The working culture in the US has undergone a significant shift in the previous 12 months. The days of hour-long commutes and hot-desking in crowded offices are long gone. Instead, the coronavirus pandemic has forced us to reconsider how we live our lives and how we earn our incomes. As a result, we are now more aware of the potential advantages of working from home, including increased time spent with friends and family and the ability for businesses to become more inclusive.
However, this new arrangement has also had certain drawbacks for many people, particularly when it comes to establishing boundaries and maintaining a work/life balance. One of the primary effects of this fight to establish limits and professional boundaries within a personal space has been a rise in the frequency of unpaid overtime work.
While many would think that remote work would be less stressful, the spike in these types of jobs during the pandemic has revealed something different. According to the ADP Research institute, employees end up working 9.2 hours of unpaid overtime every week.
One of the areas with the highest growth in unpaid overtime is North America, as the workers there have had almost 9 hours of weekly free work. Luckily, there are overtime laws like the one in California that make employers owe many remote workers unpaid overtime. If you feel like you are one of those people, a California unpaid overtime lawyer might be able to help you.
Set stringent limits
You need to select a specific area that you can use only for work, complete with a desk, an upright chair, and excellent lighting, as we mentioned in our blog post on how to effectively work from home. Your roommates should be informed of your start and end times, and you should block off time on your calendar at night to ensure that you don’t work too late.
These kinds of steps will be crucial in establishing a distinct boundary between your “work” and “home” lives. That should therefore serve to keep you focused and free from distractions, helping to avoid your motivation from waning in the middle of the day and the necessity of working overtime.
Encourage Non-Exempt Employees to Put in Their Usual Workdays
A supervisor should be told by an employer not to make demands for work, no matter how big or small, outside of a worker’s usual working hours. Additionally, it is important to remind non-exempt workers that time spent reading or replying to emails counts as work that must be documented and turned in, in line with the WFH policy of the employer.
Take Breaks Regularly
We’re less inclined to take frequent breaks when we work longer hours.
Breaks are however vitally important and highly restorative since they help us prevent stress from building up early in the day and encourage a speedier recovery at the end of the workday.
Concentrate Your Attention on What is Important Right Now
Be certain and clear about what your top priorities and areas requiring immediate attention are. Choose a few important chores that you’re going to commit to doing at the beginning of each working day. Make certain that they are practical. This will guarantee that you’re focusing on the appropriate things. Additionally, you’ll feel more accomplished at the end of the day, which will make you more likely to log off and enjoy your evening, before getting back to it the next day with a clear head.
Adopt and Disseminate Guidelines that Forbid Unapproved Overtime
Even though an employer may still be obligated to pay overtime if an employee violates this policy, if the employee continues to accrue overtime in contravention of this, the employer may claim that they did not “suffer or permit” the employee’s work and refuse to accept the benefit of the work before addressing (and possibly disciplining) the policy violation. Employers must be careful to ensure that the overtime policy or procedure is being followed correctly.
Put in the Time to Exercise
Take the time each day to work out both your body and mind, whether it be through an HIIT class, meditation, or a quick stroll. Doing so will make it easier for you to unwind at the conclusion of a long day at work, which is no longer as frequently backed up by our daily commute.
Disconnect and Store Work Gadgets
If this isn’t possible, at the very least restrict how often you read your work emails in the evening. Additionally, you need to log out of Skype and any other chat or messaging applications you may be using. Keep your personal device for personal usage solely; resist the temptation to utilize it for business.
The Bottom Line
Overtime only tires you out more and more, especially if it is unpaid. Value your mental health and stop doing the overtime, unless it is completely necessary.