A new study suggests working too much overtime is a waste of everyone’s time — including your own!
I’ll admit it: I sometimes work over 40 hours per week. I almost can’t remember a time I didn’t work more than the standard five 8-hour days.
There were times I had to stay late from time to time because of various equipment issues or last-minute changes that would otherwise have thrown a project too far behind schedule.
There were times I chose to stay late because I felt I had a strong vision of how to pull something off and felt if I just put a little more time into it, it’d work. (And that “little” bit of time, before I knew it, turned into a couple of hours.)
Then there were times when I chose to stay late because I was just enjoying my work. I felt, for whatever reason, that the rhythm was feeling right, that I was in “the zone,” and completely lost track of the time.
Most of the time, my overtime amounts to only a few extra hours per week. My bosses have been consistent in giving me a gentle reminder to leave on time, and I appreciate that.
I have never, for the record, attempt to make myself a “work martyr,” the term used to describe people who intentionally work too much.
But CNBC reports that work martyrs are not only doing themselves a disservice, but may not be contributing that much to their workplace, either.
A recent Stanford University study shows the more overtime an employee works, the less productive they are:
…employee output falls sharply after a 50-hour work-week, and falls off a cliff after 55 hours—so much so that someone who puts in 70 hours produces nothing more with those extra 15 hours…
There are some of us who are tied to their cell phones, and are “on call” to a greater degree than some of our colleagues. But once you reach a point where additional hours aren’t accomplishing anything, then all you’re really doing is wasting the off-time you do have.