Majority of the workers in the US claim that they work for more than 50 hours on their job every week, that too without getting a dime for overtime. New research reveals that it’s high time that employers begin to politely decline this so-called ‘free’ gift. People who give extra hundreds of hours to their employers every year are called ‘work martyrs’ and they are usually motivated by gadgets which are always-on, work-through weekends and even vacations. From the perspective of employees, trading both fun and sleep for the sake of unpaid job hours is definitely a bad deal. Nevertheless there is still a soaring body of employers who are beginning to realize that this kind of ‘free labor’ is also a not a great deal for the employers.

There have been too many researches which have all attempted to quantify the kind of relation shared between total number of hours worked and productivity of the task. Such researches from the Stanford University have revealed that the output among employees falls crucially after they work for 50 hours in a week and further it falls rapidly after 55 hours in a week. Someone who works for 70 hours or more doesn’t produce anything more than the extra 15 hours. Long hours have been connected with employee turnover and absenteeism. In fact, you will also be surprised to know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a website to the consequences of extended working hours.

Statistics to take into account on productivity and long working hours

Apart from decreasing productivity, there are also other costs associated with long working hours. When an employee works for long hours, the expenses of running the machinery and providing him with heat, light, ventilation is also accountable for further high costs. The entire idea behind the fact that it is possible to cut down working hours without harming productivity should definitely be worthy news for both workers and their employers. As per the Gallup Poll, 4 among 10 people said that they work for more than 50 hours in a week and 2 among 10 workers work for even more than 60 hours.

Despite such alarming statistics, you can’t expect people in America to return earlier to their homes for dinner. Hours worked in a week are on a constant rise and the main driving force behind this has been technology. Pew Research reveals that 38% of adults claim that email, internet and smartphones have definitely increased the total amount of working hours. In case of those who work at offices, the number soars up to 48%.

It is even a bigger concern that employees are compromising their sleep for work. The Pennsylvania University researchers examined the studies and eventually found out the critical fact that people who claimed that they slept 6 hours (or even less than that) at night, worked 2 hours more than the average time as against those who slept for more hours.

Being sleep-deprived will also be a productivity-killer

Being deprived of sound sleep can also become one of the biggest reasons behind falling productivity. However, research from Pencavel said that the productivity usually declines more when you work for more working hours. Someone who works for 35 hours, the additional 5 hours can certainly have consequences which are different from additional 5 hours beginning from 48 hours. At the same time, short bursts of intense work along with working overtime can sometimes increase productivity. Such short bursts aren’t harmful always but surplus hours can always be counterproductive.

However, to put it simply, work, both physical and mental can lead to fatigue and tiredness which restrains the bodily and cognitive resources which people put towards their work that they do. Instead of working more than the normal working hours, if you think of moving slowly and steadily with the work that you do, this way you will abide by the safety requirements.

Ultimately, it isn’t fair enough to blame this kind of overtime on the employers as there are times when the employee brings it on himself. Workers don’t have enough self-discipline due to which they fail to complete their work on time and hence are forced to work overtime.