The impact of overtime work on your personal time

The impact of overtime work on your personal time

Sometimes, having your work life overlaps with your personal time may seem a good idea, especially if there is a task left undone or a deadline imminent.

Work provides us with financial independence and support for our needs. Moreover, most of us find accomplishment and gratification from work. It also occupies a large part of our day-to-day life, with a standard of 35-40 hours per week. However, exceptional times could lead to an increase in the workload for an employee and make him resort to engaging in overtime activities.

Sometimes, having your work life overlaps with your personal time may seem a good idea, especially if there is a task left undone or a deadline imminent. It could be as little as answering an important email or picking a call at home. You might think that a couple of hours of extra-time could bring you that ease of mind necessary to enjoy the rest of your evening. Although, excluding during emergencies that could happen outside the work hours, having your mind focused 24/7 on impelling obligations set by your workload could easily slip out of your control and become a real problem.

We can distinguish between two different approaches:

Overtime work

You stay at your workplace for the time necessary and when you finish, you head back home. Even if the work time extends over your free time, there is still a clear distinction between the two areas. Of course, it depends on how often you resort to such practice. It is an employer obligation to organize the workload to fit the contracted work hours of each employee and ask for extra time only in case of real emergencies. If that case happens too often, it could slowly but surely deplete the workforce of its mental and physical well-being and degenerate in a case of Burnout.

More than the extra hours, the reason you needed to put overtime work could represent the real problem in the first place. Is it maybe a sign of an overstretched workforce or it shows maybe unrealistic expectations and toxic company culture? Staying up late in many workplaces could mirror a culture of presenteeism, where the employee feels forced to put up with overtime work if he wants attentions.

After Hours work

This time, you took your job anxiety in your home life, and, without even lying down for a minute, you thought that working in a familiar environment might contribute to reducing the stress you feel. In exceptional times, near a deadline or a major restructuration phase for an important project, it could also be a cause of pride for an employee to be available 24/7 and constantly monitor the company’s communication channels. Although, it is when the employee perceives such actions as an imposition rather than an option, that he might grow resentful.

Short-sighted benefits or long-term gains

Especially nowadays, with the rise of remote work, and the practice of working at home, it is even more difficult to have a clear distinction between the two. At the employee discretion, he might easily find pros and cons to his choices and attitude. Someone might find it more suitable to have the comfort of the household, a fitted schedule and the possibility to vent during work breaks with a walk or cooking his lunch instead of having to drive to and from the workplace.

All considered, even if you might enjoy it or find it desirable, try to keep as much separated as possible your work time from your time, and have clear distinctions between the two. Having a simple ritual like changing for more comfortable clothes once you have taken care of the daily tasks, could greatly help your mind to transition from one environment to the other. Adding music or a meditation technique( it could be as little as deep breathing in and out for four seconds, repeated five times) during this special time could highly increase your gains and help you feel less stressed out for the rest of your evening, and overall actually improve your work outputs.

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