6 Workload Management Strategies for Happier, More Productive Teams in 2022
Managing your employees’ workload in 2022 isn’t straightforward. Most organisations have adopted flexible, hybrid or remote working patterns, making previously reliable methodologies for managing workloads redundant.
Since adopting contemporary working models, changes in everyday work habits have impacted employee communication, productivity, engagement and wellbeing — all of which affect workload management.
So how do modern teams overcome these challenges? Workload management tools promise to facilitate modern working patterns alongside new strategies for managing workloads.
Related: How to Use Time and Attendance Tracking Software to Manage Remote Teams
What Is Workload Management?
Successful workload management is the effective prioritisation, delegation and completion of tasks. Optimising each of these aspects makes it easier to plan work, track progress and complete projects within deadlines.
Workload management incorporates an eclectic mix of skills and experience in the modern workplace. In effect, managers’ roles have changed, and so has how they should interface with their teams. Hybrid or flexibly working teams require a different managerial approach to foster collaboration, maintain productivity and run successful projects.
Now, keeping workloads on an even keel is more complicated. New working models pose problems to task and project management that many businesses are yet to fully overcome.
Related: Using SMART Goals to Improve Employee Productivity
Effective Strategies to Manage Employee Workload
Implementing strategies to manage your team’s workload can mitigate many of the challenges you face in your role and promote happiness and productivity, even when working remotely.
Here are a few strategies to help you meet workload management challenges head-on, plus some tips on how to incorporate these ideas:
1. Prioritise Tasks for Your Team
Several factors come into play when organising your team to make sure everything runs smoothly. One of the critical aspects of workload management is prioritisation.
Effective prioritisation is essential to maintain productivity and meet deadlines. Things can quickly get out of hand if work isn’t prioritised appropriately. Employees can be overwhelmed when they’re faced with too many high-urgency, high-importance tasks, teams break down, and results can suffer.
To stop this from happening, create workflows to minimise bottlenecks and ensure work will be ready to complete by all team members at given times.
Tips: Working across time zones is an ever-present challenge, but you can easily remedy it by booking virtual meetings at mutually convenient times, recording communications and keeping a cloud-based hub of information so that everyone can access a single source of truth.
2. Brief Your Team and Set Realistic Deadlines
When briefing your team, discuss the deadlines and make sure that expectations are clear. Depending on the size of the project, you should set milestones to track the progress and relay information up the chain or to clients.
It’s a good idea to involve your team at this early stage to explore eventualities that could lead to delays. Time is valuable, but consider the return on time invested — addressing potentially damaging issues at the beginning of the process is much better than hitting them further down the line.
Tips: Be direct and ask your team members if they think more time is required to achieve the project’s desired outcome. Then, check in with them when approaching milestones or deadlines to ensure task completion within the given time frames.
3. Provide Opportunities to Specify
Specifying is a crucial aspect of having a successful and fulfilling career. Giving your team members opportunities to bolster their skills in new areas has numerous benefits for employers and employees.
By allowing your team members to develop a deep understanding of a particular aspect of their work, you’re facilitating their journey to becoming a master of that domain. Alternatively, you can help struggling employees broaden their horizons by giving them new avenues to explore.
Not only does this add variety to your team’s working patterns, but it also helps empower individuals and build their confidence. The rest of your team can reap the benefit of specialised experience if and when they share what they’ve learned through employee-led training and development.
Tips: When delegating non-urgent work, ask yourself — are there any training and development opportunities that coincide with this task? Has anyone in your team expressed an interest in this client or area? If you don’t know, offer the opportunity to your team.
Related: How to Respond to the Great Resignation: 3 Ways to Improve Retention
4. Delegate Authority to Experienced Team Members
Managers can’t be everywhere all at once. If you have lower-importance, lower-urgency tasks, delegate some authority to experienced and trustworthy employees within your team to help oversee project completion. They can be used as a direct report, allowing you to ascertain key information quickly.
If this goes well, and the employee reports back to you, these employees may receive more ad-hoc management tasks in future, nurturing them towards more senior positions. If you find that employees don’t manage these extra responsibilities well, it can be used as a learning and development opportunity for both the employee and yourself.
Tips: Spotting talent requires keen awareness and understanding of your team members. Time spent learning about their career aspirations is vital and should be addressed in regular one-to-one meetings.
5. Facilitate Communication Across Your Team
Effective communication upwards through your company’s hierarchy is valuable, but horizontal communication is equally important when managing workloads.
Encouraging your team to communicate with one another can remove some of the burdens of workload management. Internal communication should keep everyone up-to-date with changes, updates, and progress reports. Tools like Slack can enhance internal communication, but be mindful — the constant back and forth communication can hinder productivity.
Tips: You can use employee tracking software like Handdy to help you judge whether or not employees are using their time effectively without micromanaging.
Related: How to Spot the Signs of Disengaged Employees (and Respond Effectively)
6. Celebrate Successes and Learn from Failures as a Team
Being a good leader means celebrating the wins and making failures into lessons everyone can learn from. Providing positive feedback is an easy way to make people valued. When deadlines are met, a simple “well done” can make all the difference to morale. It sounds simple, but sometimes that’s all it takes.
Constructive feedback can fuel development, empowering individuals within your team to improve themselves. Be mindful of the timing and method of delivering your feedback — lecturing an employee about substandard performance won’t benefit them or you. On the other hand, waiting too long to provide positive feedback can make some people feel like their efforts are going unnoticed.
Relaying feedback effectively can significantly increase employee well-being if maintained over time. This benefits workload management, as employees may be more willing to take on extra work if their efforts are recognised and rewarded.
Tips: For exceptional performance on major projects or key accounts, you should offer bonuses and other incentives.
Why Is Workload Management Important?
There are numerous benefits to proper workload management, serving both the individual and the organisation:
Enhances Productivity – If your team doesn’t have a good framework for organisation, they can’t be maximally productive. Help them structure their time through prioritisation and workflows so that your employees can make the most of their time — and do their best work for your company.
Promotes Synergy – When teams communicate clearly and are familiar with workload management strategies, they’re allowed to become more invested in their work and will support each other to achieve their collective goals. The combining of resources can significantly improve operational efficiency.
Minimises Errors – Human error is a fact of life, but avoidable mistakes can be costly and frustrating. They can hold up projects and cause friction between you, your client, or team. Clearly delegating tasks and providing adequate briefs can lessen the need for rework and avoid basic errors.
Reduces the Likelihood of Burnout – Unplanned absences can upset the rhythm of even the most harmonious groups. In a recent survey, Deloitte found that 77% of workers have experienced burnout — one of the leading causes of absenteeism. Proper workload management can reduce stress and mitigate burnout.
Related: Generation Z in the Workplace: How to Correctly Manage Junior Teams
Should You Use Workload Management Tools?
Your job as a team or project manager is simple when things run smoothly. When things aren’t going well, your work can become exhausting.
Your experience can be defined by how you organise your team and manage the resources at your disposal. Setting clear objectives and meeting deadlines is essential, but there’s much more to workload management than hitting these targets.
Managing your team takes a lot of work, and Handdy is here to help. You can get a detailed look at how your team is performing using employee monitoring software, which can help you boost productivity, help individuals become accountable for their work and address potentially damaging issues in the workplace.
Track time, attendance, and performance remotely and stress-free. Start your free Handdy trial today.