Effective Team Workload Management
In modern-day society, the competition for customers is fierce. If a business fails to satisfy the appetite of the demanding public, it won't survive. So, as a manager, you expect your employees to give their best at work. You want a team of excellent performers, with a consistent streak of high productivity levels. Conversely, overworked staff members feel overwhelmed. This may lead to low morale, burnout, poor performance, and eventually a high employee turnover rate.
Effective workload management lets you spot overworking employees and reassign work accordingly. However, you have to find the right people with the right skills for the project. The problem is, it's not possible to evenly distribute work every time.
The person with the right skills may already have their plates full. On the other hand, employees who have the time to take on new assignments may not have the required skills or experience.
That’s where team workload management comes in.
What Is Team Workload Management?
Workload management is the process of distributing work among your workers and monitoring their activities and time utilization for a particular project or task. It's more than just assigning the right job to the right people. This is a useful leadership skill, especially when you’re managing remote employees.
As a manager, it is your responsibility to ensure that each employee or team is assigned work according to their capabilities. The primary goal is to make sure that the project objectives are met within the specified time frame.
The Importance of Workload Management
Overworking has been identified as one of the top reasons that negatively affect an employee’s performance. If a team is overwhelmed by the workload, productivity will suffer. This may lead to poor customer service, half-finished products, and probably the downfall of your business.
While project managers need to ensure that everyone on the team stays on top of their workload, it's imperative to devise strategies that ensure work efficiency. The thing is, the workflow will not always be smooth, and new challenges may crop up. For example:
- Changes to the project may require a new set of skills. This means you have to switch the approach of the entire project or assignment,
- Change in management, like a new project manager, may cause delays.
- New deadlines, absent employees, and a lack of immediate resources can also be setbacks.
All these pressures can build up along the way. Effective workload planning, combined with the help of workload management tools, can help ease such issues.
Workload management ensures:
- Effective utilization of resources
- Projects are on track and within the budget
- Effective time management
A lack of balance in work distribution will cause problems for your teams. Now, when teams are frustrated, stress levels increase and productivity suffers. Considering how important employees are to your business, you must find ways to manage workloads. In return, your workers will be happier and more productive.
How to Manage Team Workloads
1. Identify the Work That Needs to be Completed
First, you need to figure out how a project is going to be carried out. Start by creating a list of everything your team needs to get the work done. You’ll also need to identify people assigned to specific tasks while checking if their schedule is already full.
Here are examples of the things to include on your list:
- Reading and replying to emails
- Planned time off
- Mandatory training sessions
- Process improvements
Be sure to list down everything your team will be undertaking to get the full picture of what to expect.
2. Prioritize Projects/Tasks
Once you’ve written down what needs to be done, you need to organize your list in order of priority. Start by grouping the items on your list. You can group tasks based on urgency, importance, and the amount of time required to complete them.
Remember, no task is too trivial. Even tasks like cleaning up personal desks or making coffee need to be accounted for since they will affect your timeline. Grouping and prioritizing tasks keep you on top of things and ensures that you know what needs to be done next. It also makes it easier to distribute workload to relevant teams.
If you use a time tracking tool, you can use historical data to estimate the amount of time each task will take. However, since you're starting a new project, remember to include everything else that your project management software doesn’t track.
3. Figure Out Your Team’s Capacity
Knowing how much workload your team has to tackle is one part of the equation. You also need to know how much the team can handle. Keep in mind that each team member has unique skills and personalities and assignments should be allocated based on their skillset. This will help you find the right person for the job.
Some individuals can easily manage multiple tasks and still meet the deadline. Others can only work efficiently on specific tasks that they specialize in. That’s why assessing your team’s capacity is crucial.
This is where an open line of communication plays an important role. Avoid assigning tasks based on your knowledge (or perception) of an employee. Instead, involve them in the decision-making. Ask how they’d feel tackling specific tasks and if they can take on more work. This information will help you divide work fairly, without putting unnecessary pressure on specific employees. Plus, it will minimize conflicts among employees.
Furthermore, when assessing a team’s capacity, it's crucial to note that each team member works differently. Some prefer to work in time blocks. For example, some perform best in the morning, leaving the afternoon for emails and meetings. Therefore, try to embrace their work strategies and create unique workloads to suit each team member.
4. Break Down Projects
Now that you’ve mapped out your team’s workload, the next step is to break down big projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. This will help unburden your team’s workload and makes it easy to track their progress.
When breaking down tasks, multitasking should be out of the picture. Not only is it a waste of time, but it also reduces a worker's ability to focus and concentrate. Employees can work more effectively if you let them tackle one task at a time, rather than multiple tasks concurrently. It's also at this point where you need to identify and eliminate unproductive tasks like unnecessary meetings. Instead, allocate that time to more pressing matters.
Make sure that the most difficult or highest priority tasks are handled by your team first. Tackling complex tasks earlier on in project management can reduce stress and mental exhaustion, especially where the deadline is looming.
5. Be Prepared to Make Adjustments
Communication is of utmost importance in workload planning. You need to check-in regularly with your team members to make sure that the projects are on track. If issues arise, you should be able to deal with them promptly to avoid delays. For instance, if a team member is absent, you should be prepared to reassign tasks accordingly.
A project management tool encourages team collaboration, communication, and engagement, allowing you to identify under-allocated and over-allocated staff. You can then move tasks from overworking employees to those who don’t have enough to do.
Shifting tasks around helps you to balance team workload and ensures project goals are met. One way to keep your team members happy is to ask if they can take on additional workloads. Avoid dumping work on their laps, expecting to get excellent results. So, be sure to keep everyone on the team informed on any changes you intend on making so that you're all on the same page.
6. Set Aside Time for Teams to Connect
Team culture plays a significant role in the success of a team and a company as a whole. Effective planning involves saving time for team building. This applies to teams that work in-office as well as distributed and remote teams.
Organize regular team-wide face time, say weekly or biweekly, to help teams interact and connect. Remember feedback can also help improve team performance. So, don’t forget to praise high performers and encourage underperformers. Strive to ensure that team members share the same goal and are willing to achieve the company’s mission.
7. Monitor Projects and Employees Constantly
Even so, avoid micromanaging them. The last thing you want is for employees to feel like you don’t trust them to deliver on their work. Monitoring projects gives you an overview of whether the concerned employees will get the job done before the deadline.
Using workload management software can help you establish the weak points in your team and address them before things get out of hand. Traqq is the ideal workload tracker. Apart from helping you manage your team’s workloads, it makes it easier to handle your team’s work processes. Traqq shows you a visual presentation of your employees’ tasks and progress and helps you to avoid overworking employees.
By monitoring user activity, you can better coordinate your employees and reassign tasks accordingly. The tool also lets you check the websites and applications that each employee accessed, which in turn, shows you how company time is utilized. Traqq helps to keep the workflow smooth. Plus, it records employee working hours to ensure an accurate billing process.
Indeed, Traqq encourages team-wide transparency and promotes team productivity. The best part is, you can download this tool for free! At no cost, you can access its time tracking, employee monitoring, and reporting features.
Remember, heavy workloads result in more stress. Effective workload management will keep your employees happy, productive, and healthy. Your company, on the other hand, will enjoy consistent profitability and growth.
If you want a team that excels every time, invest in the right workload management software. Such a tool automates workload planning, streamlines workflows, and keeps track of tasks in real-time. Your primary goal should be to ensure your teams work efficiently and effectively.