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“Some overtime work is essential to give enterprises the flexibility to deal with unusual pressure of work, fluctuations in demand, or other special circumstances.” – International Labor Office.

Scheduling overtime can be a difficult task for employers. It requires careful consideration and planning to ensure employees are not overworked or underutilized. Therefore, it is crucial to create a schedule that optimizes the use of overtime hours while also considering the health and safety of employees. This blog discusses how to schedule employee OT effectively to maximize productivity and minimize costs. By following the tips in this article, employers can maximize resource usage while ensuring their employees’ well-being.

What does it mean to be scheduled for overtime (OT) work?

Overtime (OT) refers to the additional hours that an employee works beyond their regular work schedule. OT typically involves working more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week and is often compensated with additional pay or time off. 

Note: OT rates and entitlements differ depending on the legal jurisdiction. For example, the province of Ontario, Canada defines a regular work week as 44 labor hours.

Why do organizations schedule employees for overtime hours?

Employers may schedule employees for overtime when they need additional help to meet workload demands or to cover for absences or emergencies. While overtime can benefit employees who want/need to earn extra income or time off, it can also be a significant cost for employers and impact employee morale and productivity if not utilized effectively.

Note: Some employers offer time-off in-lieu of OT wages.

Why is overtime necessary?

Overtime employee scheduling is necessary to:

  • Respond to sudden or unexpected business fluctuations
  • Cover employee absences or emergencies.
  • Avoid hiring new or additional staff.

Why are employers reluctant to schedule employees for overtime hours?

There are several reasons why employers are reluctant to schedule employees for overtime hours. For instance, overtime pay can be costly for employers and lead to employee burnout over the long term. Further, overtime employees are entitled to additional remuneration depending on the legal jurisdiction, which can quickly increase and impact a company’s bottom line. This is especially true for small businesses with limited resources and struggling to cover additional labor costs. 

Recent Labor studies on the use of regular overtime published by found that:

  • 54% of organizations with high overtime also experienced increases in absenteeism (Stanford University)
  • A 10% increase in overtime results in a 2.4% decrease in productivity (CeLayix)
  • 13% of companies with regular overtime amounts had poor morale (CeLayix)
  • 10% of employees who work 50 to 60 hours per week report severe work-family conflicts (Cornell University)

Note: TimeWellScheduled’s Scheduling Solution can help your business effectively control and manage overtime. Click here to learn more!

Salaries overtime

Five Tips for Scheduling Employees for Overtime Hours

I) Plan and anticipate workload demands

One of the most effective ways to utilize overtime prudently is to plan and anticipate workload demands. By tracking historical trends and forecasting future demand, you can identify when overtime may be necessary and schedule it accordingly. This approach can help you avoid last-minute rush jobs and prevent the need for unnecessary overtime.

II) Evaluate staffing levels regularly

Evaluating staffing levels routinely can help determine whether the business has enough employees to handle the current workload. If OT is consistently necessary to meet demand, consider hiring additional staff or adjusting staff scheduling practices to prevent burnout and ensure a healthy work-life balance for team members.

III) Use a fair system for assigning overtime

When assigning overtime, it’s essential to use a fair system to prevent any perception of favoritism or unfair treatment. For example, consider rotating overtime shifts among employees so that all team members have the opportunity to earn extra income. This can help you ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to earn additional pay while also preventing employee burnout.

IV) Monitor overtime usage and costs

TimWellScheduled’s cloud-based scheduling solution helps to monitor overtime usage and costs which is essential for managing OT prudently. Keep track of how much overtime employees work and its impact on the organization’s bottom line. This will help identify areas where the business can save money while meeting workload demands.

V) Offer alternative work arrangements

Offering alternative work arrangements, such as flex time or compressed workweeks, can effectively reduce the need for overtime. Allowing employees to adjust their schedules to fit their needs can help them maintain a healthy work-life balance while still meeting the job demands. This approach can also increase organizational morale and productivity, leading to a more effective and efficient workforce. 

Breaks During OT Shifts

It is important to note that: The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that employers provide additional breaks and lunches during overtime shifts. OSHA also advises increasing the number of days worked rather than hours worked to maximize productivity and minimize injury or employee burnout. 

“Overtime work and long work hours may adversely alter employees’ lifestyle behaviors as a result of energy and time depletion.” – Maria C.W. Peet.

In sum, there are several reasons why employers may be hesitant to schedule employees for overtime hours. From the cost of additional pay to concerns about employee burnout, fairness issues, and compliance with labor laws, employers must carefully consider whether overtime is necessary and how to utilize it effectively. By doing so, employers can maintain a healthy work-life balance for their employees while ensuring that their business operates efficiently and maintain a high level of employee morale.

About TimeWellScheduled

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