Internet Defense League

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Burn 'em or not

One must wonder at what point does it make sense to hire another employee. Is it when the person is clocking more overtime hours than regular hours? Is it when the person is so tired he or she is wearing two different shoes or sleeps at the office? Or is it far sooner than those scenarios?

This happens throughout the commercial sector, I imagine. However, I frequently see this happening in the government. One person, a good friend of mine, is working three jobs with barely any compensation and has been in this situation for years. How he still works there and hasn't flown off the handle, I am not sure. And he's not the only one, just one of the more extreme cases.

In all honesty, I am not even sure where this topic came from, but I was thinking about the situation and the topic just popped into my head. The people that I know that are working far more than their job calls for typically are extremely hard, competent workers. I mean, as a boss, to whom are you going to assign the extra work--to the competent hard worker or the lazy, shiftless bastard?

There are a number of ways this affects employees. According to researchers, excessive overtime (working more than 12 hours per day), can increase the likelihood of injury by 37% (see Occupational and Environmental Medicine). I am not sure if that's limited to workplace injuries, but if it doesn't, think about that commute home during rush hour traffic where that employee is tired, frustrated, and dealing with incompetent drivers.

Further research shows that there is a 60% increase in heart disease by those people working more than 10 hours per day (see The Guardian). A number as high as 60% is no joke. However, even with these statistics, employers seem not to be dissuaded from overworking their employees.

Beyond the injuries, is the general morale and attitude of employees. When employees feel like they are being taken advantage of, even if they are being duly compensated (and government workers rarely are) their morale tends to nosedive, in turn reducing productivity. This is where you would think eyebrows get raised. If John is working 12 hour days, but only producing 10 hours worth of work, you would think that management would notice. However (and this is another area that encourages my soapboxism), employers rarely have quality defined metrics in which to determine whether their employees are productive.

Until the government (and other organizations, I suppose) get their heads out of their ... shoes, well, I imagine that we'll see an increase of stressed, frustrated workers making bad decisions. With the hiring freezes, the furloughs coming up, and the focus on reduction through attrition, I see no improvement in this area.
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