Helping Your Team Manage Their Workload

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How can you help your team members manage what they consider to be a heavy workload? With people feeling stressed from the pandemic and companies struggling to hire workers, it’s likely that at least some of your employees are feeling burned out. While mental health care and time off are always important, there are other small – but impactful – actions you can take to set your team up for success.

We often hear that managing email is one of the biggest challenges for employees. Consider using some alternatives to email if you’re not already doing so. Channels like Slack and Microsoft Teams make it easy for co-workers to stay connected throughout the day without having to manage an inbox. Of course, many of us are familiar with file sharing via tools like SharePoint, Google docs, and Teams. Are you using these systems to their full capacity? The next time you’re getting ready to email a document internally, think about whether you could just send a link via a Teams chat!

When you absolutely must use email to communicate, think about establishing rules and guidelines for how, when, and with whom your teams will communicate. For example, not every email needs a “thank you” response. You can also review and clean up your distribution lists and automated email notifications. How many recipients really need to be included in each notification? Do you even need to send an email at all, or could you communicate via chat or even a phone call?

In addition to managing how email is used, you can provide some education for your employees on how to manage their inboxes. Don’t assume that everyone knows how to set up folders or create rules. Here at The O’Connor Group, we hosted a “lunch and learn” meeting for our team to share some tips on managing email. Everyone who participated came away with at least one thing they were going to do differently. Employees can create their own email rules, such as routing every email from a certain sender to a designated folder, creating “follow up” and “waiting on response” folders, or sending all “cc” emails to a certain folder. You can also teach your team best practices like only reading email at designated times, instead of all day as they come in. Set the example that it’s ok to block time for tasks like this.

Speaking of blocking time, have you heard of “no meeting Mondays”? It doesn’t have to be Mondays, but the idea is to designate one day – or even part of one day – per week during which there will be no meetings scheduled. This will allow you and your team some uninterrupted time to get work done. As we know, this is sometimes challenging when it feels like you’re going from one Zoom meeting to another all day!

These are just a few of our suggestions and best practices. Try implementing them in your organization and see if it helps relieve some everyday stress from your employees!