One of the cornerstones of running a productive, successful business which is full of happy and thriving employees is to ensure that the workload of those employees is managed effectively. If you have everyone working at their maximum, day after day, then you’re soon going to end up with staff who are stressed and burnt out.
Conversely, if your team are sat around all day twiddling their thumbs then they’re quickly going to be bored and will look elsewhere for better job satisfaction. If you have something in between, with some employees flat out and others barely doing anything, then this will result in resentment within the team, grievances and all sorts of other staff engagement and management issues.
Why is effective workload management important?
The recent Anatomy Of Work Global Index survey found that 80% of workers felt overworked and close to burnout. This is a very real problem and underlines the importance of distributing and managing work fairly across your team. That way, you can ensure you’re maximising performance, quality and engagement without leaving staff feeling overwhelmed. To help with what can be a tricky skill to get right, we’ve pulled together some suggestions for you below on how to effectively manage staff workload.
Assess the current workload
This may seem blindingly obvious, but until you have a full understanding of the workload of your team there’s no way you’re going to be able to manage it effectively. Take some time at the outset to understand what is going on day to day. Be sure to ask yourself questions such as are there any specific projects coming up? Do you have typical peak seasons for work? Factoring in these key elements are important to a successful workload plan.
Understand your team’s capacity and capability
It’s no good allocating a big project or even a one off task to a member of the team if they don’t have the skills, knowledge or time to deliver it. You’re simply setting them up to fail. Look at who currently does what and ask yourself, do they work full time or part time? Can they be flexible? What are their skills and experience? Be sure to talk to your staff. They might want exposure to and experience of something new. They might have transferable skills and strengths you didn’t know about. If you can give them work that engages and energises them, then they’ll thrive and the quality of their output and capacity to take on work is likely to increase.
Prioritisation and deadlines
When you carry out your initial assessment you should also gain an understanding of if any of your business’ workload needs to be a priority. Priority might be allocated due to the value of the work, the amount of time or skills needed to complete the work or if any of your work is driven by strict deadlines. That should then inform your thinking and how you manage your staff resource. If deadlines are involved then ensure that they are reasonable and realistic so that you don’t create unnecessary stress. If possible, build in milestones and set an early deadline to see how far the team has got with the work and whether you need to flex your workforce and workload planning or not.
Allocate the workload
At this point you should have sufficient information to be able to allocate the workload to your team in a fair and consistent way so that the work is managed effectively. Ensure that everyone understands what they are doing and set clear expectations for everyone.
Communicate, review, reassign
Once the workload has been allocated the worst thing that you can do is to sit back, put your feet up and think you’ve smashed it and solved everything. Talk to staff, get in among the work, find out what is going well and what isn’t. If there are problems, give your team a voice and ask them to explain why things aren’t going as planned and what they suggest to improve things. Regularly reviewing workload allocation will mean that problems are nipped in the bud. It will prevent staff from feeling under or overworked and will then allow you to reassign work, fine tune things and plan any changes.
Depending on the size of your team and the complexity of your business’ workload, it might be worth investigating workload and workforce planning technology to assist you. Assess the options, what might suit your business best and look at whether or not you’ll be able to demonstrate a measurable return on investment.
How can HRX help me manage staff workload?
The HRX software will give you a good place to start from in terms of the staffing and capacity element of effective workload management. The manager’s dashboard gives you an at a glance insight into who is currently in work, who is on leave or who is sick so that you know what resources are available to you. If you know that you’ve got a large project looming you can also run a report on future holiday bookings to check if you have the capacity to deliver it, whether you might need to shift deadlines or if key project stakeholders are going to be available.
HRX takes away lots of manual people management processes and gives you the gift of time so that you and your team can effectively manage your workload. Find out more and sign up for our 30 day free trial with us today!