When managing a team of hourly workers, it’s common to ask staff to work additional hours when things get busy. You may be short-staffed unexpectedly, so you have to ask a staff member to step up and pull some of the weight. 

Your employees may feel the pressure to say yes every time, and before you know it, you have employees who are pulling ten-hour shifts more than once throughout the week. 

It’s common for employees to believe that they’re showing their managers their loyalty and commitment to the company by putting in overtime. But there is evidence to suggest that workweeks of more than 40 hours are harmful to a company and its employees. 

Here are just a few reasons why you should keep employees to a workweek of no more than forty hours. 


Here's what the IGA Research says: "Productivity drops immediately upon starting overtime and continues to drop until, at approximately eight 60-hour weeks, the total work done is the same as what they accomplish eight 40-hour weeks." 

Asking staff to work overtime is virtually useless. Fatigue sets beyond a 40 hour week and productivity will drop, impacting your bottom line.


The more hours staff work, the more tired they become, leading to an increase in errors. These sorts of mistakes can be dangerous when it comes to transport, manufacturing, security and healthcare. 

Asking employees to do excessive overtime has not only impacts on a staff member’s mental health but can also seriously jeopardise their physical health depending on the job. 

Company Morale

Employees scheduled for excessive overtime will experience a decline in work morale. They will lose the enjoyment of the job and go through the steps. Low employee morale can spread through the company and have a cause and effect reaction to a feeling of being underappreciated and overworked. 

Customer Service

If your employees are customer-facing, tired staff can be a disaster. As much as they try, it's impossible to have a bright and cheerful demeanour when you're sleep-deprived and run down.


If overtime expectations go on too long, loyal employees will often start to feel disillusioned with their work-life balance and look elsewhere for employment. They will be receiving pressure from family and friends to find a job with more reasonable exceptions and enable them to have a healthy and balanced life.


Extreme stress and exhaustion can often lead to otherwise healthy people getting sick. Having people who are commonly sick is a massive risk for businesses with a culture of extreme hours. 

Suddenly you’ll find business disruption due to employee sickness on top of having to pay out sick leave entitlements as the doctors certificates start rolling in.


Creating a company culture that encourages overtime and expects employees to be okay with it is toxic. Giving your employees the right work-life balance and only asking for favours when necessary will lead to better company culture. 

There are exceptions to every rule, of course, but research and common sense indicate that for most individuals, working longer hours is not a good idea. Not only will it negatively affect employees’ personal lives, but it can impact your company’s performance as a whole.

So for the sake of your employees’ well-being and your company’s efficiency, it’s best to limit working hours. One of the best ways to do this is to invest in a smart cloud rostering solution like RosterElf, giving you perspective on each week’s workload and identifying talent gaps early to avoid being short-staffed.