7 Techniques For Workload Management
Why Consider Workload Management?
In a recent management study, data shows that 80% of global knowledge workers reveal feeling overworked and close to burnout.
Alarmingly, 82% of employees express that they feel jaded and less engaged at work when they’re stressed.
Workload management provides you an easy way to distribute work across your team more effectively and efficiently, thereby reducing burnout for employees and preventing them from feeling overworked.
Many workload management solutions help unlock real-time insights into the tasks your teams are on, allowing you to manage team workload appropriately and promote balance, not burnout.
Top 7 Techniques for Workload Management
1. Distribute Difficult Tasks First
Unless you have a group of extremely efficient, organized, and Superman-like employees (which doesn’t even guarantee multitasking success), you should encourage them to avoid multitasking.
Though business communities have forwarded the notion of multitasking for decades, if you are looking for work to be completed in an orderly and timely fashion - and be done accurately the first time - multitasking is actually counterproductive.
As a manager, you get to decide which tasks need to be completed first and when.
One of the effective ways to ensure that your team stays productive and motivated is to assign the most time-consuming and challenging tasks at the beginning of the day.
Assigning these types of tasks late in the day when your staff may be mentally and physically exhausted won’t give you positive results.
Take the time to plan ahead what tasks are more challenging and share this with your employees. And of course, just as you wouldn’t want someone texting or doing their makeup while they are driving a car, you shouldn’t ask your teams to manage multiple tasks at a time.
2. Organize Your Team’s Workload
It’s hard to determine just how much total work you need to tackle when you find yourself bombarded with your team’s work scattered across different project briefs, plans, and tools.
But using tools that help you figure out how much each team member is doing or what they can take on, you find all these things to be actually easy.
Some workload management tools allow you to have an instant view of your team’s workload and how much work they’re still capable of at any point in the day.
One technique for workload management is putting together a full list of projects and processes your team is responsible for.
Then, determine the scope and the deadline for each work. You can also break down these projects into smaller tasks and see which one to prioritize based on importance and urgency.
Knowing how much work you need to distribute is only a fraction of the entire work process.
How much bandwidth your team is capable of?
You may take into account the meetings, vacations, and recurring responsibilities of each member and see how much they have left to devote to the projects.
Through this, you can assess each team member’s workload to figure out what else they can reasonably take on.
3. Allocate Resources Accordingly...but be flexible
One of the most understated skills that an effective manager has is the ability to actively listen to those around them.
As a manager, your responsibilities are quite different from those of your subordinates.
The way that you might have approached the allocation of workloads may not be the most effective way for your employees.
An important technique for workload management is: ask for input from your team and take into account the processes that work well. But be sure to work with them to correct those identified as ineffective.
Having said that, give your employees some room to manage their work. However, you also have to monitor their progress and provide guidance as needed.
4. Use Workload Management Tools
Imagine having the ability to see what’s going on with every project and every team member in one single location, at any point in the process. Wouldn’t this save time and your valuable resources?
Project management software does exactly all of this plus more. A popular technique for workload management is the use of a workload management tool where every team member can see how their work contributes to the larger team and company initiatives.
And since communication can happen within tasks, finding the information you need takes as little as ten seconds, instead of ten minutes.
Remember, using Timelines can also help keep everyone on track because projects can be viewed individually or together.
5. Communicate and Be Clear
One of the things that you must always prioritize is the way you communicate with your team.
Even the best-laid plans and project timelines have their constraints, and you need to be prepared to make adjustments in real-time before deadlines are missed and resources are wasted.
Managing projects, especially large ones, requires an efficient communication channel to provide clear and concise directives that could make the difference between you meeting your deadline or missing it.
Another technique for workload management is making sure to check in with your team members from time to time to adjust workloads as needed.
Be proactive by setting a regular 1-on-1 dialogue with your team members for updates and to see how they’re coping with the current workload.
If a team member feels overloaded with responsibilities, and is reasonably so, check to see who might be free to help on.
6. Be reasonable
As a manager, there are things you have no control over. But in work timelines, you do have control over the weight of the workload you place on your team.
Setting expectations as high as the Empire State may also mean setting yourself and your team up for failure.
Make sure to check the grounds, think about each of your employees and their capabilities.
Then, assign tasks and the complexity of the workload based on your assessments and each employee’s abilities.
7. Be open and warm, if needed
The measure of an effective manager is often based on the degree of respect they garnered from their subordinates. And as cliches it may be, respect is always earned, not demanded.
One of the most effective ways of achieving success in the business is establishing the kind of working relationship with your employees that allows them to feel comfortable opening up to you about the projects they are working on or grievances they may have.
If your employees are feeling burnt out, overworked, or overwhelmed and find you unapproachable, their productivity may decline faster than an avalanche going downhill.
It is always a good technique for workload distribution management to establish and maintain an open-door policy with your employees.