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6 tips to help you avoid working overtime

14 Aug 2019

Advice from Recruiters explains how we can manage working overtime and learn to keep time away from our job sacred.

How do you achieve balance between work and your personal life? Rapidly evolving technology and fast innovation can make that difficult to do in modern careers, but managing overtime is still just as important.

Director of nationwide recruitment at Recruiters, Jane Gormley, said that it is crucial to establish a line between work and other areas of life. This follows Morgan McKinley’s recent research, which revealed that 65pc of Irish professionals were working overtime on a weekly basis, with up to 75pc not compensated for their additional time

“With enormous and very recent changes in working arrangements, it’s of high importance to get some control and boundaries around when you are in and out of work,” Gormley said.

She described this time of year as particularly important for knowing how to switch off and escape overtime because many people go on holidays. A report published earlier this year revealed that more than 40pc of employees feel compelled to reply to managers’ requests while on annual leave.

Tips on how to stop working overtime and keep your time off sacred:

1. Make sure you turn your out of office on. Lots of people don’t bother and this leads to confusion. Make sure you include an alternative contact in your out of office to ensure that no one expects a response from you.

2. Leave a handover document for those who may need to deal with any queries that are normally directed at you.

3. If, for some reason you need to keep the lines of communication open, designate set times and stick to them.

4. If you have a work phone, switch it off and put it away – you’ll be surprised what people can manage to get done without you.

5. If you’re a manager, have a proactive, prearranged check-in when certain issues or questions can be run by you. Don’t encourage over-reliability of people being allowed to constantly interrupt your non-work environment.

6. On your return, book yourself an hour in your diary on your first morning back and try an include your ‘referred buddy’ who can fill you in. This will get you back up to speed in a manageable way.

Outside of holiday times, Gormley said flexibility is an important part of the working world. However, she said clearer boundary lines need to be drawn when it comes to working overtime.

“With all this flexibility, there remains the question of where the professional boundaries are when we have all come to accept work activity at all times. Deciding what’s reasonable and manageable in your mind is something that all employees need to think about.”

Gormley added that all businesses have peaks and troughs and so sometimes extra hours are necessary, but this time should be taken back at a later date.

“If you’re willing and happy to overperform when needed, that’s great and should be valued. A common exchange is unofficial time off in lieu, and this is what a reasonable employer will happily arrange. If they aren’t volunteering, then make it clear that this is what you expect,” she said.

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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