How Overworking Is Destroying Your Businesses?
There is a ‘badge of honour’ amongst business owners that I absolutely don’t agree with and that’s the 60-plus hour work week. This isn’t something to be proud of, it’s a red flag for poor business structure and organisation. The reason I’m against it is because it’s unsustainable, and leads to burnout.
Burnout is unfortunately a bit of a casually used word. In truth, the physical, mental and emotional damage that burnout causes can mean you close your business for good. I’d hate for that to happen. We need more, not less, small businesses as they are great for local economies and provide a positive push towards an evolving society where we have small businesses becoming industry leaders.
I can see how it happens, as a start-up business you don’t have a lot of equity to employ staff so you do it all yourself. That’s fine to begin with because demand is low and so are the responsibilities, but business owners need to adjust rapidly as their business grows.
There is also a false mindset that doing more for your business is beneficial. I often hear people defend their choice to work excessive hours for all kinds of reasons:
- Brings in more sales and revenue
- Means I can scale faster
- Build better relationships with our customers
- More experience means more skill
None of this is true, just the opposite in fact.
So let’s address the 60-hour work week in a little more detail in this blog and discuss why it needs to be avoided and how you can be successful in business by working fewer hours.
What Are The Bad Effects Of Overworking?
The irony is that overworking yourself can do some real damage to your business. While you intend to be helping your business get ahead, you are in fact opening yourself and your business up to some big problems including:
- Decrease in quality
- Limitations on your output ability
- Staff retention issues
Here are some of the biggest damages resulting from being overworked yourself, or overworking your team.
As a business founder, you might feel that you need to take on all the work a business requires. Long hours (as well as the stress of working long hours) will wear you down physically and emotionally. Poor immune systems and the extra effort stress put on your body can leave you susceptible to colds, flu and infections in the short term and increase the risk of long-term health issues such as heart conditions, hypertension and insomnia.
Mistakes are made
Overworking creates stress and fatigue. Both of these can lead to a lack of focus and poor decision-making as well as absent-mindedness, foggy brain and difficulties seeing solutions. It’s the perfect recipe for making mistakes that can cause customers to become upset, staff to leave and even the potential for injury if you have heavy machinery or equipment as part of your work set-up.
Mistakes can also be expensive to undo.
To see your business thrive you need to continue with innovation and flexible offers. Being overworked will cap your creativity making it harder to find solutions to problems, come up with new products or offers or streamline your systems. What I find is that my best business ideas and innovations come to me in the second week of a holiday, when I’m relaxed, well-rested and away from work. If you never give yourself this time out, it’s going to be hard to see the bigger picture, adapt, make changes and feel creative and passionate about what you do.
Creative thought requires energy – that you might not have in supply.
Creativity is also a big driver for staying motivated and loving your business so you love getting out of bed and getting started every day.
There is a crazy phenomenon that occurs in burnout and that’s getting obsessed with working more hours. This can be a hard one for business owners to identify, making it that much more dangerous.
Basically what happens is you put in more hours to begin with and see results, but then those results stop. So you put in more hours, no change, more hours, no change and it gets to be the obsession with perfecting some part of the business or working ‘hard’ enough to turn it around.
The more hours you put in the faster productivity will drop and the more stressed you will become about taking time off work to recover from illness. It can create some serious mental health issues and kill your passion for your business.
How Can I Avoid Working Too Much?
You need to get the work done, that’s true but there are alternatives to working too much.
You need to scale with your business, so that your systems, structure, skills and lifeforce continually match the business demands.
A lot of business owners make the mistake of keeping the existing set-up as their sales increase. It’s not going to work. Here are some strategies that will help you get out of the overworked cycle.
5 Strategies Entrepreneurs Can Use To Increase Productivity And Stop Overworking
There are five essential strategies that can alleviate overwork, fatigue and wasted energy so that you can work less and see bigger results.
#1 Set up systems
A lot of small business owners baulk at the thought of creating business systems because they think it’s a waste of time. Yes, it takes time to sit and write up all your business procedures but it gives back times 100.
Well-structured systems in your business help:
- Define what work needs to be done
- Assign the right staff to complete tasks
- With recruitment, because you know exactly what you are advertising for and can provide a position description
- Avoid double handling or confused work allocations
- quickly and readily identify what needs to change and be adjusted as you scale
If everyone across your team has the right allocated tasks and known output, it can increase productivity and keep the staff numbers accurate for the work required. This will give everyone in your team (including yourself) a focused direction and improve morale through allocating effective workloads.
#2 Work smarter, not harder
The simple truth is most of the work you are doing isn’t necessary for your business to run. For some reason we tend to add more to our day to avoid doing tasks we don’t like, to impress others, out of habit, or to hide the fact we have no idea what we are doing. It’s okay to be human and have these feelings of being stuck or overwhelmed but if you want your business to be successful you need to identify when you are setting yourself up with useless tasks and do something about getting back to the core of your workload.
There are a number of things you can do to be more direct in how you tackle your workload:
- Have tangible and measured business goals
- Delegate tasks you don’t like to people who love doing them
- Hire people who are experts in the areas you suck at
- Get training to increase your understanding of the tasks you have to manage
- Chunk your day so you can work on one important thing without distractions – i.e. when you are bookkeeping, don’t check your emails or phone
- Hire a business coach or mentor to help identify gaps in your work
- Keep meetings to a minimum – they are time bleeders
- Get systems set up to avoid double handling
- Avoid micromanaging- let your team do the job they were hired to do
- Take a break – a weekend or a week every 90 days
#3 Hire the right people
You can get away with handling every aspect of your business in the initial start-up stage – but only then. As soon as you get some runs on the board you need to start making changes to keep up with your changing business.
Some staff will be needed to handle the business aspects that are above your skills
Others will be needed to make the workload sustainable and allow you to keep up with demand.
Hire staff who share your values and care about your business mission.
A mistake I see a lot is where business owners are frightened of hiring people more skilled than they are because they think they will no longer be seen as the head of the business. This is no time for fragile egos. You need the very best people to make your business the best it can be. Leadership isn’t about the best skills, it’s about the one who can hold the vision for the company and motivate everyone to work towards that vision.
Make sure you hire before you hit a growth spurt, not when you and your team are overworked and not coping. Your new team members will need time to settle in and adjust before they can put the hammer down.
#4 Communicate goals
When everyone knows what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it helps with morale and efficiency. If you are still the only one in your business you need to know your worth, goals and mission and the steps you need to take each day to make it a reality.
As you build your team you need to include them in your goal structure, communicate how they can help and also discuss the rewards you’ll see as a business when it’s reached.
This will abolish time-consuming confusion between teams and create a precise understanding of each role’s requirements.
#5 Provide Feedback and Flexibility
A great business leader doesn’t just dole out advice, they take it onboard too. Ask for feedback from your staff, suppliers and customers and if you notice patterns in responses or key ideas, take them on board and make some positive changes.
Some ideas to consider are:
- Reduced working hours. There is science backing up the rewards of a 4-day working week
- Taxi vouchers
- Genuine and generous time in lieu if they do need to work overtime to complete an important project
- Training and ongoing support for business and non-business-related activities
When you take action on feedback given your team will see that you listen and care and be more confident about speaking up and having an active role in your business.
On the flip side, be ready to give feedback – positive and constructive – to let your team know how they are doing so they have a chance to listen and respond.
If you need assistance in applying any of these strategies to your business or coming up with custom solutions, Evolve To Grow has experienced business coaches and programs that will set you up for better efficiency and productivity.
Effective communication and solid business systems will work to clear up misunderstandings, stop gaps in work skills, share the load and reduce the hours needed to make your business run well.
Book in your free business meet and greet to see how Evolve To Grow can help you work less and get the lifestyle you want faster.
How Overworking Is Destroying Your Businesses – FAQs
Why is overworking bad for a company?
Overworking can have a detrimental effect on a company’s performance and productivity. It can lead to employee burnout, which can result in decreased morale, increased absenteeism, and high turnover rates. Additionally, overworking can lead to mistakes and errors, which can negatively impact the quality of work produced by the company.
What are the impacts of overworking?
The impacts of overworking can be both physical and mental. Employees who are overworked may experience symptoms such as fatigue, sleep deprivation, and physical ailments such as headaches and muscle tension. Mentally, overworking can lead to increased stress and anxiety, decreased motivation, and decreased job satisfaction. Overworking can also have a negative impact on personal relationships, as employees may be unable to spend time with family and friends due to their work commitments.
What is the effect of overworking on productivity?
Contrary to popular belief, overworking does not necessarily lead to increased productivity. In fact, overworking can actually decrease productivity, as employees who are overworked may be less efficient, make more mistakes, and have difficulty concentrating. Additionally, overworked employees may experience decreased job satisfaction, which can lead to decreased motivation and engagement in their work.
What is the issue with overworked employees?
Overworked employees are more likely to experience burnout, which can lead to decreased morale, increased absenteeism, and high turnover rates. Additionally, overworked employees may experience physical and mental health problems, which can result in increased healthcare costs for the company. Overworked employees may also be less efficient and make more mistakes, which can negatively impact the quality of work produced by the company.
Does overworking lead to mistakes?
Yes, overworking can lead to mistakes and errors. When employees are overworked, they may have difficulty concentrating, may be more prone to distractions, and may be less efficient in their work. Additionally, overworked employees may be more fatigued, which can lead to decreased attention to detail and increased likelihood of making mistakes. Overworked employees may also be more stressed, which can lead to increased anxiety and decreased cognitive functioning. All of these factors can contribute to an increased likelihood of mistakes and errors.