How to Reduce Overtime at Work with Management Tools (Reduce Your Own Overtime Too!)

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Overtime is a common challenge in the F&B and retail industries. Employees often end up working extra hours due to a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s because of unexpected customer rushes, while other times it’s due to staff shortages or last-minute schedule changes. While a bit of overtime can be beneficial, too much of it can lead to burnout and higher labor costs.

Why Do Employees Work Overtime in F&B/Retail?

Employees in F&B and retail often face unpredictable workloads. Peak hours, holidays, and special events can lead to extended working hours. Additionally, if an employee calls in sick and there’s no one available to cover, someone else has to step in, often leading to overtime. While employees might appreciate the extra money, excessive overtime can have negative impacts.

The Pros and Cons of Overtime


  • Flexibility: Sometimes, overtime is necessary to meet business needs, especially during peak times. It allows businesses to be flexible and responsive to immediate demands without the delay of hiring new staff.
  • Immediate Staffing Solutions: Overtime can be a quick fix when there’s a sudden surge in customer numbers or unexpected absences.


  • Decreased productivity: Continuous overtime can lead to fatigue, decreased productivity, and high turnover rates. Employees who are overworked are more likely to make mistakes, call in sick, or even quit, leading to further staffing issues.
  • Higher Costs: Overtime pay is more expensive, which can increase your labor costs significantly. It’s an added financial burden that can impact the overall profitability of your business.
  • Decreased Efficiency: Tired employees are less efficient and more prone to errors. This can affect the quality of service, which is particularly crucial in customer-facing roles in F&B and retail.

Approaches to Reduce Overtime

Reducing overtime requires a strategic approach that balances staffing needs with employee well-being and cost efficiency. Here are two main approaches:

Conventional Approach: Manually planning schedules to align with busy periods can reduce the need for overtime. Managers can use their knowledge of past patterns to anticipate busy times and schedule accordingly. However, this method is often labor-intensive and prone to human error. It also relies heavily on the manager’s experience and intuition, which can be a limitation.

Software Approach:

Leveraging technology can streamline the process and make it more accurate. Here’s how staff management tools can help:

How Staff Management Tools Help Reduce Overtime

1. Smart Scheduling Features:

One of the most effective ways to manage overtime is through smart scheduling. StaffAny’s smart scheduling feature can automatically create optimized schedules based on past data and predicted customer flow. Here’s how it works:

  • Data-Driven Schedules: By analyzing historical data, smart scheduling can predict busy periods and ensure that you have the right number of staff on hand. This helps in avoiding both under- and over-staffing situations.
  • Flexibility and Adjustment: Smart scheduling allows for adjustments in real-time. If there’s a sudden change in customer flow, the system can suggest immediate schedule changes to accommodate the new situation without resorting to overtime.

2. Matching Staffing to Demand:

Understanding when your business needs more hands on deck is crucial. StaffAny helps by analyzing timesheet data to identify patterns in customer flow and staff availability:

  • Demand Forecasting: By looking at timesheet data, the tool can help you understand peak hours, days, and seasons. This insight allows you to match staffing levels to demand accurately, ensuring that you’re neither short-staffed nor overstaffed.
  • Efficiency in Scheduling: With a clear understanding of your staffing needs, you can create schedules that maximize efficiency. This reduces the need for last-minute changes and the resulting overtime.

3. Leave Management Tools:

Managing leaves effectively is another critical aspect of reducing overtime. Sudden staff shortages due to unplanned leave can lead to overtime. StaffAny’s leave application feature addresses this by:

  • Streamlined Leave Requests: Employees can submit leave requests through the app, which managers can review and approve quickly. This reduces the likelihood of unplanned absences.
  • Proactive Planning: The tool allows for better planning and ensures that there’s always enough staff available. Managers can see at a glance who is available and who isn’t, making it easier to cover shifts without resorting to overtime.
  • Preventing Overlap: By having a clear overview of all leave requests, managers can prevent multiple key staff members from taking leave simultaneously, which can otherwise lead to staffing issues and overtime.

How Management Tools Benefit the Business and Employees

The use of staff management tools like StaffAny doesn’t just benefit your business by reducing overtime costs. It also has a positive impact on your employees:

  • Improved Work-Life Balance: With better scheduling and fewer last-minute changes, employees can enjoy a more predictable work-life balance. This leads to higher job satisfaction and lower turnover rates.
  • Increased Productivity: Well-rested employees are more productive and efficient. By reducing overtime, you help your staff stay fresh and focused, which translates into better customer service and higher overall productivity.
  • Reduced Stress: Knowing their schedules in advance and having fewer sudden changes helps reduce employee stress. This creates a more positive work environment, which is beneficial for both staff morale and customer experience.

Real-Life Impact

Let’s look at a hypothetical example of how these tools can make a difference:

Imagine you own a small café. Before using StaffAny, you manually created schedules each week, often leading to situations where you either had too few or too many staff members during certain hours. As a result, employees frequently worked overtime, especially during peak periods, leading to higher costs and tired staff.

After implementing StaffAny, you start using the smart scheduling feature. It analyzes your café’s data and helps you create a schedule that perfectly matches your busiest times. Employees know their schedules well in advance and there are fewer last-minute changes. You also start using the leave management tool, which helps you plan better for absences.

Within a few months, you notice a significant reduction in overtime hours. Your labor costs go down, your employees are happier and more productive, and the overall efficiency of your café improves.

Ya Kun have been using this management tool for their operational improvement.

Before 2020, Ya Kun managed staff schedules through WhatsApp chats, a manual process that was time-consuming and labor-intensive. However, after implementing smart management tool like StaffAny across their 36 outlets, their efficiency increased, manual processes decreased, and issues like time theft and overtime costs were effectively addressed through smart features.


Reducing overtime not only benefits your employees by giving them a better work-life balance but also helps your business save on labor costs and maintain high productivity levels. By adopting smart staff management tools like StaffAny, you can streamline your scheduling process, match staffing levels to demand, and manage leaves more effectively.

Ready to see how StaffAny can help you reduce overtime and improve your business operations? Request a Demo today and start making overtime a thing of the past!

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