable – often resulting in a large number of overtime hours.

When your business finds itself in this position, then it faces little choice but to rely on overtime hours to help keep it functioning.

If a lack of skills is causing your overtime hours to spiral, then it’s important to look at cross-training your employees. When you rely too much on a core group of overworked employees, the chances are, they’re more likely to leave you or end up missing time due to poor health anyway.

5. A Lack of Resources vs Poorly Deployed Resources

Do you have a lack of resources, or is it a question of how you deploy your resources?

If it’s a lack of resources, then you need to look at recruiting more talent. This can be costly, but at the same time, the hidden costs of overtime can be even greater.

If it seems like you have enough resources to meet demand, then you’ve got to look at how you’re scheduling your employees. It’s not easy to make sure you’ve got the right people working at the right time, and the best way to become more efficient in this area is through automation.

Are you using the right scheduling software to get the most out of the skills you have available to you?

6. Create an Overtime Policy

Change comes from having a plan with clear goals and strategies. If you make changes here and there without an overall plan, then it’s going to be more challenging to measure the impact of your efforts.

If you want to make a serious change and reduce overtime hours, then you should put together an overtime policy. Ask yourself some simple questions such as:

  • Will you set overtime caps?
  • Will you invest in technology to make employees more efficient?
  • Will you expand your workforce?

Once you’ve got answers to these questions, then you can create a policy that will detail how you intend to reduce overtime hours.

Improve Scheduling and Reduce Overtime with Zoomshift

Scheduling is a complicated part of business. There are lots of reasons why your overtime hours might have increased, and this can have a big impact on your efficiency.

To reduce your overtime, you’ve got to look at your culture, and create a specific plan which details how you’re going to make change. Ultimately, it all boils down to scheduling and how you manage your resources.

Zoomshift gives you the complete picture of how your resources are being deployed, and these insights can make an immediate difference to your overtime spend.

ZoomShift Scheduling Software

Companies that make the switch to Zoomshift are more productive and better organized, so take the first step with a free 14-day trial of Zoomshift.

Sam Molony

Sam Molony is the marketing strategist at ZoomShift, the leading employee scheduling software. When Sam's not publishing or promoting new content you can find him playing his guitar or baking.

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