7 ways to avoid workload nightmares
We are proud to operate a hotel that attracts both business and leisure travelers. But whether you are a business or leisure traveler, you work for a living, and you no doubt have been affected by the speed and intensity of work. We work in an age when interactive mobile technologies have us on duty 24/7 — and that often includes while vacationing.
This is why Insights for Professionals, a business research organization, has warned that employees can easily find themselves inundated with heavy workloads, high-pressure jobs, and, unless they take measure to prevent it, eventually burnout. IFP addresses what it calls the “evolution of the workplace” with a report titled 7 Ways to Avoid Workload Nightmares. We might find its prescriptions valuable for your own situation. The seven prescriptions include:
Time management: Time is one of your most valuable assets, and time management is perhaps the biggest factor to consider when it comes to avoiding workload nightmares. Time is easily wasted if we don’t work efficiently. Seek ways to eliminate time wasting by focusing your working day and ensuring you take regular breaks. A survey cited in the report says that about 25 percent of employees waste two to five working hours each day.
Project management: In the same way that time must be managed, projects require careful planning to ensure they are carried out as effectively as possible. After studying 10,640 projects from 200 different companies in 30 different countries, PwC found that only 2.5 percent of companies were able to successfully complete 100 percent of their projects. This is clearly a hugely underwhelming statistic, and that’s why comprehensive project management is so important to a business’ overall success. Luckily, the report points out, there are a wide range of project management apps and websites that are on hand to help you.
Prioritization: Often seen as part of the two processes already mentioned — time and project management — prioritizing also stands alone as a key factor in managing a large workload. Ad-hoc tasks arise during a working day, and how you deal with these will ultimately decide how productive your day is and how significantly your workload is reduced. By tackling the most difficult or most important tasks first, you will not only be making genuine headway, but also greatly reduce the amount of pressure you feel, thus enabling you to approach the rest of your workload with a clearer and more positive mindset.
Communication: Communication is vital for a successful business, and it can be used to help manage and control workload levels. Generally, the most important person to communicate with regarding your workload is your line manager, so that you can keep that person updated on progress, ensure expectations are kept realistic, and seek support when necessary.
Taking breaks: The report notes that more than half of the employee cohort studied have suffered burnout at work, and it’s important that you take steps to avoid this. Regardless of how busy you are, you must make your health and wellbeing your top priority. This means ensuring you take regular breaks, and eat and drink sufficiently throughout the day to keep your energy and concentration levels high.
Delegation: Unfortunately, delegation has a bad reputation. Although excessive delegation by more senior colleagues can make them seem lazy, well-informed delegation can significantly increase a company’s productivity and ultimately lower the workload of everyone. Delegation does not necessarily have to take place in-house. The outsourcing of work to a third party is a form of delegation that adds no extra burden on employees.
Managing meetings: The working world is awash with meetings, and while they are an important aspect of many internal and external relationships, a meeting is not always the appropriate forum through which communication should take place. In fact, some websites claim that in the United States alone, 11 million formal meetings are held each day, and unnecessary meetings cost $37 billion annually is squandered productivity. Add to that a survey by Microsoft that found that employees spent around 5.5 hours per week in meetings, and 71 percent of those meetings were not productive.
The report’s conclusion says 40 percent of workers have reported that they find their job “very or extremely stressful” and a further 25 percent of workers say their jobs are the number one stressors in their lives. A little stress is natural with work, but it doesn’t need to, and indeed should not, overwhelm you — provided you prioritize, organize, communicate effectively, and delegate when it makes sense. What’s more, employees should not be reticent about saying “no” to additional work assignments if you cannot handle a larger workload. Then again, the reports says, the effective use of the suggested steps above means you should find your existing workload easier to manage, thereby helping you to avoid a workload nightmare.
You can read the full IFP report by clicking here.
Written by Mike Consol