A good work-life balance is important and it’s something we often talk about. In today’s ‘always on’ culture it can feel like the lines between work and personal life are often blurred, with smartphones and other technologies allowing us to be switched on 24/7. With the UK’s workforce becoming increasingly overworked, concerning new research from CV-Library has found that the average care worker (41.4%) puts in over 13 extra working days a year as a result of working overtime.
Overworked employees can have damaging repercussions for both staff, and businesses. As a result this feature will discuss the dangers of being overworked and how employers can help support and encourage a good work-life balance.
The dangers of putting in too much overtime
Sometimes putting in a few extra hours could be necessary, whether that’s because the company is short staffed or you just need the extra cash. But this should not be regular occurrence. The study found that three quarters (72.1%) often put in more than their contracted hours and what’s more, over one in 10 (14.3%) are even working six days a week.
Being overworked can cause employees to become fatigued, unwell and eventually could lead to burnout. In sectors such as the care industry being alert and focused is important, especially as staff are looking after others. As a result it’s vital that they have time to re-charge after work, at the weekends and during annual leave time.
Not only this, but a stretched or fatigued workforce will often operate at lower levels of productivity, which is bad news for any business. If being overworked is having a negative impact on staff’s wellbeing, you may even end up with members of the team having to take time off to recuperate.
What should staff do?
Carers need to make the decision to put themselves first sometimes, this may mean turning down overtime when they’re feeling overworked or tired. Not only this, but they need to ensure that they’re making the most of their annual leave allowance. Booking time out gives care professionals a well-deserved chance to relax and re-charge before returning to work.
As a carer, if you’re struggling or feel like you’re becoming overworked you need to approach your manager to discuss what can be done to rectify the situation. In this industry you spend your day looking after others and often putting them first. But in order to be able to continue doing your job well and to a good standard, you need to take time for yourself.
What should employers do?
Of course employers want the most from their workforce, but allowing staff to work too much will have a negative impact on the business in the long run. Employers need to encourage all staff to have a good work-life balance. By ensuring that your employees are taking time for themselves you can help take care of their wellbeing. And if you see any repeat offenders, those who are always putting in overtime, it could be time to have a chat with them.
Make sure your staff are using their annual leave and encourage them to have at least two days off a week. Create a culture where your workforce feel that taking time out is a good thing, and that they don’t feel guilty for doing so.
Communication is important as a manager or boss, your staff need to feel that they can approach you if things become too much or if they need some extra support. Keep an open door policy so they can come and speak to you if they’re having problems. This allows you to address the situation before it goes too far and you end up with unwell or burnt-out employees.
The key takeaway here is that while it may seem great that staff want to work as much as possible, everyone needs time out to re-charge. This is particularly true in the care industry where staff are looking after others, and need to be alert and focused to be able to do so. Employers and employees alike need to understand and encourage a positive work-life balance to avoid professionals in the industry suffering from burnout.