Software Development

Why you should not work extra hours

There are pros and cons in working extra hours or over time regularly, here is an attempt to list them all. Some are well known, some are taken from my experience, if you know other reasons just comment and I’ll include them in the list.


You are going to introduce bugs 


Human concentration does not last for long time, and it decreases drastically if your brain doesn’t rest properly.
We are already introducing bugs when we are extremely focused and well rested in the morning, so it’s easy to imagine the disaster that can happen at 10PM.
8 hours of mental work a day is more than enough for your brain.

Your changes cannot be promptly reviewed 

enhanced-buzz-30149-1390858215-15Code reviews is an extremely powerful tool that is widely used by team in order to control code quality. It works perfectly when reviews are done immediately and you can talk face to face with your team members. It works well when it’s done using tools like Gerrit, Reviewboard and so on. It works bad if every morning there are tons of lines of code to review because of nightly or extra hours commits.

Stories team estimation goes wild

One of the most painful part of any agile team is the stories estimation (less in Kanban, more in Scrum). It is painful, stressful, long and it is tiring for all the participants. Estimations are based on stories complexity and time. The time is the 8 hours per 5 days a week. Now, all this estimation gets distorted and so useless when team members regularly work extra hours. Team will get frustrated.

You can create tension between team members

One thing I noticed in teams where some members work over time, is the presence of hostilities and tension. Why is that? People that follow regular work hours can be worried about their career being compromised because they do not stay longer in the office. People who work late can see the others as non involved/interested enough on the job. Solution? simple, stick on regular hours.

You create wrong expectations

Everyone knows, you give a hand and they want your arm. You work regularly over time and your manager will start soon to expect and to count on you to stay late.

You lose a great part of your life




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10 years ago

Completely agree!

10 years ago

Good post, but you’re forgetting one important thing: if you’re paid, say, 100 for 40 hours in a week, that’s 2.5 per hour. If you work 50 hours in that week, that’s 2 per hour. Basically you’re underselling your work; that’s bad for everyone in the long run, not only for you.

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