There is often the challenge of knowing the right time to scale up the workforce with growing businesses. If you employ more people too early, it could be a waste of resources. If you delay and your business grows beyond expectation, you risk wearing out your staff and reducing their productivity. Most companies would often prefer to wait it out and see the growth before responding appropriately.
The decision to wait could cause work overload for staff. The thought of this work overload can cause anxiety and increase stress levels. Staff morale drops drastically, and there is a sudden dissatisfaction that grows towards the job. Unaddressed work overload can lead to insomnia, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
However, with proper planning, managers can reduce workload. Correctly managing workload will improve employees’ productivity and their overall work-life balance. Managers must constantly evaluate employees’ performance, deduce if the staff is overworked, and take necessary actions.
Customers know they have options and can be very demanding. Managers realize this competition and transfer the pressure to employees, often overstretching the team. Work pressure can become consuming without a concrete plan and productivity nosedives. Here are ways to reduce employee workloads and increase their productivity.
- Determine Capacity Levels
The first thing you want to do is determine your employee capacity. Their capacity refers to accomplishing specific tasks within a predetermined time frame. Determining employee capacity helps you identify the easiest way of meeting your needs. You can assign tasks and projects based on everyone’s strengths, thereby increasing productivity.
Not knowing employee capacity levels is a considerable risk and will often result in the slow delivery of projects. Then the team will be forced to work longer hours, thinking they can catch up. Research shows that working long periods have a similar effect to work overload, sleep deprivation, and poor performance. There are a couple of ways to determine employee capacity: time and motion studies, time tracking software, and asking employees directly.
Time and motion studies is when a staff measures the average time taken to execute a task over a specific period. The goal is to find out the average time to complete the job. Time tracking software helps determine your most productive staff, identify time-sinks, and map out strategies to improve time management.
- Set Achievable Deadlines
Deadlines are one of the most significant stressors in the workplace. Deadlines help keep employees on their toes, but it becomes a weakness rather than a strength when it is illogical. Unrealistic deadlines increase anxiety, and that’s why managers must set achievable deadlines. It is important to evaluate individual responsibilities and collective obligations before setting deadlines.
Task estimation will help you align responsibilities to the most qualified staff and make deadlines a motivator rather than a stressor. Managers must look at employees’ prioritizing activities and effectively distinguish between important and urgent tasks. Encouraging employees to use a to-do list creates clarity and helps to break large tasks into smaller parts. This strategy increases focus, gives a sense of accomplishment, and makes deadlines more achievable.
- Accept Automation
Doing the same manual tasks can become dull and leave staff feeling disengaged. Research shows that bored employees are twice more likely to quit their jobs, not to mention the increased likelihood of errors, time wastage, and unproductivity accompanying the process. Automation handles repetitive tasks allowing employees to learn new skills and provide high value to the organization.
Employees also have more time to take on tasks that matter. For call centers, the introduction of chatbots has improved self-service and reduced the workload of customer representatives. Since one of the benefits of call centers is that they can help businesses of any size, implementing automation in call centers will improve customer satisfaction and experience. More customers can personalize their experiences, and agents can focus on more technical problems.
- Avoid Multitasking
Research has revealed that it is impossible to multitask. The human brain architecture can not perform two tasks simultaneously. So when people multitask, they are shuffling between tasks. This process results in a reduction in performance accuracy and speed known as switch costs.
Multitasking reduces comprehension, attention, and performance. Managers should encourage employees to focus on one task at a time. This increases the performance and efficiency that is needed for successful workload management.
Employees are an organization’s most priced asset. Overburdened employees do little or no good to a business’s success. A manager’s goal is to help employees work efficiently by reducing their workload and increasing productivity.
Workload planning is one of the most effective ways to help employees reach their full potential. Another way is to invest in tools and mechanisms that reduce stress and free up time for employees to become more creative. Just like chatbots are to a call center.