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29 March 2016

20 WAYS TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE – Control Overtime

Productivity means higher output using your current resources, or achieving the same level of sales with less resource.

Poor planning often results in high levels of overtime. The use of overtime, whilst occasionally inevitable, is normally indicative of a number of possible weaknesses in the business such as:

  1. Procrastination on the part of the employee
  2. Poor supervision
  3. Poor planning
  4. Unforeseen emergencies – caused by all 3 of the above

Overtime should be used only in extreme cases, as prolonged overtime working has an impact on longer-term productivity.  Studies show that the amount of additional work actually achieved after the standard 35-40 hour working week, does not increase linearly.  In fact, if a working week starts to edge into 60-80 hours (and this is not unheard of), no extra output is achieved over and above what would have been done in the standard week, due to tiredness, procrastination and lethargy on the job.

If you are seeing overtime starting to creep up then measures have to be taken to understand the causes.  Using overtime occasionally will be necessary, but if it is consistent to the point where employees are expecting it and rely on it to boost their salaries then inefficiency will start to lose any gains had from the extra output.

Overspend on Overtime – Case Study

I recently visited a production line whilst a line change was in progress with workers being rounded up by the supervisor and all dawdling over to the next line.  There was no sense of urgency to get production in full swing.  The supervisor spent about 20 minutes getting the team rounded up and mobilised from one station to the next.  The raw materials weren’t ready for start up, and the supervisor was running round like a headless chicken trying to get everything organized.

The eight people and half hour late start cost the business 240 minutes (4 man hours) to change lines.  The manager explained they prefer to do overtime during the week, than put on whole extra shifts on a weekend.  My suggestion would be to improve the supervision, and line change set ups, to reduce or eliminate the overtime all together, but if the manager isn’t around to see what is going on occasionally they’ll never see how to improve productivity.

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My book “20 Ways to Be More Productive” offers easy tips, case studies and ways you can improve productivity and save money in every aspect of your business.