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5 ways to help employees manage their
workloads

Step back, breath, and adapt

Chasing targets and high workloads are a part of our everyday lives. Most people are striving to be better and achieve more every day. It results in a high-stress and high anxiety environment. As leaders or employees, we must help our teams perform to the best of their abilities. Unfortunately, when individuals are stressed or overwhelmed, it may impede their road to success.

Stress and overload can be counteracted by workload management. When you effectively distribute the workload across your team or employees, you will maximise the performance, reduce chaos and create a sense of satisfaction. A satisfied and contented team has enhanced quality, improved work output, and a faster working pace.

Did you know?

80% of global knowledge workers report that they feel overworked and close to burnout. 

Here are a few ways to step back, breathe, and adapt:

1. Acknowledge your superhero strength (and weaknesses)

Everybody in your team has individual strengths and weaknesses. Working as a team will aid you in achieving great things, but not everything. It is important to accept what you can achieve, and let go of what is not possible. Naturally, we all want to take on a lot more than what we are capable of handling. We take on more to maybe impress a superior. In the end, to realise it creates more stress and negatively impacts the outputs.

As an employer or leader, be mindful of expecting your team to complete too many tasks. Be truthful about what your team or employees can achieve and what is unrealistic. The more you exercise the ability to distinguish between the two, the more effective and efficient your progress will be.

Identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each team member will help you in the pursuit of achieving your goals. When allocating takes to individuals, use this to your advantage. There is no point in assigning an individual a task that will lead them to be frustrated, overwhelmed, and left with a heavy workload they cannot get through. When making these decisions, do not think about how to complete the project effectively but who can help deliver this project.

2. Plan for victory

When we rush into projects without mapping things out, it may result in hours of wasted time. A half-hour of planning could save you hours of hard work. While you introduce or explain the project to the team, ensure you have decided on the priorities and guidelines for each component. It allows you to block out sufficient focus and concentration times.

Creating a planner allows employees to prepare for where they should currently be and what is to come. In most cases, people find being able to visualise the deadlines helps them to be better prepared.

When we are stressed and overwhelmed, everything may seem like a priority. When you have taken the time to plan (before getting overwhelmed,) you will better identify what needs to get done and when. A great way to prioritise certain takes over others is by using the Eisenhower Matrix. It is a strategic tool helping you to separate actions according to four possibilities:

3. Keep your eye on the prize.

For optimal production time, it is essential to take regular breaks. Encouraging your employees or team to take quick reboot breaks will benefit your overall production and reduce the number of distractions during productive times.

Distractions not only interfere with the quality of concentration on a task, but can also derail the mental thinking pattern. This means that your team loses time because of the distraction and then additional time in getting back to the rhythm of the task.

By encouraging small breaks, you will enable the team’s energy levels to stay up, improve work output, and reduce the risk of burnout. There are many different methods you could use to break up the work and break time and this may differ from individual to individual.

4. Assess Power time

Time management is essential in all areas, not only when we are chasing targets and deadlines. Even though we may know what needs to be completed by a set date, it does not tell us how we manage our time. In some cases, we may be spending far too much time on tasks that may be less important, and we do not even realise it. There are a variety of applications you can recommend your team or staff to use. These applications will clarify how much time they spent on each task. When the day is complete, they can review the results and assess if used wisely. If not, you could help them create an action plan to use their time more effectively.

Checking in with your team members and identifying when they have spent too much time on other projects allows you to adjust their workloads as required. Some people work faster than others. A task that you predicted to take an individual an hour may have taken them four hours. When this happens, there is not enough time. Instead of forcing the individual to work overtime or become stressed, adjust their workload within reason.

It is vital when making these adjustments to communicate with the team so that they understand why these changes have occurred. It may also provide an opportunity to coach the other individuals on how they are achieving higher outputs. It is vital to help each individual perform to the best of their abilities but not overload others. As an employer or management, you require the skill set to see when an individual takes advantage or needs more assistance.

5. Every superhero has their kryptonite.

Do not exhaust your top performers. Many teams have high-performing individuals. These are generally the employees who will always put their hands up to work overtime or take on additional or challenging tasks. They can deliver high-quality work in a short period of time.

These individuals love and thrive off improving their performance, but they can become overwhelmed and get burned out. Additionally, the high performers may start resenting that they are carrying more weight than other team members. Or in extreme cases carrying all the weight. To reduce the risk of overloading your high performers, check if it is realistic for them to take on additional tasks or targets.

Take the time to understand why some team members are more productive than others. When there is a workload imbalance, you need to identify why individuals are underperforming. Approaching a team member regarding low performance is never easy. However, counselling them will help them prioritise the right tasks and improve their time management skills. It will help them improve their performance and reduce the risk of burning out your overachievers.

All of the strategies you may follow to get the maximum performance output from your team boil down to one rule: Know your team. You will achieve more by knowing your team. You can assign tasks according to their strengths, planning according to who you are working with, creating a comfortable environment, assessing and achieving daily production targets, avoiding high-performers burnout, and providing guidance for improvement as required. All these components are the recipe for helping your employees manage their workload.

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