Finance News & Insights

Will common employee practices jack up your overtime exposure?

Too much to do and not enough time to do it – nothing new about that claim for many employees. What is new: how much that might soon cost your company. 

Half of all office workers now work more than eight hours a day. That’s the finding of the Staples Advantage 2015workplaceindex. Probably doesn’t surprise many managers.

But considering the upcoming overhaul of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), many of those people could soon be overtime-eligible. And there go your payroll costs!

It’s an issue no company can afford not to address, especially now.

Check out what’s causing many folks to exceed 8 hours-a-day territory – and the surprisingly simple ways you can prevent it from happening.

Time suck 1: Email overload

That little ping is taking a big toll! Over one-third of all office workers admit they experience email overload and believe it has a negative impact on their productivity.

Most people say it’s the first thing they do when they arrive at work: Check email, delete spam, etc. But it’s easy to lose precious minutes – and even hours – slogging through and responding to email.

You want to help employees reclaim that time so they can get their job done. Of course it’s important to encourage people not to overuse email and do all the usual tricks to manage it (check at specific intervals, turn off automatic notifications, etc.)

But there’s something you can do systematically to help, as well: make sure you have solid spam filters in place so that employees aren’t wasting time on junk – or even accidentally triggering a virus or spear phishing attack.

That covers emails during the workday. But with the new OT rules looming you also need to address after-hours email use.

One thing some of your peers are considering: limiting their access to company info with an email curfew.

Establishing an email curfew would prohibit employees from sending, responding to or even reading emails outside of specific time windows (barring emergencies of course).

Some companies even shut down their email servers during off hours.

The key to making a policy like this work: your company’s supervisors. If managers don’t understand they’re not to reach out to employees after hours, there’s no way the policy will hold.

Time suck 2: Too many meetings

Few folks will ever love meetings. But when they’re eating up a quarter of people’s workweeks, it’s time to take another look.

One in five office workers say they spend more than two hours a day in meetings, according to the Staples index.

It would be one thing if those meetings were super-productive, but more than a quarter of folks believe that the meetings they attend are inefficient!

The last thing you want to find out is that someone had to work after hours (and into overtime territory) because he or she was tied up in unproductive – or even unnecessary – meetings.

This time before the new rules go into effect provides the perfect opportunity to reevaluate every meeting that’s being held:

  • Can some be cut back to once a month?
  • Can it be eliminated completely?
  • Will an email update suffice?
  • Can the attendee list be pared back?

Each of these questions can help get employees back to business and your compensation costs under control.

Info: For the Staples Advantage 2015workplaceindex, click [free registration required]

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