7 out of 10 of your employees might be struggling with burnout. And poor workload balancing is one of the root causes of the problem. Learn how to tackle it.
A recent survey by Deloitte has found that 77% of people have experienced burnout at their current job.
How much your people work and what environment they choose to commit to is, therefore, detrimental to their individual health and the success of your business at large.
So how do you make it work? How to balance team workload so well that everyone goes home feeling fulfilled and not mentally or physically exhausted?
Here are 5 easy tips for better load balancing.
Working in a professional services business setting means that your team's workload will always be shifting, which is why you have to adjust how resources and assignments are allocated.
A lot of teams have a tendency to complete low-value tasks and projects before they finish high-value ones because they're more interesting or easier to check off the list.
Unfortunately, this is a detrimental habit to pick up when it comes to balancing workloads — it makes you prioritize the wrong things, which leads to the customer base suffering in the long run.
To successfully prioritize projects for maximum team effectiveness, break down each project into levels of visibility in relation to value: highest first, lowest last. Using this method will ensure that you don't allow your teams get distracted from bigger projects that bring in more value and/or profits.
Also, don't forget to schedule tentative projects to see how they are going to impact current workloads. And when they do, will the value they promise to bring make it worth the effort?
When you're balancing your team's workload, one of the most important things you have to do is creating a human resource plan.
This will help you forecast capacity versus demand for your team's workload and see whether you need to hire new people for equal workload distribution and better project outcomes.
A well-functioning resource plan will help you avoid situations where your team members are overworked, unhappy and potentially looking to leave. It will also make it easier for you to make project-related decisions.
Think of it this way: when you know there's no more capacity left but you are also not in the right place for new hires, it will be easier for you to validate or prioritize projects that are most relevant to your teams.
Take into account the strengths and skill sets of each employee, like their work style and capabilities, when planning out tasks. Assign people to jobs that play to their strengths so they can maximize their efficiency and avoid burnout.
When a company's workload increases, it's natural to expect that the workload of each person would increase as well.
But when your business is growing, maintaining this rule of thumb can cripple your team and cause you to lose valuable employees.
When people are overworked, they do not just show a drop in productivity — they can get apathetic about their work and career in general, which is the last thing you want to see.
In order to allow your team members to grow with the company, you have to be able to shift their focus from time to time — and that means reshuffling the workload to make sure nobody is overbooked or left with no work for too long.
Sure, it's tempting to keep the same process in place while adding more people, but if you continue working with a static system with more hands and fingers on deck, you'll get stuck at an inefficient plateau and become unable to move forward.
When doing workload management, make sure everyone has a healthy balance of both major projects and minor tasks so nobody gets overloaded or distracted from the big picture.
Forecasting capacity is more than just a question of how many hours your team works in a week — it's about how much time it will take to complete certain tasks.
When you're scheduling projects and allocating resources, you need to consider the overall amount of work in addition to the amount of time that's available. The former is all-encompassing; the latter is simply a number on a calendar or an estimate based on everyone's schedules.
Forecasting capacity versus demand is integral to staying on top of your workload: make sure you know what projects your team will be tackling in the upcoming months, and don't put too much stress on any one person by spreading these projects out too thin.
Keep an eye on how many hours your employees are working each week so you don't end up with overscheduled employees who get burned out or try to do too much at once.
By the way, forecasting capacity also lets you plan for things like vacations, sick leave, and unexpected time off.
Heavy workloads or poor workload balance is a problem as old as time — and there's a reason why it's still in many headlines.
By taking on too many projects at once, you run the risk of forcing your staff into situations where they're burning themselves out. When you have a heavy workload and you're working long hours, it's very easy to start feeling overworked and pressured. It's also incredibly easy for your employees to fall into the trap of poor quality or subpar performance when you add too much work on their plate.
Some people might think that an employee who works harder than anyone else should be rewarded with a heavier workload, but this philosophy can cause more harm than good — it has a corrosive nature and can turn any company culture into a disaster.
Automated workload planning is the solution. It is a sure way to remain flexible and agile while helping your teams maintain a healthy work-life balance.
If there's one important aspect to successful project management it will always be smart workload balancing.
After all, with every project comes its fair share of stress. The mood of your team is strongly related to the level of stress they experience during the course of a project.
This means that, over time, the health and welfare of your team members are affected by the nature and amounts of work assigned to them.
Getting workload balancing right is, therefore, an investment into the long-term success of your business.
Wanting to become a healthy team? Steal some tips and recommendations from experts in our recent ebook:
Find out about project change and how to stay on top of it in this second part of our blog post series on project control.
Is your business one of the many dealing with staffing constraints? Proper project prioritization may be able to help - we'll explain how in this guide.