Recent studies show millions of people regularly work overtime for no extra pay; around a fifth of the UK’s workforce. While their unpaid hours can boost the economy by more than £30 billion, they don’t actually see any of it themselves!
Whether it’s due to a busy schedule, serious workload, or simply the expectations of your employer, working late is one of the top factors in the ongoing conflict between work and the rest of your life. Even if you LOVE your job, which I can imagine many people reading this do, there are a number of reasons why you should be leaving on time. Check out the top 5 reasons why working late is bullsh*t?:
1) You need to recharge your batteries
People often think that working late signifies that you’re working hard. This is not always true, in fact, sometimes it can signal quite the opposite! Often, a shorter working day means you’re more focused on the tasks you need to complete, leaving distractions at the door. Working long, laborious days will decrease your attention span, making it hard to concentrate and reduce your productivity overall. It’s also easy to fall into the cycle where you stay late in the evening, meaning the next day you’re tired and less productive, so you have to stay late again in order to complete the day’s tasks. This can be a dangerous routine to fall into. Basically, we’re all human and no matter how much you love your job, you NEED a life outside of it and leaving work at a sensible hour can be a good way to start.
2) Staying late is actually bad for your health
This is definitely one to tell the boss: staying late is actually very bad for your overall health. A recent study has shown that those who work late in the office have an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Feeling well-rested can boost your immune system, take care of your mental health, reduce the risk of diabetes – the list goes on. Making sure you’re well-rested will boost your productivity during your (shorter) working hours. Working late can also make your feel resentful towards your work, which is not good for your mental health or your productivity.
3) You should be able to complete your tasks within your working hours
Your set hours are your set hours for a reason. If you find yourself staying late again and again simply because you’ve not completed your workload, it might be time to discuss with your colleagues/boss/manager about the current distribution of work and responsibilities. You should be able to complete everything within your given period of time, and if your current set up isn’t working for you, change it.
4) Staying late isn’t going to help you reach your long term goals
Take a step back and consider your priorities. What’s the ‘true north’ that you’re working towards? If you know that your overtime isn’t helping you reach these goals, or is even halting your plans, it’s time to stop. It doesn’t matter whether your priorities lie with your work or your personal life, staying late at work isn’t going to help develop either of those.
5) Extended hours don’t equal extended productivity
Let’s quickly take a look at a country where there is most definitely mutual respect between employer and employee: Sweden! Swedes are well known for their easy-going approach to work and their take on the school system, and let’s not forget meatballs. Mm. Only around 1% of the workforce in Sweden work more than 50 hours a week. Swedes have 25 vacation days (usually more when working at a large company!) and are very rarely in the office after 5pm. Productivity remains high despite the shorter hours and additional holiday. On that note, BRB, just packing my bags!