If you think the manager is the key to a project’s success, you’d be mistaken. While PMs are critical to team dynamics and productivity, they aren’t the boots on the ground.
It’s your employees who are the ones working their magic on the front lines. Without their efforts, achievable deadlines are missed. Clients are pi$$Ed. And cashflows fail to persist.
Your best laid plans go bust if you can’t manage employee workloads effectively. But if your project manager knows how to assess employees’ workload, the entire team (and project) will benefit.
When team members mesh together perfectly, performance is optimized. Workloads are more efficient, and bandwidth is freed up, allowing more time to focus on the most difficult tasks and pressing matters.
In many cases, an employee’s overall workload directly impacts their performance. So, if you effectively manage their workload, they can work more effectively. Workers will be less stressed, and more focused.
You see where this is going, right? The better your workers, the better your business.
So, how can we determine whether the right employees are assigned to the right task at the right time?
In this piece, we’ll learn how to assess the workload of employees to determine whether they are working efficiently through a process called workload management.
What is Workload Management?
Workload management is distributing the workload among team members in the most efficient way possible. It also tracks utilization, employee performance, and individual KPIs.
The correct distribution of workload sets employees up for success. With workload management, work is distributed equally. So, each employee has a fair share of the tasks they must complete.
Is workload management the same as time management?
Workload management is an effort to increase efficiency among teams. As you probably know, efficiency goes beyond workaround time and tasks.
Workload management differs from time management in that it is a strategic approach as it plans, estimates, and tracks all the project tasks teams must deliver. This enables managers, and the team, to balance workload demands for all individuals and groups involved.
Workload management also allows the team to adhere to any schedule commitment made to the customer.
Why is Assessing Workload Important?
When it comes to projects’ success, every team member and employee is crucial. They determine the overall project performance. Effective teams contribute to KPIs and reduce the risk of employees becoming stressed and burnt out.
Developing intelligent workload management processes also ensures management and clients that all the tasks are completed ASAP. It also prevents employees from feeling overwhelmed and overworked.
In other words, assessing workload is a way of making sure that employees are satisfied with the amount of work on their plates. They’re happy to work hard and feel satisfied after they clock out.
After all, job demands, intellectual demands, and job satisfaction are all related. Job satisfaction decreases when the job demand is too high and increases when intellectual demand increases.
Improving Workload Management in the Workplace
Now that we know the importance of workload management, the next step is to start improving everyone’s workload management.
In this fast-paced world, clients have high demands for quality service. But that also means that sometimes, employees’ plates become overloaded and tasks are left unfinished.
Fortunately, there are techniques you can use that will help you improve workload management.
Here are five steps you can put into action when managing your team’s workload.
- Determine your team’s workload and capacity.List all tasks each team member needs to complete. That way, you can visualize and clarify the project scope, and record your past activity.In determining workload and capacity, you need to understand your milestones and timelines for the various projects and deliverables. You also must determine your team’s bandwidth, with consideration of all tasks and projects your team is currently working on.If any urgent work is needed, prioritize that.
- Assign your resources and break down each employee’s workload.
When allocating resources, consider their urgency and prioritize accordingly. Assign priority work first before assigning any other tasks.Also, allocate the hardest and most complex tasks first so that employees have enough time to finish them. Use a calendar to mark the start and end dates for the various work assignments so you can keep track of deadlines.
- Follow up with your team members so you can adjust the workload as necessary.
As a manager, you’re responsible for monitoring project progress. You also need to observe your employees for signs of stress or overwork.You can initiate team meetings to keep tabs on what your team members are experiencing during the project’s phases.
- Improve your tools and methods during heavy workloadsLet’s face it. Workload volume is unpredictable, even if you’re a productivity expert. So, it’s crucial that your team can adapt.For example, when you sense there’s too much pressure on your team, you can scale back on the team meetings and start thinking of ways you can communicate more quickly and efficientlyIdentify time and work management methods that suit each employee, along with letting them learn time and project management skills.
- Use a work management tool.Of course, you can always use a tool to help you more effectively assign tasks.Work management tools can either be analog— whiteboards and flip charts — or digitally-based online tools.Work management tools, particularly online ones, have the advantage of consolidating information in one location, allowing team members access to that information all the time, immediately.Workload management tools also help you quickly identify conflicting deadlines and priorities. These tools also provide you with complete visibility, an overview of resource allocation, and notifications for due dates and milestones.
These five steps can help you improve your team’s work efficiency, effectiveness, and overall work culture. You’ll see that your employees manage their workloads better and can deliver more quality work.
Plus, they’ll have more time for self care. And we can always use a little more of that.
What Are Workload Management Tools?
As we mentioned in the previous section, workload management tools are beneficial to the project manager and the team in completing their assigned tasks. These tools help employees understand and monitor their assignments, deadlines, and resources.
Here are some ways that workload management tools can support your team:
- Resource management tools allow managers to look at resource allocations in the big picture, making it easier to shuffle resources when the need arises.
- With automation software, tasks and tickets based on employee capacity can be routed. Automation can also help with prioritization and tracking, as well as increase back-office output.
- Work and resource management tools help in predicting possible problems through analysis of historical patterns and revealing patterns of peak activity for each team and for each role.
- Work management platforms can reveal work patterns among employees, making assessments and evaluations more objective and professional.
Work management tools can be a paper diary, a planner, or even enterprise collaboration software.
You can use these tools to start communicating with your team if you spot any inconsistencies or anomalies in their work patterns. This way, your team can implement effective communication to improve the whole team’s performance.
Task Management Software
Work management tools cover a variety of features, including task management. This software allows you to allocate resources according to your employees’ capabilities and capacity.
In other words, task management software helps you to assign the right task to the right person at the right time.
There is a wide range of task management software you can choose from. There are our recommendations:
Wrike is a task management software package intended to streamline internal project management and collaboration processes among team members. Its easy-to-use features allow easy collaboration, no matter where each team member is located.
This cloud-based platform has features covering:
- Gantt charts
- Custom dashboards
- Real-time updates
Wrike also has specialized packages for teams and businesses engaged in marketing, creativity, and service delivery. You can track the time it takes to complete the task with timesheets tracking totals.
Although Wrike is a great workload management software package, it’s on the pricey side with its per-user and per-tier monthly subscription.
If you are looking for a platform to organize your projects at a glance and collaborate with your team and track their progress, then you want ClickUp.
The software has a user-friendly and customizable interface, making it easy for teams to collaborate and learn to use.
ClickUp’s features also allow you to track your entire project from the very beginning until completion. You can manage employees using a variety of tools, from List, Box, Gannt, and Boards that can help you save time.
ClickUp has three pricing tiers you can choose from. But if you’re on a budget, you can also try it for free!
If you like to create individual workspaces where each member can make their own to-do lists, then Asana is perfect for you.
This platform allows you to create workspaces for the team so that each person can work on their own tasks within a specific workspace.
This feature means that Asana is highly customizable and perfect for teams with unique needs.
Another well-known workload management tool is monday.com. It’s an open platform that lets teams create and shape the tools they require to complete their assigned work.
With its apps and integration, monday.com helps your team boost alignment, efficiency, and employee productivity.
This platform is also useful for industry-specific projects with its specialized tools such as the Monday Marketer, Monday Sales CRM, and Monday Dev.
For agile software teams, Zenhub is the go-to workload management tool. That’s because it enables software development teams to build their code better and quicker, no matter the size of the team.
The platform has automated agile features, real-time roadmap visibility, and insights into employee productivity.
With its agile capabilities and automation features, Zenhub keeps teams productive, aligned, and working towards a common goal despite working long hours.
Dynamic workload and employee empowerment make Smartsheet a smart choice for many project managers. This platform allows the dynamic planning, execution, and reporting of work at scale for many teams.
Using a tool like Smartsheet results in more efficient processes and innovative solutions for organizations, leading to better business outcomes.
With its secure and scalable features, Smartsheet connects not only the individual team members, but also the entire enterprise. This gives flexible solutions for the changing needs of dynamic work across different teams and roles.
Designed for small and mid-sized organizations, Zoho Projects offers features such as project scheduling and budgeting. This cloud-based platform allows you to define your project tasks, assign work to respective teams, and estimate costs.
Zoho Projects also allows you to follow up on current tasks and automate document processes.
Zoho also helps managers prepare business reports and create management summaries in the productivity reports section. It also offers convenient visual representation tools like Gantt charts.
You can also use Zoho to break down complex tasks into subtasks and create milestones and to-do lists.
Specifically designed for client work, Teamwork is a workload management tool for delivering work on time and within budget. The platform can help your team minimize client chaos and further understand profitability.
Organize workflows and schedules without hassle, and integrate your workflows with ease with other applications within the user-friendly Teamwork dashboard.
How to Boost Productivity and Efficiency
Assigning work to the right people is a difficult task. Employees need to balance their projects and all the work and deadlines that come with them.
There may also be a time when the task at hand doesn’t fit with their skill set. This is why we need to apply techniques and methods to accomplish goals and meet achievable deadlines that work for individual employees.
Here are some tips on how you can boost employee productivity and efficiency.
Determine Capacity Levels
Maximizing the time and talents of your team members requires you to have a clear and full view of their capacity and availability.
You have to be aware of the times when your resources won’t be available so you can assign a task to someone who can do the job.
Split Work Evenly Between Staff
Contrary to popular belief, several people working together on a task does not always go well in resource management.
In fact, there’s a possibility that this can only prolong the working time and can leave other members on standby.
This is why as a team manager, you must assign work according to your employees’ capacity, skills, strengths, and roles.
Check Project Statuses and Adjust Accordingly
Now that you have assigned tasks evenly, monitor the team’s progress. Check with your team to see if they agree with the goals you’ve set and whether they think you’ve given them achievable deadlines.
If your team members face unforeseen challenges, you can adjust accordingly. Your employees will feel you’re listening to their opinions, suggestions, and difficulties.
Prioritize the Work Sections
Tasks have varying levels of complexity and difficulty. If some of the tasks at hand are urgent, prioritize them. Do not worry about other tasks! You can assign them after the prioritized work has been finished and delivered.
Doing this allows your team to have longer times to finish the task and increases the chances of them producing quality results.
As in any relationship, effective communication is crucial. But in project management, communicating effectively with your team ensures that every member understands the tasks they have and their deadlines.
When there’s efficient communication among the team, employees are assured they can get answers to their questions and that management take their concerns seriously.
Multi-tasking may be an impressive ability. But when optimizing work, it’s a no-go. After all, having to complete multiple tasks at once causes employees to feel overwhelmed and stressed.
Make sure to remind your employees to focus on one task at a time.
Completing a project for a client may prompt us to be perfectionists. This is good if we know how to keep it under control. But if perfecting each deliverable causes the team to do multiple reworks, then it is already causing a delay in your project’s overall timeline.
Also, being a perfectionist in the workplace can cause stress for your team members, which will heavily affect their productivity.
Set Your Team Up for Success
As a manager and leader, you want your team to be successful in every project they venture into. This means you have to build your team so they have the appropriate skill set for any project they take on.
In setting your team up for success, you can share your knowledge with them so they can have a deeper understanding of their roles and responsibilities. So, be sure to provide workers with training and courses aligned with their skill set.
On the other hand, when you’re already working on a project, set attainable goals and expectations to further set your team up for success. This way, they stay motivated during the entire project life cycle.
How Workload Assessment Leads to a Healthier Workplace
Workload assessment leads to an even distribution of workload among team members. The right employees get the tasks that are appropriate to their skill set and capacity. When this happens, they’ll enjoy working on their assigned tasks, and won’t feel stressed or overwhelmed.
When your team members are feeling excited to get to work, the overall workplace environment becomes healthier, and employees will work more efficiently. You will be more likely to meet client expectations without a fuss.
Final Thoughts on Workload Assessment and Management
Like any other activity, project management is difficult, especially since the project involves many people — from start to finish. People have varying levels of skills, abilities, and availability. This is why we should understand our employees first before we can assign any work to them.
The good thing is that workload assessment and management are there to help project managers find the right people for the right tasks.
Workload management considers every team member’s capacity and availability when tasks are allocated and assigned. With this, project managers can see what their employees are capable of and can match their skills with the appropriate tasks.
In conclusion, to better manage workloads, apply the following tips:
- Determine capacity levels
- Split work evenly among staff members
- Check project statuses and adjust accordingly
- Prioritize the work sections
- Communicate effectively
- Avoid multitasking
- Avoid perfectionism
- Set your team up for success
When all these issues are considered, employees will finish their work on time without feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
So, how are you managing your project management? Let’s pave the way for the ultimate success of your project.
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