Your Workforce Is Overwhelmed. What Should You Do?

Defining Poor Work Ethic: Understanding Your Team's "Work Ethic" In 2024

Many professionals are overwhelmed with their workloads. They are simply being asked to do more than they can reasonably manage, leaving them frustrated, exhausted, and disengaged.

When this happens, there are things managers can do to improve the situation. If you’re wondering how you can help, here’s what you need to know.

Talk About Workloads

Many managers only have a basic idea of what each team member is handling instead of a full grasp on the size of their workloads. This lack of information can be detrimental, causing managers to incorrectly estimate how much more a worker can reasonably take on before experiencing a difficulty.

Ideally, managers should work to understand precisely what is on each team member’s plate. By scheduling meetings with each employee and openly discussing their workload, you can gather critical insights. It lets you know which workers may have room to take on more and which ones don’t, ensuring you don’t overload an employee accidentally.

Plus, you can get a chance to rebalance. If one team member is overwhelmed while another has space for additional responsibilities, you can switch tasks to create better equity.

Identify Work Priorities

By outlining which duties are genuinely high priority, your team knows where they need to focus their efforts. Additionally, they’ll know what tasks can actually wait, giving them some breathing room if it’s needed.

When you identify work priorities, keep the list short. You can’t put all tasks in that category. If you do, you make a challenging situation harder. So, be honest about what has to be handled sooner and where there is some leeway.

Encourage Time Off

Taking a break can work wonders. However, when workloads are heavy, many employees fear they’ll be looked down upon if they request days off. As a result, they push far longer than they should, increasing the rate of burnout.

Make sure you encourage your employees to use any paid time off they accrue. Let them know that breaks are important and that you support their decision. Then, make sure there isn’t any form of penalty for being away, guaranteeing that they don’t return to a harder situation than the one they left.

Eliminate Unnecessary Meetings

While meetings are sometimes essential, not all gatherings are necessary. When you schedule one anyway, you disrupt your team’s focus. They have to walk away from the task at hand, making it harder to establish a flow. Then, if their presence wasn’t genuinely necessary, time is wasted that could have been spent elsewhere.

When you plan a meeting, consider whether one is actually required. If another option is a better fit, use it instead. If not, keep the attendees list short, ensuring only those who actually have to participate are invited.

Let Employees Say “No”

Many employees are afraid to say “no” if they are asked to take on more work. As a result, their responsibilities keep growing, potentially reaching a size that’s more than they can handle.

Let your employees know that declining a new responsibility is okay if their reason is justifiable. Also, make it clear that being overwhelmed is a legitimate reason to say “no,” empowering them to announce if they have hit their limit.

Augment Your Workforce

When you’re shorthanded, it’s almost guaranteed that your workforce will get overwhelmed. By expanding your team – either permanently or temporarily – you get more hands on deck. When that happens, you can divvy out responsibilities in a more manageable way, giving everyone the space they need to remain productive, engaged, and happy.

If your team is overwhelmed and you want to bring in new employees to relieve their burden, the staff at The Advance Group can help. Contact us today.






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