Is your organization experiencing a lot of work tension?

Long working hours, double shifts, or multitasking does not lead to high productivity, as most people might think.

On the contrary, it results in absenteeism, unhappy, and overworked team members who might end up suffering from stress-related complications such as high blood pressure, weight loss, and anxiety, among others.

Work Tension

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The truth is that excessive workload is the leading cause of stress in the workplace leading to poor health, behavior change, and low productivity.

Research shows that the leading cause [1] of stress in the workplace is workload at 46%. Annually, stress costs U.S businesses up to $300 billion, and on top of that, it accounts for $190 billion [2] in healthcare bills.

Therefore, it’s the responsibility of the small business owners, entrepreneurs, and managers to provide a healthy and conducive working environment.

I encourage you to take the initiative to prevent tension associated with an increase in workload.

Problems Associated with Increased Workload

An increase in workload may cause tension, which might result in several problems.

Decreased Productivity

As you now know,  long working hours or double shifts do not mean the completion of more work. When team members are tired and overworked, their output capabilities will be compromised.

In the end, the work will come out sub-standard as their cognitive function is not up to the task

High Error Rate

A tired mind is bound to make mistakes as the team member is not willing to counter check their work.

Such errors range from simple typing mistakes to serious accidents, which occur when the focus is lost.

Burnout

An increase in workload can lead to burnout when the team member depletes their energy.  Instances of burnout may force workers to look for better job opportunities.

Additionally, they may require off days to recover, which ultimately leads to reduced productivity.

Poor Health

Tension originating from increased workload may lead to stress, which affects the members’ health negatively.

Such problems include alcohol abuse, sleeping disorders, headaches, anxiety, and depression.

Absenteeism

Ultimately, the person affected by tension due to increased workload may end up requiring time off to recover.

To avoid all the above problems, you should strive to reduce tension associated with work overload through the following tips.

#1 Identify the Source of the Tension

There are different causes of workload tension, such as unachievable deadlines, people, and client management.

In reality, you can’t be able to reduce workload tension if you don’t understand what is causing it.

In that case, you need to speak directly with your team members to find out their specific pain points.

For instance, the workload can overwhelm a member of the staff due to poor working conditions such as a noisy environment. To solve this, you need to encourage your staff to have a quiet workspace to reduce the increased workload tension.

Or, if a team member has a backlog due to handling a large client base, the solution is to redistribute the clients.

#2 Set Well Defined Timelines

To avoid personnel combining different tasks while at the same time competing with the deadline, create priority lists. Hence, your people will be able to concentrate on each task [3] depending on the expected deadline.

For example, every morning, you can introduce a short briefing to inform the personnel what is expected of them by the end of the day. Additionally, you will be able to evaluate progress and give clear guidelines.

Not all tasks have the same urgency or have the same deadline.

Having well-defined timelines helps your team to focus on the most important matters first.

Likewise, you can divide your project into manageable parts that will not overload your personnel.

# 3 Allow Flexibility and Be Accommodative

Today with the growth of technology, a 9-5 working schedule is no longer the norm. Companies are evolving and allowing personnel to work part-time.

Based on the workers’ availability, you can offer them flexitime or part-time working options.

Flexible working hours help to reduce tension as the employees come to the office while they are free of distractions from other commitments.

Research [4] has shown that 66% of people spend more than 8 hours a day at work. Breaks help workers to relax, boost creativity, and re-energize.

Therefore encourage your staff to take coffee breaks, go for strolls when they feel overwhelmed, or do a quick 10-minute workout to relax.

#4 Find Other Ways to Complete Tasks

Staff may feel obligated to tackle all the available tasks to please their bosses.  Regardless, you must treat every team member equally to avoid favoritism.

You and your team should find more efficient ways to clear pending piles of work.

A good way to do that is to run a brainstorming session [5] where you can listen to ideas on how to improve processes and complete the work faster.

Simpler methods can help to clear piles of work to avoid an increase in workload.

#5 Eliminate Technology Issues

Make sure your technology stack is up to the task. Lots of office stress originates from not having the right technology and software to complete tasks efficiently.

While business professionals tend to opt for Apple computers, not everyone has the chance to use them. If your team works with Windows 10, but their PCs are slower, it will be a headache for personnel.

Luckily, you can give them a bit more processing power or RAM to work better and increase your team’s productivity: the more tasks a person needs to complete, the more reliable and faster the computer needed. If additional RAM doesn’t help, identify the reason behind the sluggish workstation and speed them up [6].

Another tech-related issue that’s quite common is that your personnel may lack the technical knowledge to handle certain tasks and can end up holding back workload.

This lack of technical knowledge happens when you adopt new tech/software without proper onboarding and training.

Provide your workers with training materials, guidelines, and tutorials to help them to master technological equipment and applications.

Make Your Work Environment Stress Free

Heavy workload is daunting to team members and can lead to stress, which has many negative repercussions. Therefore, you should ensure any increase in workload that might bring tension to team members is solved as soon as possible.

And by reducing tension, you will ensure that your business meets its goals [7], expectations, and targets.

If there is tension in your office associated with workload increase, use the methods discussed above to reduce it.


Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate techie. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie devours the news on the latest gadgets and binge-watches his favorite TV shows. Follow him on @bmorepeters


Reference list

[1] https://www.stress.org/workplace-stress/

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/hbsworkingknowledge/2015/01/26/workplace-stress-responsible-for-up-to-190-billion-in-annual-u-s-heathcare-costs/#28a85b21235a

[3] https://www.benenden.co.uk/be-healthy/work/how-to-help-manage-employee-workload-stress/

[4] https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/atus.pdf

[5] https://olindaservices.com/team-building/

[6] https://www.solvusoft.com/blog/how-to-speed-up-windows-10/

[7] https://olindaservices.com/set-clear-goals-better-results/