Whether you want to help overworked employees or better manage your own time, there’s a lot that you could do – and we’re here to help.
What does it mean to be overworked?
The idea of being overworked is simple; if somebody is taking on more tasks than they are capable of doing, it’ll often lead to burnout. One of the biggest challenges in the workplace, and even for self-employed individuals, is that it’s not always quite as easy to recognize when you’re pushing yourself too far.
Many things can point to overwork. For example, if employees are tired, unenthusiastic, and generally disengaged with their work, there’s a chance that they’re taking on too much responsibility (take a look at our guide to employee disengagement to learn more). There are many more things to look out for, but we’ll take a closer look into them later on.
For those who are worried that they’re putting too much pressure on themselves or working harder than they can feasibly manage, it’s usually in their best interests to take things slow. Whether you’re running your own business or working for someone else’s company, you’ll want to make sure that you’re performing at your best.
While overworking employees can be a sign of bad management, there can be other things that contribute to a less-than-ideal management style. If you’re looking for opportunities to improve upon your current system, it could be worth reading through some of the ideas at our entry on signs of poor management.
Ten signs of overworking at work
One of the benefits is that there can often be several tell-tale signs to look out for if you’re feeling overworked (or worried that an employee is feeling the strain of their workload). Here are just 10 of them:
- Making mistakes on simple tasks or repetitive endeavours
- Needing more time and effort to complete tasks, even simpler ones
- Irregular and poor sleep patterns, and potential sleep disorders
- Taking more breaks than usual to reset
- Finding it harder to stay focused on the task at hand
- An unhealthy balance between your work and personal life
- Feeling lethargic when well-rested and with a healthy diet
- An increase in self-deprecating talk and even mood swings
- A decrease in overall work quality (even minor changes can suggest an underlying issue)
- A lack of basic healthcare practices, which could manifest in skipping meals, a disregard for sleeping, or even less motivation when exercising
There are a variety of things that you could do if you want to help an employee that’s taking on more than they can efficiently handle on their own. In most cases, as an employer or manager, it’ll be in your best interests to help prevent your workers from burning out.
Better managing shifts and projects, for example, could be an easy fix. Using a tool like Leave Management System to make it easier to keep track of leave can be a great way to ensure that employees get the breaks they need without any hassle.
How does overwork affect health and body?
Unfortunately, there are usually quite a few issues that can come with working longer hours and pushing yourself. This can often manifest in many ways; from depressive feelings, to a lack of concentration. However, these effects aren’t exclusive to mental health, but physical well-being too.
One key example of how being overworked can affect your body is that it could significantly reduce your fitness levels, making it harder to follow your current routines and efforts. This can lead to factors like weight gain (through irregular eating or less exercise), low energy, and more.
Other common results of overworking, such as a lack of sleep or depression, can also cause issues. Some may find that the lack of care for physical health will result in a variety of other physical complications; from poor circulation, to higher levels of cholesterol.
This may not be the case for everybody, but the fact that many people disregard their own health and basic needs in favor of working hard is certainly something that can be problematic in many aspects of one’s life; physically, mentally, and socially.
There are certainly no benefits to overworking the body and mind, so it’s always best to find ways to better manage your time. A tool like Online Work Schedule Maker could offer an excellent opportunity to create a better work/life balance.
Five ways to stop being overworked
Here are some tips for anyone who has been struggling with being overworked, particularly those who are working from home and need to manage their own schedules:
- Give yourself time to rest. While you don’t need to have extensive breaks or procrastinate when you should be focusing on the task at hand, setting yourself aside some time to rewind and take care of yourself is often an important step in preventing burnout
- Set yourself a schedule and focus on prioritizing the projects that are most important first. If you can, allocate a certain amount of time that you think is fair so you can have a goal to aim for
- Set aside a workspace in your home so you can get in the zone and be as productive as possible during work hours (that way, you won’t have to continue working later than necessary to complete your tasks)
- Similarly, you might want to take a step back from that environment and enjoy your downtime in a separate space. You could also turn off your work devices when taking a longer break or finishing up, if you have electronics that are work-specific
- Try to minimize distractions as much as possible. Working from home can offer many advantages, but some may find that procrastinating is easier than ever before. It’s no secret that letting your mind and attention wander will prevent you from actively getting work done, so try to reduce your access to things that may encourage you to stray off-topic
While these are just 5 things that you could do to try and avoid overworking yourself, there’s a good chance that implementing them will help significantly.