avatarJosef Cruz

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How Can We Eliminate Overtime in the Workplace

Even if the majority think overtime will never stop at all.

Photo by Magnet.me on Unsplash

I have a team that views overtime as a bad thing, and I don’t want to end up with the conclusion that overtime will never decrease in the corporate world after all. Therefore, I would like to point out what should be done to eliminate overtime firmly.

First, even if you create a team that can complete work on time, overtime will remain the same because work will be delegated to others. This sounds like something that might happen, but there is a hidden problem here.

When work is given to you by someone else, it means that it does not create added value and can be done by anyone with enough time. You can’t reduce overtime as long as you do work that doesn’t add value.

This is because you see the company as nothing more than a labor resource that does the work that anyone can, so you try to make them work as much as possible.

You need to understand why your boss makes you work overtime. It costs money to have employees work overtime, so it would be economical for a company to have employees work as efficiently as possible and not have them work overtime.

The first reason is that there are cases where overtime pay is not a concern. For example, young employees will have to pay for the amount of overtime, which is cheap, so having them work overtime will not increase costs.

Additionally, once employees reach a certain age, they will be placed under a discretionary labor system, and the company should let them work as much as possible without being subject to the 360 ​​agreement.

The second reason is that the company has a system where overtime pay is not a problem for the boss. Bosses are evaluated based on the completion of a project. Cost is secondary. Here’s the problem. Since cost is secondary, I try to complete the project on time, regardless of how much work my subordinates/subcontractors must do. That’s why they make you work overtime.

It is a familiar story among system integrators that a retired project manager receives high praise for his hard work. This is also due to the mechanism described above.

Even though cost is a secondary consideration, if the cost exceeds the budget, you will be asked why. At that time, to be able to give a good translation, I had them write a problem management sheet that shows what problems actually occurred in each process, and I tried to accurately record how much time it actually took. Later, so many problems arose, and it took so much time that the number of man-hours increased, but I managed it properly.

For the boss, it’s okay if it takes time. If he can prove that he is managing things correctly, the costs won’t be his fault. It is essential for the boss that everything that happens is recorded on the issue management sheet. He’s trying to prove that he’s in control.

When a problem occurs, it is essential to write it down on a problem management form (generally a ticket). However, recording every incident on the problem management sheet is unnecessary.

For example, such a boss may try to control even review typos. He makes his subordinates and subcontractors do extra work to prove that he holds everything, even things that don’t matter.

This is a typical pattern of bosses forcing you to work overtime. Did you understand? Once you know this, the next thing you need to do is figure out how to deal with this type of boss.

These bosses often only care about themselves, so no matter how hard you try, you can do nothing about it. It would be best if you did everything you could to move away from your boss immediately instead of giving up and working overtime.

Let’s say you have a boss who isn’t as bad as the boss above but who can evaluate the skills of his subordinates/subcontractors to a certain extent and wants to move forward with projects efficiently. What should I do at this time?

Even if you have a good boss, you'll probably have to work overtime if you’re doing a job that doesn’t add much value. I don’t think unreasonable overtime is forced on employees, but to increase the utilization rate of employees, they are forced to work in a way that makes them feel overworked.

In such a situation, you should do work that has high added value. If you are doing high-value-added work, your boss won’t make you do low-value-added work that would interfere with your work. It’s more profitable for the company to have employees do high-value-added work.

I have declared to my company and those around me that I am focused on the project I am currently working on and will not do anything else. The people around me are also doing something with high added value, so I allow myself to focus on that.

I believe my value lies in doing work with high added value, so I work when I can’t concentrate, or my mind is slow, resulting in poor plans and source code. I’m afraid of being left behind as a result of my work. That’s why I only work when my mind is quick.

It’s quite challenging to do high-value-added work and have those around you recognize it, but if you want to succeed as an engineer, it’s a barrier you must pass.

I don’t want to end up with a conclusion like “Overtime work will never decrease in the corporate world after all.” If you put in the effort, improve yourself, and become able to do high-value-added work, you can reduce your overtime work. I want to live my life with a positive outlook.

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