Effective workload management sounds like a simple idea. You just need to assign the right work to the right people. Many hands make light work, right?\nIt’s harder than it sounds.\nTeam workload management is a business strategy where you look at all the work that your team needs to complete, then intelligently assign that work to the right people. By focusing on the team’s work as a unit, you reach your goals faster and more efficiently.\nWork doesn’t divide evenly. You need to assign work to the best person to do it, but the person with the right skills might already have too much on their plate. Employees with time to take on a new project may not have the right experience.\nSome types of work are predictable, and some business needs change every day.\nFor this reason, honing your workload management skills is well worth the effort.\nWhy effective workload management is so important\nThe way you distribute work impacts all areas of your business.\nA 2020 study found that employees are less satisfied with their jobs when they think workloads are unbalanced.\nPoor workload management also contributes to high turnover, burnout, and overwork. The lack of balance increases stress levels and reduces productivity. It’s not a healthy situation for your team or your business.\nYou don’t need to look at professional studies to see that badly managed workloads cause problems. Think about how you feel when you have way too much (or way too little) to do. Those frustrations are amplified when you’re part of a team that doesn’t seem to share work fairly.\nThe opposite is also true.\nIf you’re great at effective workload management, your team will be happier, healthier, and more productive.\nYou’ll do more work faster and with fewer people. You can grow your company without needing to spend more money.\nCreating a good workload management strategy also helps you become a better manager.\n Employees who feel that the team’s workload is unbalanced are less satisfied with their jobs. \nWhen you deeply understand when and how work is getting done, your team feels like you’re more in tune.\nBalancing work can even help you identify skill gaps you didn’t know you had.\nAs you read this post, you might feel like it’s too time-consuming to map out all the things that your team does.\nThat’s understandable. Especially if you’re already running behind, it’s hard to spend time looking at the work that needs to be done.\nInvest that time anyway. You’ll get caught up faster when your team is working at top productivity.\n Seeing how your team’s workload is divided is a productive experience by itself. \n6 steps to effectively manage your team’s workload\n1: List the work that needs to be done\nTo manage your workload, you need to know everything that must be done and who is available to do it.\nList everything your team needs to do and about how long it takes. If you use a time tracking tool, look at that data to help inform your estimates. Include meetings, planned time off, and anything else that takes up work time.\nYour own work should be on the list, too. Seeing exactly how you spend your time will help you decide what to delegate.\n Dividing work fairly doesn’t always mean dividing work evenly. \nIf you use task management software, you already have most of this list right there. Be careful to also include all the time-consuming tasks that your software doesn’t track.\nHere are some of the miscellaneous items that are often overlooked in this step:\n\nMandatory training – examples: industry licensing requirements and HR-required company policy reviews\nShared administrative tasks – examples: making coffee, getting the mail, and unpacking office supplies\nCareer development – examples: learning new skills and working with internal career counselors\nOrganization and planning – examples: inbox management, returning calls, and cleaning up a messy desk\nScheduling – examples: communicating with 3rd party vendors and planning time off\nProcess improvements – examples: testing new tools, documenting processes, and proposing changes to existing procedures\n\n\nManage your team’s workload\nUse Hubstaff Tasks to balance your team’s workload and make sure projects stay on track.\n\n\nYour completed list of work might look a little messy. Some things are long-term projects. Some are minor tasks that only need to be done occasionally.\nThis big picture view is important. Later, you’ll break everything into manageable tasks, but don’t do it yet. Instead, organize your list into groups:\n\nGroup project tasks by individual project\nGroup non-project work tasks by related work (reporting, customer relations, etc.)\nCategorize remaining tasks (administrative, housekeeping, culture, etc.)\n\nIf you haven’t already, it’s wise to create timelines for your big projects. When you get to step 5 and start assigning or moving tasks between employees, your timelines are especially important.\nNow that you have a holistic view of your team’s workload, you’re ready for the next step.\n2: Assess your team’s work capacity\nJust like in football, every member of your team plays a different position. You need a mix of skills and personalities for success.\nSome people can easily juggle multiple tasks and deadlines. Some have highly specialized skills. Because every person and position is different, dividing the workload fairly doesn’t always mean dividing it evenly.\n\nAsk each person privately how they feel about their current workload. Take note of who feels comfortable and who wants more or less on their plate. This opens the lines of communication while you get an idea of team member capacity.\nCreate a chart that includes this information for each team member:\n\nTheir title and job responsibilities or job description\nAny additional skills, even if those skills aren’t being used right now\nA list of all the work they’re currently assigned\n\nSeeing how the workload is divided is often a productive experience by itself. You’ll see where you’re leaning on some people too heavily and underutilizing others.\nThe next step improves productivity for your entire team. It’s especially important if you have more work than you have time to do.\n3: Prioritize and trim\nYou already mapped out your team’s workload. Now, go back to your list of work and break any big projects into smaller tasks.\n Stay open to communication. Your team will find it easier to change when they’re involved in the process. \nThe goal is to turn your team’s entire workload into a list of tasks that can be completed in a reasonable amount of time by one person. This is how you plan and manage workloads and priorities.\nTasks should be completed in order of importance.\nLook closely at low priority work to decide if it needs to get done at all. Trim any needless tasks (like non-productive meetings) and use that time to work on more important things.\nMulti-tasking does not work. It stresses people out, reduces their connection to what they’re doing, and lowers cognitive ability. That’s right — multitasking makes you dumber. Temporarily, at least.\nFocusing on priority items first helps you decide how to assign tasks.\nYou don’t want all of your priorities assigned to the same person while the rest of your team works on less important stuff.\n Multi-tasking does not work. \n4: Communicate with your team\nBig changes are difficult. Even if your team has begged for a better workload management process, moving to a new system is uncomfortable.\nMake it easier by including your team in the process and communicating openly.\nAsk who would like more or fewer tasks. Some people may be interested in learning new skills or taking a different career path.\nTalk about the reasons you’re making big changes and stay open to discussion.\nIt’s easier for your team to handle the transition when they’re deeply involved. There’s a big difference between making something happen and having something happen to you.\n\nBalance workload more easily\nBook a demo of Hubstaff Tasks to learn how it can help you assess your team’s work capacity at all times and allow you to manage workload more easily.\n\n\n5: Reassign tasks\nWhen deciding how to divide the workload in a team, it’s okay if some people have a few more responsibilities.\nSome people are more efficient. Some have specialized skills. You have employees who love detail-oriented work and others who hate it.\nAssign work that suits a person’s strengths whenever possible.\nDivide tasks with larger goals in mind. You accomplish more things faster when everyone works toward the same goal together.\n\nThere are two types of tasks to consider: reoccurring work and project work.\nReassign ongoing things quickly.\nThere’s no logical stopping point in something like a weekly spreadsheet update, so reassign the work and move on. Trying to transition these things slowly creates more work and confuses your team.\nTasks that are part of a bigger project may need to be transitioned over time. Consider the current progress and whether or not that person wants to keep working on it.\nYou can choose to let the current person finish up before adjusting responsibilities, or you can reassign it immediately.\n Assign work that suits a person’s strengths whenever possible. \n6: Effective workload management tools\nStarting is the hardest part. Once you’ve got everything set up, keep improving the process to get the most benefit from your efforts.\nIf you’re looking for low-maintenance workload management, there are some tools that can help you with that.\n\nHubstaff Tasks is ideal for this. You can easily see and manage your entire team’s workload. Build custom workflows, then drag and drop to move tasks and ideas wherever they need to go. Use Sprints and intuitive timelines to help your team focus on the highest priorities, and take advantage of automated Stand-ups to spend less time in meetings and more time getting things done.\nSet your task due dates according to priority to keep your team on track. Reinforce those priorities whenever you see them starting to drift.\nSigns you have a workload management problem\nWorkload issues aren’t always obvious. Productivity and morale issues have many different causes.\nYou might think that your team just needs to work more efficiently. Be careful with that assumption.\nIf you push your team to be more efficient when the real problem is that you’re not managing the workload effectively, your top performers are likely to quit.\nLook for these warning signs that you need to balance the workload:\n\nEmployees complain about having too much or too little work\nSome people regularly stay late or work extra hours to meet deadlines\nYour team regularly misses deadlines\nYour team has more communication issues\nEmployees complain about favoritism\nPeople don’t know what to work on\nTasks only get done when you ask about them\n\nEmployee feedback is a great indicator. If your team is telling you that they have too much work, it’s probably true. Before you push for more efficiency or hire someone new, plan and manage workloads and priorities.\nGet started\nYour new workload management skills are going to make a big difference for your team. What project will you launch with your extra time? Tell us in the comments.