Whether you are running a small, medium-sized, or multinational conglomerate, there is a time when your employees will be faced with the extra workload. Therefore, you will be required to help them navigate through this intense work by initiating a workload management protocol. But why is it important for employers to help their staff manage their workload? Research has shown that workload management enhances employee performance, reduces stress levels, and most importantly it enhances employee satisfaction. You should know that there are negative consequences when employees fail to manage their time properly which include:
- Increased missed deadlines and appointments
- Financial implications leading to possible loss of revenue
- Leads to the delivery of low quality work
- Causes conflicts with the management and other colleagues
- Puts a strain on the work and life balance
Therefore, to ensure that your organization runs smoothly, you are obligated to take the lead in helping your employees manage their workload. Here are some of the essential tips that you could adopt to help your employees manage their workload:
1. Discourage distractions
Life is marked by numerous distractions that cost people numerous valuable hours. In the office, the source of distractions includes social media, “chit-chats” among workers, and the use of mobile phones during office hours. While you may want your staff to build a rapport, spending hours talking to each other causes work to file up. These distractions can cause you a loss of time of up to three hours a day. As a manager, you should discourage such distractions during office hours so that employees can finish the tasks at hand. Additionally, you could also have them identify other things that are lowering their productivity and encourage them to refrain from such practices.
2. Cluster related work
Grouping related work in the same group helps manage workload efficiently because you can tackle one group at a time without having to go back on forth. This process involves using tools like mind-maps to match activities that look the same. As a leader, you can take up the responsibility of grouping work then share it with your teams based on their strengths.
In the process of sending tasks to your employees, you should consider converting documents to RAR files when sharing them with your teams. You can then encourage your workers to use a RAR opener, such as WinZip’s, for instance, to access these documents. Working with RAR files is easy and efficient. Opening the files is also straightforward and involves right-clicking the RAR file then selecting “7-Zip Extract” files. The next step involves selecting a place to save the compressed files. Suppose you do not wish to save it else, you should click on the “Extract Here” option. This process will help employees manage tasks efficiently.
3. Introduce a time tracking software
Since we happen to be living in an era where technology is so advanced, it is imperative to make use of it to get work done. Time management in the workplace is critical because it affects the productivity of your organization. If you are a project manager, time flies a lot when you do not have a proper time tracking plan. Some applications can aid your staff in managing their work. Therefore, you could introduce your employees to time tracking software such as ProofHub to help them manage and track the activities that they have to undertake. The utilization of such technology will ensure that no task is missed while working.
4. Teach employees to identify their most productive hours
People tend to achieve a lot in their most productive hours. As a manager, you should encourage your team to identify hours of the day where they are the most productive so that they perform some of the tasks that are demanding and difficult. By so doing, employees can then tackle the less demanding work in hours where they cannot do much. Working in these ‘golden hours’ will ensure that your project targets are met and that your staff is not overwhelmed.
5. Have employees priorities work
Prioritizing work helps reduce stress, enhances focus, and productivity. It also helps one focus and finds a balance between work and life. However, prioritizing is not simple. Getting your employees to prioritize takes skills to do it. The way to get your staff to prioritize is by getting them to distinguish important tasks from urgent ones. They can do this by drawing a “to-do list.” An effective list has the large tasks broken down into minor activities which are then given a timeline to be done. The advantage of a “to-do list” is that:
- It will serve as a constant reminder to complete a task
- Helps you work on the important tasks first
- Makes you focus and helps one find a sense of purpose
- Ensures that you take control of the work
- It gives you a feeling of accomplishment once you tick activities off the list
6. Stress management
A heavy workload can be a source of mental distress among your employees. Stressed employees tend to take a lot of sick days which lowers their productivity. Stress results in absenteeism in the workplace results in an unmanageable workload. As a leader, you need to ensure that your staff can manage their stress levels to tackle work effectively. Stress can be from other underlying issues other than the work allocated to them. Therefore, you should set up stress management workshops for them to raise awareness about mental health and help them cope with stressors that they may have. Healthier workers are happier and can enhance their creativity as well as their productivity significantly.
A huge workload can also be a source of stress because it brings about burnout, anxiety, and boredom. You should encourage your team to take frequent breaks for a walk, a long lunch, or for coffee to enhance creative thought. By so doing, they will come up with innovative strategies to handle their work with ease.
7. Focus on their strengths
People are gifted differently which means that your employees are not a homogenous group. There are those people who will excel in analysis, others in planning, or marketing. Therefore, your obligation as a team leader is to delegate work according to what one is good at. This approach will reduce workload because employees will harness their best skills to complete the allocated duties. It will also minimize the frustration that comes from working being overworked.
8. Discourage multitasking
The truth is that the brain is incapable of facilitating you to perform two tasks at the same time. To enhance performance and efficiency, you need to work on one piece of work at a time. When it comes to performing work-related duties, multitasking is counterproductive, laborious, and can be a source of undue stress. The result is often poor quality output as well as unsatisfied clients. When you are leading a group of workers, the most efficient way to help them manage their tasks is by allocating them one duty at a time. You should also encourage them to finish up fast to be eligible for another task.
9. Be flexible
While you might be one leading your employees, it does not hurt to take time to actively listen to their suggestions. When you are managing people, it is imperative to listen because you both have different responsibilities about your job mandate. You have to realize that your approach to an assignment differs from there’s. Once you have heard their suggestions, you can now take the lead in helping them implement processes that work and discard ineffective approaches. At the same time, you may want to adopt a culture of giving your employees room for executing tasks according to how they see it fit. When you allow employees to lead, they will serve you well in the long run.
You should know that an overwhelming workload comes from a failure to plan well. Research shows that workload planning is the most effective way to ensure that your employees are productive. This process involves distributing work strategically among your teams to boost performance, reduce burn-out, and stress. Workload planning offers several benefits to your employees such as:
- Helps them because there is a streamlined way of doing things
- You get to relax because the project’s goals are going to be met by your team
- It gives your employees clarity on how to handle the tasks at hand
When you are a leader, your sole responsibility should be helping your teams work efficiently to manage their heavy workload. In the process, you have to be flexible, adaptable, reasonable, and an excellent communicator. You ought to delegate duties and develop a tracking system to evaluate how well the work is being conducted.