Workload management is one of the most challenging areas of any organization. Manually keeping track of the tasks assigned to the staff as well as making sure they're productive and efficient, is not a breeze. However, with newer technologies, workplace management methods, and project management tools, workplace management gets super achievable.
Employees feel stressed, anxious, and unproductive when they can't manage their workload. According to this research, 80% of the workers reported feeling close to burnout at the workplace. Workload management comes to the rescue because it promotes equality, equity, and a balanced distribution of workload among employees.
If you're a business owner, operational manager, or an employee seeking to manage workload at the office, you're at the right place. We'll go through our 11 best hacks for efficient workload management that you can try with your team in 2023 to get the maximum outcome, productivity, engagement, and efficiency from the workforce.
Let's get started.
11 Effective Hacks For Workload Management To Try Out In 2023
Workload management is crucial to keep your organization functional, progressing, and competent. Try out our hacks for workload management to keep your employees motivated, sharp, and committed while bringing maximum work output.
1. Setting Reasonable Deadlines
Setting unachievable deadlines is a key factor that contributes to poor workload management. For instance, setting tight deadlines for complicated tasks puts team members under constant stress and pressure, resulting in poor motivation, focus, and productivity.
Similarly, unrealistic deadlines can rip off employees' satisfaction, making them feel overwhelmed, overworked, and underappreciated.
Additionally, always leave room for unexpected delays, inconsistencies, and disruptions while setting up deadlines to avoid major setbacks at work. While setting deadlines, make sure to consider these questions to estimate the complex tasks:
Is the work new to the individual teams?
What's the current workload of the team?
Have they completed the previous projects?
Is the work innovative and requires a test and trial?
Do they have the relevant skills to complete this task?
Do they need to learn new skills to complete this task?
While setting up deadlines takes account only 80% of the staff time. Take note that staff spends around 20% of their daily time on miscellaneous tasks that are relatively less productive, like:
Writing or responding to emails
Attending work training and sessions
2. Prioritizing Urgent Tasks Only
Prioritizing important tasks in to-do lists is an easy way to manage heavy workloads efficiently. Having a clear roadmap of the list of tasks to be done on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis makes you and your team more productive at work.
When you have so many tasks at your hand, it's likely to feel overwhelmed, which in turn, reduces workplace productivity. To overcome this, prioritize tasks based on urgency. Having an organized roadmap of priority tasks makes it easy to track progress.
Not only would your team know the starting point of complex projects, but they'll all know what to do next. Once your team finished a milestone, they'd move on to the next without delay and procrastination.
Similarly, when assigning new tasks, make sure to check the workload of your team members. If they're already occupied with important individual tasks, it's better to give them extra time to finish their previous tasks before assigning additional tasks.
On the contrary, if an urgent task arises while your team is focused on another project, give them the deadline relaxation for the previous tasks so they can focus on the new one without worrying about an overwhelming workload.
3. Creating A Resource Utilization Strategy
Before allocating tasks to your team members, assess their current capacity. Creating a resource utilization strategy for your staff works wonders in managing the unbalanced workload. In this scenario, the staff is considered a valuable business resource that must be taken care of.
The strategy aims at dividing the workload among team members based on skills, current workload, efficiency, and competency. Similarly, the number of team members and the amount of time they can give to new project tasks remains the essence of resource management. The key is to get the work done at its maximum potential without them having to feel overworked.
For example, an experienced and skilled individual can prepare a work presentation in 1 hour while a newbie will take several hours to bring similar results. Taking into account the caliber and work efficiency of each team member before delegating tasks maximizes productivity.
However, keep things challenging for team members to keep their creative muscles in action. So, keep tasks achievable yet challenging for the employees.
4. Creating A Resource Calendar
Creating resource calendars helps in the organization of tasks. Instead of tracking work progress by hand, use project management tools and software. Managers can overlook the number of tasks assigned to the team members in real time. It also helps them lower the workload on team members who've been overallocated.
Resource calendars are an easy way to find out which members are available for more tasks as per their:
Keeping an account of what's allocated to which team member also helps managers to shuffle tasks. This way team members are not given the same type of tasks every time which ultimately keeps things interesting for them. When workload is efficiently managed, staff confidence is spiked and so workplace productivity is boosted.
5. Focusing On One Task At A Time
While multitasking is often glorified in the workplace, it has quite the opposite effect in reality. The human brain works best when focused on a single task at a time. The key is to focus your full attention and energy on what's most important. A person who's occupied with several tasks at a time will automatically be less productive as his attention is divided into many task branches.
It's evident that multitasking is not everyone's cup of tea and can hinder a person's time management skills. According to research, people tend to make more errors while being super slow if they're multitasking.
However, we cannot exclude the fact that people tend to switch between tasks when they feel bored doing the same task or perhaps they can't seem to focus on a single task. As a rule of thumb, start with a single task and stick to it until it's completed.
If you notice the attention is wandering and you can't seem to focus, switch to another task while leaving a note where you left the first task. Try giving complete focus to the second task for as long as you can.
Another great strategy is to focus on a single task is avoiding distractions. Don't check out the new emails, notifications, and news if you're working on an important task that requires your full attention. Smartphones are the greatest source of distraction in the workplace. Try to avoid using smartphones or set your devices to airplane mode while focusing on crucial tasks.
To avoid miscommunication at the workplace during the time of focus, make sure you leave a message or set your work status to "Focus Mode" so your colleagues know you're going to focus for maximum creativity and productivity.
6. Using Time-Tracking
Time tracking is a powerful tool to keep the progress of your team. As a team manager, it's important to evaluate the average time a particular task will take considering the employee's capacity, skills, and workload. Workload management becomes a breeze when time-tracking tools are used in real-time to manage teams.
To better understand the workload capacity of your team members, you can run some tests on a weekly or monthly basis. For example, give the same task to all team members and track the time they take to complete the task.
This will not only give an average time for a particular type of work but also allows you to assess how much work they'd get done in a fixed amount of time. These tests can also help eliminate unrealistic work expectations and poor workload management.
Similarly, the use of time-tracking software makes things super easy as you don't have to manually keep track of time. Using time-tracking software can also boost workplace efficiency as employees are constantly aware that their screens are recorded for time-tracking purposes.
Hence, it gets easier to stay on track and avoid distractions like opening irrelevant windows (TV shows, news, sports, etc.) during working hours. Additionally, time-tracking tools come in handy if your team is working on billable hours as it prevents spending extra money on teams.
7. Prioritizing A Work-Life Balance
Intelligent workload management is directly related to a healthy work-life balance. Among many other reasons, burnout and stress at the workplace are quite common because of a poor work-life balance.
Continuously working without taking small breaks can negatively impact your focus, leading to anxiety, stress, and fatigue. According to a study, take a 15-minute break after every 90 minutes of working. Similarly, taking micro-breaks for a few seconds is also linked to improved concentration and work engagement.
Here are a few effective ways to prevent feelings of burnout at work:
Preventing overtime at work
Coming and leaving work on time
Prioritizing health at the workplace
Training on workload management skills
Participation in games and outdoor sports
Taking several small breaks during the day
Asking for work flexibility whenever needed
Making the most out of annual holiday leaves
Switching to remote work at times, if possible
Applying effective workload management techniques
Communicating when the workload becomes problematic
Take part in annual dinners, celebrations, and parties at the workplace
Another great way to manage workload is rewarding your team members whenever they deliver quality work while sticking to the deadlines. When your team is recognized for its efforts and hard work, its morale will be boosted, leading to more work productivity and efficiency.
8. Automating Team Management
If you have remote teams and employees working from different geographical locations, it gets difficult to keep transparency at work. The solution is to have a central system such as project management software visible across all office departments for managing staff workload and progress in real-time.
Through using workload management tools, every team member can see how their work input is contributing to larger projects. These tools let you assign tasks, create deadlines, and monitor work progress in real-time. Moreover, communication becomes a breeze as managers and team members can leave comments on every step of the milestone in case of any errors, improvements, and insights.
Moreover, instead of manually finding out which member is working on what project, it becomes a breeze with a click of a button. Also, keeping timelines maintains work balance and contributes to healthy workload management.
For example, if you're running a large-scale cleaning service website business you'd need to manage the availability of cleaners as well as the cleaning supply stock. To make sure the workload is equally divided among the staff, use project management software. That way you'd also be able to keep track of the work progress of staff.
Following are great project management software to use for efficient workload management plan:
9. Avoiding Overtime At Work
There's a popular notion that overtime leads to productivity. It causes quite the opposite effects if done routinely. Working for longer hours can make your team stressed out, anxious, and inefficient. According to research by Stanford University, the work productivity of a person begins to diminish after spending 50 hours per week.
Not only that but it's been proven that people who spend 3 to 4 extra working hours are 60% more likely to get into cardiovascular problems compared to those who don't overwork. Managing workload at the office should never be linked to routinely working overtime as it negatively impacts the overall health of a person in the following ways:
Unhealthy weight gains
Higher neck and muscle cramps
Higher injury rates at the workplace
Higher chances of getting indulged in smoking and alcoholism
10. Hiring An Operational Manager
Enterprise workload management gets difficult if you're a new business or agency and doing everything from scratch. From dealing with individual clients to handling resource allocation, employees, bills, and payments, things get complicated. To overcome feeling worked up, hiring an operational manager can help take some of the responsibility off your shoulders.
An operational manager can delegate tasks to employees, and keep track of their progress, and performance. Meanwhile, the business owner can focus on the more important tasks like generating leads, attracting more clients, and devising ways to improve and expand the business.
Similarly, if a manager feels the workload is getting in the way of the team's productivity, he can take on the leadership role and solve the problem. From extending project deadlines to outsourcing work, there are several ways to deal with excessive workload.
For example, certain businesses are more active during the holiday season and hence, managers and higher authorities balance the workload either through staff augmentation or more hires. Staff augmentation is especially recommended to cater to short-term staff requirements as it saves company costs and resources.
11. Workforce Future Planning
When it comes to proper workload management, keeping your workforce up-to-date with the relevant skills and knowledge comes at the top. When your staff is current and skilled, managing the workload becomes a breeze. Another key reason for undergoing workforce planning is keeping up with the futuristic goals of the company.
The demand for changes in skill sets can arise from:
New list of projects
Changes in global trends
Skill shortage in the market
Keeping a check on these factors helps businesses adapt to the changes faster, cheaper, and more seamlessly. To keep the staff skills current, higher office authorities must conduct free-of-cost training, workshops, and programs to facilitate the staff.
For instance, if you're a green company like Vivion, you have to keep your staff updated with the company's processes in the environmental management system. To comply with the quality and environmental standards, the staff is given relevant training and education to keep the company's practices eco-friendly.
Similarly, if you've noticed a team member is about to retire, the company will manage the pipeline for potential candidates. The best candidate will be given relevant training to take the place of the retired member. The same shift in the skill sets goes when junior staff is set to take up senior positions.
Workload management, if done right, can contribute to staff motivation, productivity, and efficiency. On the contrary, if an organization fails to manage its workload effectively, it leads to drastic business losses and a poor company reputation. To overcome it, company managers implement effective workload management strategies in the workplace.
Simple hacks like setting achievable deadlines and prioritizing urgent tasks at a time to creating resource calendars for workflow management work wonders. Similarly, automating administrative tasks and using project management tools to keep track of the team's progress comes in handy in managing workload.
Now that you've learned 11 effective hacks to manage workload like a pro, the only thing left to do is implement them to make your team more productive, engaging, and efficient. Looking for the best project management tool to keep track of workload, delegate tasks, and manage projects in real-time? Look no further than Workast and get your free subscription now.