Advantages and disadvantages of introducing no-overtime days and tips for continuation


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A no-overtime day, in which employees leave work on time without working overtime, is a system introduced by approximately 60% of companies.
If used properly, it can lead to a reduction in overtime costs, but there are also cases where it is introduced only for token purposes or causes work to be delayed.

In this article, we will explain the advantages and disadvantages of introducing a no-overtime day, as well as tips on how to take advantage of it.

Table of contents hidden ]

  • 1. What is No Overtime Day?
  • 2. Benefits of no overtime day
  • 3. Disadvantages of adopting no-overtime days
  • 4. 4 tips to maintain a no-overtime day
  • 5. Aim to improve efficiency and productivity by making the no-overtime day a reality.

1. What is No Overtime Day?


First, let’s check what kind of system is called a no-overtime day. We will also explain the background behind the introduction of the no-overtime day and why many companies designate Wednesday as the day.

1-1. Day when you leave work on time without working overtime

A no-overtime day (a day when employees leave work on time or a day when they leave work early) is a day when employees do not work overtime and leave work on time.
According to a survey by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, 60.3% of companies use no-overtime days as an initiative to reduce working hours.

Introducing a no-overtime day can not only reduce overtime pay, but also improve productivity by allowing employees to have more private time and get enough rest.

However, this does not mean that there are no disadvantages. When implementing it, it is important to understand and consider the advantages and disadvantages described below.

Reference: Collection of good examples of reducing overtime work | Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare

1-2. Background of the introduction of no overtime day

The no-overtime system is not a recent system; it was introduced in 1970, during the period of high economic growth.
It is believed that this system was started as an effort to reduce overtime, as Japanese people were working longer hours than the rest of the world at the time.
Additionally, in the 1980s and 1990s, when death from overwork began to become a social issue, there was a movement to introduce a no-overtime day once a week.
In recent years, with the promotion of work style reform, the no-overtime day initiative is being reconsidered as a good example of reducing overtime work.

1-3. No overtime days are generally held on Wednesdays, but the key is to be flexible.

Since the day for leaving the office on time in government offices is Wednesday, private companies often also set a no-overtime day on Wednesday. However, there are no rules or recommended days of the week, so it doesn’t matter which day of the week you choose as a no-overtime day.
In fact, a good example of a no-overtime day introduced by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare includes the following:

  • Employees themselves decide on no-overtime days.
  • Set it on a busy day of the week (such as Monday)

The key is to consider where you can set a no-overtime day to reduce overtime and improve employee work efficiency.

Incorporate your business content, legal holidays, employee wishes, etc., and choose a day of the week that will be most effective and have few disadvantages.

2. Benefits of no overtime day


No-overtime days have benefits for both companies and workers.
Introducing a no-overtime day will not only reduce overtime pay and improve productivity, but will also lead to higher employee satisfaction.

We will explain the benefits of each from the perspectives of companies and workers.

2-1. Benefits for companies ① Reduction in personnel costs

Overtime work exceeding 60 hours per month requires payment of 50% overtime.
Therefore, if overtime hours can be reduced, premium wage payments will be reduced, reducing personnel costs.

In addition, if all employees leave work early, it is possible to reduce utility costs, including electricity bills, which can lead to unexpected cost savings.

2-2. Benefits for companies ② Improved productivity

In order to avoid overtime, more efficient work is required. For this reason, employees may start trying to improve their time performance on their own.
Additionally, if you can identify employees who do not finish on time each time, it will be an opportunity to allocate work or review work content.

2-3. Benefits for companies ③ Increased employee satisfaction

Days without overtime lead to a better work-life balance for employees.
A workplace that is easy to work in and where privacy is valued will make it easier for employees to stay and retain talented people.
When employee satisfaction increases, engagement increases and the number of employees who are motivated to work increases.

2-4. Benefits for workers ① Reduce fatigue and stress

If you come home on time and have days where you can get some rest, fatigue and stress can be greatly reduced.
It helps maintain mental and physical health by resolving lack of exercise, enriching your diet, and ensuring you get enough sleep.

If you have a day like this even once a week, it will be easier to stay motivated to work the next day.

2-5. Benefits for workers ② Leads to enriching leisure time

On days when you can go home early, you can enjoy more time with your hobbies, spend more time with family and friends, and feel more mentally fulfilled.
Also, if you can improve your skills by studying hard and self-improving yourself, you will likely see a variety of positive changes, such as better pay and more confidence in your work.

2-6. Benefits for workers ③ Gain the ability to streamline work

If overtime is prohibited, you will have to change the way you work to make your work more efficient.
Processes such as being aware of priorities and identifying unnecessary tasks are also useful in everyday work, which in turn leads to a reduction in overall overtime.

3. Disadvantages of adopting no-overtime days


No-overtime days can have great benefits if utilized, but there may be disadvantages if introduced just for token purposes.
Let’s learn about the disadvantages that may arise on both the company side and the worker side, and make good use of the no-overtime day.

3-1. Disadvantages for companies ① Defects in customer service are more likely to occur

If you have been dealing with customers after regular hours, introducing a no-overtime day without sufficient awareness may have a negative impact on your business partners. If the communication that was previously possible is delayed, stress and dissatisfaction will inevitably occur.

Sufficient preparation and dissemination are required before implementation, such as explaining the circumstances to the other party and obtaining their approval.

3-2. Disadvantages for companies ② Collaboration between departments becomes slow

If different departments have different no-overtime days, this can make it difficult to coordinate, which can lead to work delays and dissatisfaction between departments. If it is difficult to implement a no-overtime day for the entire company, it is necessary to take measures such as assigning emergency responders on a weekly basis.

3-3. Disadvantages for workers ① Income decreases

Overtime pay has become an important source of income for employees who previously worked as if they had overtime. With the introduction of no-overtime days, the fewer days you can work overtime, the less your income will be.

Additionally, if the introduction of no-overtime days increases the momentum across companies to reduce overtime, some employees may find themselves suffering from a significant reduction in overtime hours and a loss of income. This point is an unavoidable disadvantage, but please make sure you are fully aware of it and seek understanding before introducing it.

3-4. Disadvantages for workers ② You may be forced to work on another day

If work efficiency does not progress as expected, work left over from a no-overtime day will be carried over to the next day, or the day after. Even if you don’t work overtime on a no-overtime day, there’s no point in working overtime on another day.

If there are employees who have a backlog of work, they need to take measures to reduce overtime by rethinking work procedures and eliminating unnecessary work.

4. 4 tips to maintain a no-overtime day

man showing his index finger

Even if you introduce a no-overtime day, it will be meaningless if it is introduced in name only. To ensure that it works and produces results, be aware of the following four points.

4-1. Thoroughly disseminate information and ensure that it takes root.

When no overtime days are introduced, it is easy to forget about their existence. In addition to announcing the day before and on the day of no-overtime day, make sure to display posters in the company to raise employee awareness.
Ideally, employees would naturally be able to finish work early on no-overtime days without any instructions or announcements from their superiors.

4-2. Introduce a system that prevents overtime work

“Do not work overtime on no-overtime days.” Only this awareness can lead to employees working in secret.

In addition to turning off lights in the office earlier, we should also create systems to prevent unpaid overtime, such as keeping computer logs and creating systems that prevent employees from taking work home.
This creates a mindset of “If I can’t do it, it can’t be helped,” and you can even let employees who have been working hard without even realizing it be able to take a break.

Related article: Explanation of specific methods and measures to reduce overtime and expected effects | jinjerBlog

4-3. Be flexible about overtime work on no-overtime days

Even if you have introduced a no-overtime day, banning all overtime will make it difficult to work.
Employees will be able to work with less stress if they can be flexible to some extent, such as allowing them to stay a little longer to work in case of an emergency or moving the no-overtime day to another day.

The purpose of No Overtime Day is not to “not work overtime,” but to “reduce overtime, reduce expenses, and improve work-life balance.” It is important to keep this point in mind.

4-4. Proceed top-down

Immediately after the introduction of no-overtime days, many employees wonder if they can really go home. Some employees may feel that they cannot go home while their boss remains.

Therefore, until the habit of no-overtime days becomes established, it is important to proceed from the top down. For departments that work a lot of overtime, it is effective to ask employees to go home in the morning without working overtime, or for people in higher positions to take the initiative and cut off their work.

5. Aim to improve efficiency and productivity by making the no-overtime day a reality.

Enjoying working

A no-overtime day, in which employees leave work on time without working overtime, is a work style introduced by many companies.
While it can reduce overtime and improve employee motivation, there may be disadvantages if it is introduced only for the sake of appearance. The key to implementing this system is to adapt it flexibly to suit the company and change the habit of working overtime.

Let’s continue the no-overtime day without turning it into a mere formality, improving productivity and leading to company development.


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