No matter what line of work you do, there are going to be times when the unexpected happens, and you may have to put in more work than originally anticipated. Sometimes, this means that work is still unfinished at the end of the workday, and you can’t leave it like that. This means that you, or you and the team you’re managing, pull up the bootstraps and put in a little bit overtime. This is just an accepted, occasional hazard of the working world.

But what if you’re putting in overtime on a regular basis? What happens if you find that more often than not when others are going home, you’re still on the job? You might be putting in the hours, but you may also be taking on something that’s not good for you. In fact, too much overtime can have consequences.

You Harm Relationships

More and more people recognize that the work/life balance really is a balance. Too much on either side can harm the other, and sometimes this can create a negative feedback loop. Your bonds with your family, for example, can weaken, or even be thrown into conflict by too much overtime. Research compiled over the years has already confirmed that men who spend too much time at work can cause families to suffer.

It’s important to remember that a job is a means to support your loved ones, not the other way around. If your work is causing you to sacrifice your family, your job is not doing something right and needs better management tools like time clock software.

You Endanger Your Health

It’s not just your family that is harmed by too much overtime; your health can be severely impacted. Working a 10 hour or more workday, repeatedly, raises the risk of stroke. In addition to that, it can also lead to weight gain, depression, high blood pressure and, of course, exhaustion, which can lead to numerous side effects, such as lower awareness, and being more susceptible to injury.

The facts of overwork on health are far from a myth. In Asia, for example, where the work ethic celebrates “workaholism,” it’s been known for generations that work can impair health to the point that it can kill people. Both the Chinese and the Japanese even have specific words in their languages for people who die as a result of overwork, because it’s such a regular occurrence.

Your Productivity Drops

If you care about your work, this is perhaps the biggest threat of all. Too much overtime can lower the quality of your work. As exhaustion overtakes you, you become less aware, and your thinking process slows. You may miss errors that would ordinarily never get past you in prime condition, you may work more slowly, or even more sloppily.

When this is magnified over an entire overworked construction crew, as one example, this can lead to more injuries or other mishaps which can even delay a project, creating more work for everyone. It may also point to some major inefficiencies in your planning or organization. If you find that you are no longer able to stick to the original schedule and everything is taking longer than it should, this can jeopardize a project.

Tackle The Problem

Chronic overtime isn’t the sign of a healthy company; it means that there may be organizational problems. An employee time clock app can be essential for keeping track of worked hours and making sure everyone is paid what they are owed. However, time clock software may also help you figure out where the time is being lost, where it can be made up, and, perhaps most important of all, how you can get back on track so that overtime isn’t always the answer.