There has been a buzz around the Internet lately about the recent changes on Wall Street to shorten the hours that employees work in a week.
Big investment banks like Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan are now making an effort to encourage younger employees to take more time off. These recent changes, to what was once considered a rite of passage, come on the heels of the death of Moritz Erhardt, a 21-year-old Bank of America intern who died last summer. Unconfirmed reports said that Erhardt had worked consecutive all-nighters leading up to death (an epileptic seizure), which may be partly to blame.
It’s no surprise that interns at some of the top investment banks work exceedingly long hours. According to David Salsone, a former intern at Morgan Stanley, his weekly work average about a 100-plus hours. He also told the Wall Street Journal “there were some nights I’d work up until a few hours before the next day would start. I’d go home, shower, shave and come back to work…And there were some days where you don’t go home.”
But overworking your employees doesn’t have to mean putting them through 100-hour-weeks. Overworking has a lower threshold than you might think, and the consequences can still be very negative—even if your employees aren’t pulling all-nighters. Have a look below for a few reasons it’s a bad idea to overwork your employees:
More hours doesn’t equal better work
Just because an employee happens to be at the office more often, doesn’t mean they are above the rest simply because they are “putting in their time.”
Burning the midnight oil can cause fatigue, stressing out your employees, making it hard for them to concentrate and thus affecting the quality of work they produce. Sure, they might be able to finish more work, but it’s doubtful that their work will be of good quality.
By allowing your employees time to get away from work, their time in the office will be much more efficient. It may be tempting to suck all the hours you can out of your new intern, but that won’t do much for productivity in the long run.
Longer hours can put your employees at risk of getting sick
While Earhardt’s situation is an extreme consequence of being overworked, it serves as a reminder that overworking your employees can put them at risk of getting sick. This in turn can also affect your overall productivity, since employees may have to take off work to recover. It might seem silly, but having a lot of sick employees in the office can easily snowball into a shortage of workers on-hand.
Overworking your employees can ruin your employer brand
Simply put, overworking your employees is just plain mean. While companies like those on Wall Street can abide by a more cut-throat approach, smaller businesses will have a harder time convincing job-seekers that it’s worth it for them to put their health at risk, so it’s best to stay away from that kind of approach.
We’re all for employees who are willing to work hard and do whatever it takes to get the job done, but we certainly think that it should be within reason. Overworking your employees can put you in a lot of trouble and will likely hurt your bottom line, so make an effort to make sure your employees are well taken care-of. Fatigue and burn-out will certainly do you more harm than good.
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