Working Overtime: Should You Be Working More Than 40 Hours a Week?

November 1, 2022


A man is working overtime at his desk, in an office that is completely dark around him.
Working overtime may be necessary sometimes, but should it be the standard practice always?

Working beyond your scheduled hours has long been revered as hardworking, diligent, and committed. This trend of working overtime, or working over 40 hours, once encouraged by employers, is now under speculation. For decades, employees have been busting their backs to not only bring in more income but to impress their bosses. As the tides turn, the working world shifts and employees' attitudes change, working overtime may not be as essential as we initially thought. Should you be working more than 40 hours a week? Here’s what the consensus is.

Is Working Overtime Worth It?

Working overtime was once a sign of true company loyalty. If employees are willing to go above and beyond, then it must mean they’re dedicated to the company’s mission. However, evidence is now suggesting that working over 40 hours a week is harmful to both employees and businesses alike. Working beyond scheduled hours of operation threatens both employees’ well-being and company productivity.

For Employees

As the trend of “quiet-quitting” gains more and more notoriety, employees are now setting boundaries with their jobs. Most workers, especially younger generations like Millenials and Gen-Z, place great value on work-life balance. This means that fewer people are willing to work beyond scheduled hours. Fewer people are willing to risk their mental, emotional, and physical well-being for their jobs.

For employees who work beyond the standard 40 hours, there are negative impacts such as:

  • High stress
  • Increased levels of burnout
  • Physical pain or sickness
  • Lack of sleep
  • Poor nutrition and lack of exercise
  • Little time to spend with family or loved ones

When employees are in a state of constant survival, this inevitably threatens productivity levels. Though working overtime may seem like a surefire way to increase productivity, it produces adverse effects.

For Businesses

If employees are failing to function at their highest level, how will businesses thrive? For companies that create intensive work environments, the risk is greater than the reward. Evidence suggests that a healthy work environment is the number one determining factor for employee retention. Businesses that encourage working overtime will see the following effects:

  • Lower employee retention rates
  • Higher rates of employee turnover
  • More money investing in new employees rather than saving money keeping existing ones
  • Decreased levels of productivity
  • Low employee satisfaction, resulting in resentful, uninspired, and exhausted workers

Let’s face it: times are changing. People are no longer willing to work for companies that don’t value their time. Even if it means receiving some extra cash

Does Overtime Pay Benefit Employees in the End?

Overtime pay is the one incentive that keeps employees working long hours. The overtime pay may seem enticing at the moment, but is it worth it? Is overtime pay an exploitive incentive to keep employees exhausted, overworked, and complacent? 

The truth is, working overtime every once in a while is not always harmful. Receiving extra income for extra work is sometimes necessary. When businesses don’t make overtime work compulsory but offer it as an exciting opportunity, working overtime has its benefits. In some cases, it can even boost employee morale. 

However, it shouldn’t be mandated by employers as a way to get their team to prove their loyalty. Working overtime should be an opportunity for those who are willing and able. Not only this, but workers should be recognized, and compensated fairly for their hard work.

All companies are different, and therefore the overtime pay will be as well. Talk to your employer to learn more about what your company offers for overtime pay.

ASAP Values Hardworking Professionals

The American Society for Administrative Professionals (ASAP) deeply values the hard work of administrative or executive assistants. This is why we’re committed to offering the necessary training tools and resources to guide them toward success. To learn more about the training resources we offer, feel free to take a peek here. To become a member of ASAP, join us today.

Join the Conversation

Welcome to the ASAP Circle, a community platform for peer-to-peer conversation on trending topics, professional challenges, and shared experiences. We even have designated spaces for weekly Tuesday Coffee Breaks.

Start Connecting Today!

American Society of Administrative Professionals

Producer of

APC  EA Ignite