One of the quickest and easiest ways to boost overall productivity, improve team member resiliency and build workplace happiness is to properly manage your team’s workload. Workload imbalances can leave team members feeling burdened and stressed. And while an individual may control his or her response to stress, it is the manager who often controls the source of the stress.
By honestly evaluating the amount of work individuals on your team can handle (capacity), you will improve the output (performance) of your team and help them become more resilient. This will reduce the amount of stress your team members experience and will increase motivation and engagement.
Offer Flex to Reduce Stress
Studies have shown that team members feel more productive and healthier when they have more control over their schedules and are able to work from home, even if only on occasion. There is a link between work flexibility and capacity, so provide more latitude on when and where people can work. When we work flexibly, capacity improves.
Align Team-Hours with Project-Hours
Resource management is key, so calculate the total number of person-hours you have against the number of necessary work-hours. Then make some tough decisions to close that gap. Maybe you need to renegotiate a deadline, delay a new project start, or secure additional resources.
In order to set realistic project goals, be sure to incorporate team members’ PTO or other personal scheduling limitations into project plans.
Look at the amount of time each team member has available and then help them evaluate their responsibilities such as their to-do list, attendance at meetings, and special projects.
Identify Low Value Work
Partner with your team members to help them identify what they can delegate and what they can abandon. (Do this regularly and you’ll shine a light on low value tasks and inefficient work processes that could be eliminated.)
Give Them Permission to Negotiate
Empower team members. Encourage your team members to request and negotiate deadlines, if necessary. Too often when we receive a request, we assume it needs an immediate response and we pressure ourselves to deliver faster than necessary. Empower team members to talk about when something is due (and question why it’s due on that date) so they can make informed decisions about workload and priorities.
Check for Scope Creep
Find out if team members are saying yes to additional client requests without renegotiating scope. Help them evaluate when to go the extra mile and when to push back.
Always check in. Keep a firm eye on the overall happiness quotient. Check in with your team members to find out how they’re feeling. Create a culture where it’s okay for people to admit when they’re stuck, burned out, or anxious.
Look for creative solutions if your team is putting in more hours than expected. It’s not enough to monitor time, you need to help people problem solve, renegotiate deadlines, and sometimes have honest conversations to reset outside expectations.
For even more in-depth information about workload issues and team wellbeing, book Kyra for a workshop. Check out leadership training options like Priority Management and Performance Management.