The way we work has changed a lot with the rise of remote arrangements. Working from home gives us more flexibility and convenience, but it also makes it harder to separate our work time from our personal time. This has led to more people working extra hours, especially when they’re working remotely.
In the working world, there are rules about extra pay for working more than the standard 40 hours a week. These rules come from both the federal government and individual states. If you’re not exempt (which means you qualify for these rules), you should be paid 1.5 times your normal hourly wage for every hour over 40 that you work in a week. This applies whether you’re working in an office or from home.
However, exempt employees, like certain salaried professionals (executives, administrative assistants, some computer professionals), don’t get this extra pay for overtime. It’s essential to know that figuring out whether someone is exempt or not can be a bit complicated and depends on the specific job duties and responsibilities.
When you’re working from home, it’s easy for work to spill into your personal time, and this can result in working extra hours. Here are some common situations that might cause this:
- Answering work emails and messages when you’re supposed to be off the clock
- Feeling like you have to be ready to work all the time
- Taking on more tasks or projects than you can handle
Working too much can harm your well-being in various ways. It can lead to burnout, which means feeling emotionally drained, cynical, and less effective at work. It can also increase stress, mess with your sleep, and upset the balance between your work and personal life. If you feel your job has forced you to overwork or does not compensate you for overtime, you should consider talking to an unpaid overtime lawyer. The effects of overtime can harm your overall health, your ability to get work done, and how satisfied you are with your job.
Balancing your work hours and personal life in a healthy way takes effort and some planning. Here are some practical tips:
- Set Clear Boundaries: Make it clear when you’re working and when you’re not. Tell your colleagues and bosses when you’ll be available, and try not to check work emails or messages outside of those times.
- Create a Dedicated Workspace: Have a specific area at home just for work. This helps your brain understand when it’s time to work and when it’s time to relax.
- Stick to a Schedule: Keep to a regular work schedule, and don’t go beyond your planned hours. This keeps your routine steady and prevents work from taking over your personal time.
- Use Time Management Tricks: Try out techniques to manage your time better. Prioritize your tasks, break big projects into smaller parts, and share some of the workload with others. These tricks can make your work smoother and reduce the need for overtime.
- Talk to Your Boss: Keep an open line of communication with your boss about how much work you can handle and any worries you have about overtime. Discuss possible changes to your workload or priorities to help keep a good balance between work and personal life.
- Take Regular Breaks: Plan breaks during your workday to step away from your computer and do something non-work-related. Breaks help clear your mind, lower stress, and boost your focus.
If you’re having a tough time dealing with too much overtime or its negative effects, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Talking openly with your bosses and coworkers can help solve issues with your workload or give you the emotional support you need. Many companies also have Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) that offer private counseling and help for dealing with work-related stress or burnout.
While working from home gives you flexibility and convenience, it can be tricky to manage overtime and keep a good balance between work and personal life. By knowing the rules about overtime, understanding the risks of working too much, and using smart ways to manage your time, you can handle your workload well, take care of yourself, and enjoy the advantages of working from home without sacrificing your personal life.