How to Reduce Overtime

How to Reduce Overtime

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Overworked and Out of Time

According to a survey by Forbes, “Employees who work overtime hours experience numerous mental, physical, and social effects. Significant effects include stress, lack of free time, poor work-life balance, and health risks. Employee performance levels could also be lowered. Long work hours could lead to tiredness, fatigue, and lack of attentiveness”.  As the fair labor standards of the United States require businesses to pay time and a half for any overtime work, employees who are working overtime typically cost a business more than an additional worker at the regular pay rate. It is clear that overtime only has negative results – for employees as well as business owners: overtime causes decreased productivity, potential problems in the personal lives of employees that can easily bleed into the workplace, and higher business expenses to pay for overworked staff.

Is Overtime a Necessary Evil?

Is overtime something unavoidable that all businesses have to accept? Not that long ago, planning a meeting had to be done over the phone. If someone forgot about it or was late, there was no way to get a hold of them unless they were near a telephone. Today, we simply send a calendar invite via email, and if someone forgets about the meeting or is late, we can send a quick text message they will receive no matter where they are in the world. Can you imagine going back to paper calendars and landlines? Never! Yet, that was a fate that was simply accepted only 15 years ago because there were no alternatives. Today, however, technology has advanced so much that these cumbersome business practices seem almost laughable. A similar revolution is now emerging for employee scheduling. While occasional needs for overtime will undoubtedly exist, new solutions have the potential to dramatically reduce this. No business should simply accept overtime as unavoidable.

Balancing Workforce and Workload

One of the most remarkable recent technological advancements is artificial intelligence. Software developers are now able to utilize AI to improve all sorts of business operations. For example, artificial intelligence can be applied to predict the rise and fall of labor demand for future months, weeks, days, and even hours. This means that managers can anticipate customer fluctuations, schedule their people to match, and overtime (and overstaffing!) can be reduced significantly. With AI predictions of customer demand for each operating hour of every day, team schedules can be assigned weeks in advance and allow managers to match their workforce to the upcoming workload.

Time Well Spent

If overtime is effectively reduced, and even eliminated, the mental health of employees will be protected, businesses will save labor cost rather than spending on overtime, and managers won’t need to second-guess the team schedules they have assigned. Artificial intelligence can do wonders in helping service businesses reach their goals faster and more efficiently because time and resources can be spent more wisely. Time is money, and powerful software can produce more of it.

Author: Isaac Pendleton

Isaac is a student at Brigham Young University and has been a recent marketing intern at Weave Workforce, a labor optimization company, providing AI-based forecasting and scheduling to match the fluctuating demand of service-oriented businesses. Originally from a small town called Spanish Fork in the state of Utah, Isaac is minoring in art history and loves to witness revolutions such as these in art and labor optimization.

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