Work life balance in Hyperlocal Startups and companies of all size ( Part I )
4th August 2015Category : HyperlocalPublished by :J Ranjan Reading Time : 11 Minute News Sourced : Global
This post maintains a transparency
about the workplace environment and its social impacts in accordance with
workforce diversity as well. Overwork is one of the most significant changes to
have taken place in the modern jobs. There has been a great shift in the way
things have changed in our lives in the past few years. The current workplace
has heralded into a new phase of global economy which works 24/7 and is ever
demanding in terms of skills. In the â€śCauses of overworkâ€ť section, there is an
input about the major reasons behind overwork. Strategically the practice of
overwork has merits as well as demerits. In some of the cases, the way
employees overwork is detrimental to their health and company wide
What is overworking?
â€śOverwork occurs when longer hours
per day, week, or year begin to have deleterious effects on the individual,
family, community and economy. The line between work and overwork is crossed
when fatigue and stress build up, often cumulatively, leading to a greater risk
of mistakes, accidents, injuries, health problems, reduced quality of
workmanship, and diminished productivity per hour worked.â€ť(DeGraaf, 2003,
Overworking is one of the most common
trends in the labor market these days. Its one of the few things which sends
shivers down the spine of employees usually. The practice of overwork is increasing day and night due to the external as well as the internal factors of
competition. By external factors, I mean competitions from other companies in the
market whereas internal factors are the ones that employees have within the
organization for promotions etc. I personally believe that employees work
overtime for pursuit of their own excellence in the organization.
The practice of overwork results in
competitive advantage for the employees as well as the management. However, it
also results to health determent in the longer run. I personally call overwork
as a â€śred buttonâ€ť. Its just like â€śâ€¦having too much to do, not enough time to
perform required tasks, not enough resources to do the work well (Maslach &
Common Approach towards Overwork
I believe in work, hard work, and
long hours of work. Men do not breakdown from overwork, but from worry and
dissipation. (Charles Evans Hughes)
We often hear of people breaking down
from overwork, but in nine out of ten they are really suffering from worry or
anxiety. (John Lubbock)
Common perceptions about overwork
vary from person to person. These perceptions about overwork are decisively
important as every working individual has a different reaction towards
overwork. It differs for every working employee based on their needs,
grievances, wishes, lifestyle and expectations from their organization.
I have tried to highlight the fact
that the modern day approach towards overwork is beneficial in shorter terms
and vice versa. "While we normally equate long hours at work with
commitment, long hours are actually much more strongly correlated with
increased risk for burnout - and burnout brings with it increased medical costs
and lost productivity.
Overwork may lead to short term
business gains but often at huge costs both to the corporation and to the
individual. Looking for ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness both at
the company and the team level can help reduce overwork by streamlining and
eliminating non-value added tasks."(BettyPurkey, Manager, Work/Life
Strategies, Texas Instruments).
How many work hours are too many?
Most of the employees work in shifts.
The companies have gone global in order to sustain themselves in the market and
to keep their goodwill intact in the eyes of their clients. The workplace
environment has changed drastically and as a result of it, employees are asked
to stretch more often. Employees are under constant pressure because of their
ever demanding and paced jobs these days. The work culture and shift duration
varies geographically as well as demographically. US workers take 14 vacation
days while their European counterparts average approximately 33 (Engle, 2003, cited
in Murphy & Zagorski, 2005).
â€śExcessive working hours continue to
be a serious problem facing individuals, their families, communities and
businesses. Despite widespread recognition of the problem of overwork for more
than a decade, the trend in hours worked continues upward. Large majorities of
employees are articulating concern that their hours are too long. Coupled with
the ongoing increase in workloads faced by many employees, stress and overload
are a persistent challenge faced by companies.â€ť(Juliet Schor)
â€śThree-quarters of men and women at
every life stage are working more hours than they would prefer to work.â€ť(Hertz,
Causes of Overwork in Employees
Some causes of overwork are
organizational while others are personal causes.
Organizational causes are the ones
caused due to changes taking place in its external as well as internal
environment. Whereas, personal causes are more of self centered issues in the
lives of employees. There are a number of reasons that contribute to this
current burgeoning issue. One of the major reasons behind overwork is the
globalization of economies wherein everything that employees and their
organizations do is customer specific. The globalization of economies have led
to job insecurity in the employees. As a result of this employees have started
working for the longest hours in order to retain their jobs. Reduction in
administrative support is another prominent reason behind the sudden rise of
overworking tendency among the employees.
Technology is probably the biggest
contributor to overwork. Technology has advanced like ever growing mushrooms
and this has forced the employees to work from their home due to their extra
Coming down to the personal causes of
overwork, I personally feel that some parts of the employee section work
overtime in order to show their loyalty and long term association. Most of the
companies reward their employees monetarily on account of their extra efforts
in the job. The employees work overtime in order to make as much money as they
could. Further, highly motivated employees want to move up the ladder so they
invest the highest amount of hours in their job. High ambitions and their own
sense of excellence in the job have led to the growing trend of overwork in the
â€śI'm sure many of you are working
more than forty hours per week. Recent layoffs have thrust huge amounts of work
on employees who got to keep their jobs. In addition, survivors of layoffs are
"afraid of losing their jobs and are therefore working harder and longer
hours to prove their worth". (http://careerplanning.about.com/od/workrelated/a/overwork_2.htm
Accessed June 14, 2014).
Impacts of Overwork
Overworking is a major issue
according to most of the employees. The worst impact of overwork is on health.
Overworking causes work-related illnesses. Impacts on health include symptoms
like headaches, fatigue, extreme tiredness, regular sleepiness, continuous
irritability, and even panic attacks. As a result of overwork, challenges posed
to the employees are not enjoyed by them. Impacts due to higher workload seem
to affect the families of the employees as well. The workload issue has far
reaching negative consequences than the one visible to our eyes.
Other major impacts of overwork are
higher stress levels and burnout, increase in health maintenance costs,
decrease in organizational productivity, volunteerism and time for society that
is friends and family members. Motivation levels of the employees have fallen
down drastically. The practice of overwork is like â€śnever to put ourselves
above company loyaltiesâ€ť and being treated as company slaves. This has led to
lower turnover of employees and financial crisis as well. In some of the
exceptional cases where the employees are treated as slaves, extra workload has
caused heart failure and brain hemorrhages. Longer hours at the work also cause
sleep deprivation. Employees are deprived of meaningful family interaction or a
Work-family conflict has been defined
as "a form of interrole conflict in which the role pressures from the work
and family domains are mutually incompatible in some respect" (Greenhaus
and Beutell, 1985).
Work conflict is defined as the
extent to which an individual experiences incompatible role pressures within
the work domain, and family conflict is defined as the extent to which an
individual experiences incompatible role pressures within the family domain
(Kopelman, Greenhaus, and Connolly 1983).
In other words work family conflicts
are the roles through which an individual level is measured. The fact that work
and family are two different physical models is another reason for conflict.
The role senders at both the places (work & family) are different so it is
difficult for the employees to avoid conflicts with their seniors or spouse and
children. Lack of interaction and incompatible expectations are other
contributors to the family conflict. There is a graph here which mentions the
important factors of life. Every factor needs to be given their share of time
and importance in order to avoid work family conflict.
Note: This is first part of a 3 Series article. Other 2 parts can be checked via "View All" tab in the "Hyperlocal" section.