Q&A: Many of My Co-Workers Often Work Overtime. Should I Follow Suit?

By Priya Sunil

Question: I am a full-time staff who usually completes my tasks within working hours and I only require the occasional overtime. However, I’ve noticed that most of my co-workers stay past the stipulated working hours. This has made me doubt my dedication to my job. How do I determine if I should follow suit?

Answer: It is not unusual for employees to feel sceptical about leaving work before the majority of their colleagues. After all, no one wants to be perceived as the least hardworking for leaving early now do they? Like everything else, working overtime has its pros and cons. We’ll let you weight them out and decide whether following suit really is necessary.

The Pros of Working Overtime

Staying late at work can be useful if you prefer getting work done when the office is quieter. If you’re keen, it’ll also be the best time to get a head start on upcoming tasks without much disturbances or meetings to take up your time. Furthermore, many employees tend to work overtime to stay in the good books of their bosses.

Company cultures varies from organisation to organisation though – some bosses may be alright with employees completing their tasks and leaving once working hours end, while others still disapprove. Hence, depending on the expectations your boss puts across, working overtime may just be a way of showing your boss how committed you really are.

The Cons of Working Overtime

Having said that, here are a few reasons why you might want to reconsider clocking in the extra hours if it isn’t really necessary:

1. It Sacrifices Quality Time

Working overtime, especially frequently, steals precious hours away from your family and social commitments. In the long run, it may strain your relationships when it starts to seem like you hardly have time for anyone other than your boss.

More importantly, it leaves you with barely enough time for yourself. Sufficient quality time spent for yourself ensures you get adequate rest. You need to recharge both mentally and physically after a long day’s work after all. What’s more, being well-rest and refreshed increases your motivation and productivity during your next working day!

2. It Compromises Your Health

Spending excessive time focusing on your work can result in a decline in health. For instance, sitting at your desk for too long without moving around much (particularly for nine-to-five jobs) lowers your metabolic rate and the ability to burn enough calories. An online study by JobsCentral in 2014 found that this commonly leads to excessive weight gain.

In addition, it also increases your risk of contracting diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Working hard for your job is fine, but risking your well-being is not worth it.

3. It Affects Productivity Levels

Many bosses tend to stress the belief that longer working hours increase the company’s overall productivity levels, but this isn’t necessarily true. Your mind is only fully productive for an average of six hours, and anything after that is almost useless.

In fact, exhaustion from working the longer hours can actually decrease productivity levels. Ultimately, whether you choose to jump on the bandwagon or not, committing to frequent overtimes doesn’t determine how hardworking and dedicated you are. It is your work attitude during working hours that truly matters.

Browse the many job postings on JobsCentral, and you just might find a job that doesn't require you to work overtime!

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