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How to Reduce Overtime in Healthcare


Overtime is usually beneficial for the institution and the employees. The employees can work a few hours more to make more money, and the employers save the cost of recruiting more people. Yet, it is sometimes a challenge in various professional setups, including healthcare. Besides scheduled overtime, unscheduled overtime is an added issue. The workers may face burnout and some may receive higher payments than others, creating disparity. Reducing overtime in healthcare is essential to avoid long-term issues. Let’s tell you how to reduce overtime in healthcare.

What is Scheduled Overtime?

Scheduled overtime refers to working extra hours decided by the company or hospital management. Each employee in the same capacity gets equal chances to work overtime in such situations. It reduces the risks of burnout if the schedule is appropriately followed, and everyone makes equal money through overtime. Scheduled overtime should also be managed properly to avoid long working hours.

What is Unscheduled Overtime?

Unscheduled overtime means staying in late or coming early to increase the working hours. It is not instructed by the hospital, and employees opt for this way to get paid more. Sometimes, they also skip lunch hours and work throughout. This kind of overtime creates serious problems for the management.


How to Reduce Overtime in Healthcare

It can be difficult to track the employees involved in unscheduled overtime. Yet, it is critical to managing scheduled and unscheduled overtime to reduce financial stress on the institution. When overtime keeps increasing, it burdens the employer and the employees as well eventually. Let’s tell you how you can reduce overtime in healthcare.

Stern Policies

The fundamental reason the same employees work overtime, scheduled or unscheduled, is that they believe they can get away with it. Overtime helps workers make a few more bucks, but it promotes abusing hospital regulations. It is essential to create strict policies and ensure their implementation in the system.

One of the calculation methods offered by the Fair Labor Standards Act is the “eight and eighty” overtime calculation. It involves calculating overtime for 14 days instead of a 40-hour week. You may also opt for other calculation methods. Though, the process must be transparent. Assign overtime to the employees systemically to avoid problems. Also, mention any overtime limits or the facility to exchange hours with a coworker.


The next important step is to prepare a schedule for regular and overtime working hours. It allows you to have enough workforce when needed without any injustice to the workers. You may also use a CRM platform to schedule and organize working and overtime hours for each employee. Make use of the policies to ensure the implementation of these schedules. Inform the workers of serious action if they do not follow the given arrangement.


Another essential part of reducing overtime in healthcare is to keep a close eye on the employees’ activities. Observe their check-in and check-out times and point out any alterations according to the schedule. CRM software can also help monitor the activity of employees and notice unusual acts. It allows you to look at the system and manage overtime hours conveniently.

Eliminate Unscheduled Overtime

While the above-mentioned solutions are best-suited for scheduled overtime, unscheduled overtime is also a major issue. You must take measures to eliminate unscheduled overtime from your healthcare facility so employees can perform their best. This also includes making sure that every employee gets a lunch break. It is important for managing overtime challenges and for the health of your employees. Short-term negligence may lead to the inability to perform adequately in the long run.

Why do you Need to Reduce Overtime in Healthcare?

We talked about the ways to reduce overtime in healthcare. But, another concern is the reason for eliminating overtime. Many people think that employees benefit the company by working around the clock. However, it is not as crystal clear as it seems. Here are the reasons for reducing overtime in healthcare.

Increased Labor Costs

When PCTs, CNAs, and technical staff work more hours than scheduled, they become a burden on the institute. A healthy overtime average for healthcare centers is around three percent. Yet, sometimes it elevates without proper care and adds to overall costs.


Burnout Employees

Employees and employees usually believe that working overtime is beneficial to both. Unlike the common perception, it can be harmful to everyone. Employees who work more than given hours do not sleep enough and cannot manage their work-life balance properly. These employees do not prove to be useful in the long term.

Risk of Error

Healthcare is a critical department where every person attending to the patient must be in their best physical and mental health. If a worker spends 14 hours in the hospital instead of the designated 12-hour shift, they are more likely to be sleep-deprived and dissatisfied. This dissatisfaction can lead to resentment about their job and less interest in the tasks. Sleep deprivation and job dissatisfaction may result in an increased risk of errors in the hospital.

The Bottom Line

Doctors, nurses, hospital pharmacists, and technicians work together in healthcare facilities to provide the best service to patients. Like other professions, overtimes are also common in healthcare. Yet, sometimes they can be a challenge instead of a benefit. Extended scheduled and unscheduled overtime burdens the healthcare institution financially. Thus, it is important to manage overtime hours and reduce overtime in healthcare to avoid employee burnout and the risk of error.

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