It is a natural impulse for a business to try to get more labor and output from the employees it already has on its payroll rather than hiring new workers. To an extent, this impulse can strengthen a business and lead it to higher profits. However, a business could end up overworking its employees and facing the consequences from this. The effects of overworked employees can seriously damage a business, hurting its profits.
For a business to retain the employees it already has, it must maintain a certain level of satisfaction. The morale of a company's employees is directly related to the workload they're given. Overworked employees are not likely to have high morale for long or want to stay in their positions. The internal culture of a company degrades with employees taking a negative view of where they work.
While it is possible to increase the output of employees by increasing their workloads, there likely will be a trade-off in decreased quality. Workers who have a high workload have less time to devote to each task and often are forced to cut corners. Workers will also have less incentive to improve the quality of their work because they will feel that they are doing enough by focusing on increasing their output.
For those businesses that deal in customer service, it is particularly hazardous to have overworked employees. Overworked employees find it much harder to maintain a friendly and engaging demeanor when they interact with customers. A business must face another trade-off when choosing whether to increase its employees' workloads, and their stress, or to focus instead on providing the best customer service possible. Customers often sense and react negatively to stressed and overworked employees.
Very good employees often time their efforts to be the most effective. By applying different levels of effort to different projects, they produce both a higher quality of work and a greater output. Different tasks require different levels of effort. When an employee is overworked, she is unable to strategize in this way because all of her effort is focused merely on keeping up with her workload and not falling behind.
- CNN Money: Tired? Stressed? Join The Club; May 25, 2005
- "Washington Post"; Motivating Overworked Federal Employees; Tom Fox; November 2010
- "USA Today"; Job Stress Beginning To Take Toll on Some Airline Workers; Barbara De Lollis; November 2004
- "USA Today"; Workers Get More Hours As Companies Hesitate To Hire; Paul Davidson; June 2010
Casey Reader started writing freelance in 2010. His work appears on eHow, focusing on topics in history and culture. Aside from freelance work, Reader is actively pursuing a career in creative writing. He graduated from Centenary College of Louisiana with a Bachelor of the Arts in history and English literature.