Why Working Long Hours can Affect Your Bottom Line?
It all seemed so easy when you started. Your business was new, and its growth was manageable. Then the development became less of something to cheer about and more about how you keep up with it. Many successful small to medium-sized businesses have addressed this problem, and most have decided that they need to work harder and longer.
Why Longer Working Hours Can Backfire on Your Business
- Why are we working longer hours?
- Disadvantages of working long hours
- How to solve the problem of having to work longer hours?
- Why hire a marketing agency?
Why are we working longer hours?
As a business grows, the tasks associated with managing that business increase. As government regulation changes and becomes more complicated, so does the time required to understand and respond to that regulation. As you need to employ more people, so do you need to generate more payroll, more HR policies, and more Occupational Health and Safety guidelines. You know what I am saying.
The issue for many businesses is that growth can be rapid and sporadic, and it is not always easy to invest in the internal infrastructure and people to support that growth. So we work harder and longer. But should we?
Disadvantages of working long hours
Two primary areas are impacted by working longer hours: personal health and business productivity. Let’s consider each long-term effect of working long hours in turn.
A) Long term health effects of working extended hours
Research undertaken by the Australian National University in 2017 indicates that longer working hours can diminish people's mental and physical health.
Physical health issues include muscular-skeletal disorders and sleep deprivation impacts, including fatigue and weight gain. In addition, increased stress levels are associated with long working hours. Such stress is often associated with heart conditions and high blood pressure.
There is also an association between long working hours and mental health. Mental well-being can be dramatically impacted by extended periods of long working hours. The impact of less sleep and less time to relax is connected to higher rates of depression and anxiety. Longer work hours may also impact personal relationships. Mental health outcomes related to personal relationships should be counted as one of the overworking effects on mental health.
B) Working longer hours can actually reduce productivity
The more an individual has to do, and the more tired they become, the greater the likelihood of mistakes and accidents occurring, hence radically reducing productivity. A worker’s work rate is likely to decline over time as they become more tired. A study by Ford Motor Company in the 1990s proved that long term reliance on increased work hours resulted in overall reductions in productivity.
After how many hours of work does productivity decrease? A Stanford University study by John Pencavel found that productivity per hour declines when people work more than 50 hours a week. After 55 hours, productivity drops so much that working more hours would be pointless. He even found that anyone working up to 70 hours a week will achieve the same output as someone working 55 hours. So in effect, those 15 hours have little worth.
How to solve the problem of having to work longer hours?
It’s not always possible to meet your productivity needs internally. We have already established that simply having existing resources work extended hours can be problematic. Those problems may even lead to a fall in sales revenue for your business. We also recognise that the need for increased productivity may not be permanent, but the employment of additional resources to cope with it may be.
Outsourcing may be the key. Outsourcing is a viable and flexible alternative for every business and is typically no longer just used by larger companies. Outsourcing allows small businesses to accomplish more and assign important tasks to experts without significantly increasing the business workforce while maintaining cost control.
Using an external agency frees up time for business owners to focus on core business tasks, knowing that experts are completing necessary tasks quickly and effectively.
One area that many businesses are looking to external outsourcing suppliers, whether freelancers or agencies, is marketing. The growth in digital marketing has significantly increased the complexity of this discipline and has the potential to distract businesses from their core endeavours.
Why hire a marketing agency?
Small to medium-sized businesses are already working hard. Above, we have discussed some of the downsides of continually adding to the existing workload. Some businesses do not have the time or resources to service their marketing needs adequately. Many are too busy building and servicing their core business activities.
Hiring an agency makes good sense because business is accessing the services of experts. An agency will offer expertise in defined areas, from advertising to SEO. The company has the opportunity to capitalise on specific skill sets and not have to rely on a more generalist approach if employing a marketing professional internally.
The benefits of hiring a marketing agency or utilising freelance services can also stack up in terms of cost for several of reasons. The business pays for the resource only when needed. Also, the work completed by the outsourced supplier is likely to be completed quicker, requiring less re-work than if developed internally.
The elimination of time-consuming marketing tasks will allow many small business entrepreneurs to focus on activities that can make a huge difference. That focus may boost productivity and ensure the company meets its goals.
Working long hours can affect your bottom line. As your business grows more successful, your workload is likely to increase. While you may be able to maintain that effort for a period, higher workloads will start to take a toll on your health and productivity after a while. There are clear and measurable disadvantages of working long hours.
Businesses trying to minimise the long term disadvantages of working long hours should consider where in their business they can outsource to maintain productivity that supports core business activities. Today more small to medium enterprises are finding that support from external marketing agencies.