A Complete Guide to Managing a Workload (With How-to Guide)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated September 3, 2022

Published May 8, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you want to distribute tasks effectively, you may wonder about managing workloads. This management process requires reflection into current team member capacity, along with your expectations. By knowing how to manage workloads efficiently, you can improve the wellbeing of team members and experience more productivity. In this article, we discuss the benefits of workload management, provide you with a guide for using workload management, and answer several frequently asked questions about workload management.

What are the benefits of managing a workload?

Managing a workload refers to the process of managing the workloads of teams and distributing tasks effectively. Managing workloads effectively allows you to maximize the performance of team members, which increases wellbeing and promotes overall satisfaction. Here's a list of the benefits of workload management:

  • Increased productivity: You can increase the productivity of teams by helping to ensure that team members receive workloads that prevent them from feeling overwhelmed. Workload management also requires professionals to consider how they can assign tasks to those with the qualifications to complete those tasks.

  • Improved wellbeing: You can improve the overall wellbeing of team members by helping them manage their workload.

  • Improved teamwork: You can improve the teamwork of professionals by encouraging them to work together, collaborate, and experience more friendships.

How to use workload management

Here's a guide to help you develop strong workload management:

1. Determine the team's capacity

The first step toward successful workload management is discovering whether team members have the capacity to accomplish their tasks and current workload. Team members typically work with multiple projects, along with multiple plans and tools, and it's beneficial to review whether they feel overwhelmed. When trying to determine the capacity of the team, you can first review the team's milestones to determine the guidelines and review both the deadlines for projects and the duration of tasks.

It's also beneficial to review the priority and urgency of work. This helps you determine whether you can extend some projects to reduce the workload of team members.

Related: Self-Management Skills (Definition and Tips Included)

2. Assign resources

Assigning resources refers to the way you assign tasks and budgets to team members. You can assign the most difficult tasks first to help ensure that team members have the time to complete those tasks. You can use digital calendars and to mark deadlines where all team members can see them. To assign resources properly, it's beneficial to develop an understanding of all team members' skills and capabilities. You can do this by implementing team-building activities that help you develop relationships with team members.

For example, you can prioritize collective work breaks that allow you to discuss the talents and temperament of team members. You can assign tasks that require creativity to team members who display in this characteristic. You may also want to discuss the reason for assigning particular tasks to team members. This helps you determine whether team members have the capacity to complete tasks and helps you obtain a better understanding of whether you're considering resources properly.

Related: What Is Management? The Definition, Functions, and Levels

3. Follow-up regularly

When projects progress, it's beneficial to follow-up with team members regularly to review how they manage their workloads. This helps you determine whether you can reassign tasks and whether team members are happy with their workload. If you want to develop an understanding of the entire team's workload, you can also request a meeting or send an anonymous survey that allows your team to speak freely.

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4. Enhance strategies and tools

You can improve overall workload management by revising your strategies, like team meetings. You can reduce the number of team meetings to lower the expectations of team members and to improve their time management. A lower number of team meetings provide them with more time to complete projects and tasks.

You can evaluate the time and work management methods used by different team members to determine how to enhance them. You can implement models like the 80/20 model, which requires approximately 80% of an employee's time to work toward project development, and 20% to work toward administrative tasks.

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5. Use work management tools

You can use work management tools that are either analog or digital. Analog management tools refer to physical tools like flip boards and white boards. Digital tools typically refer to tools like computer systems and applications. The primary advantage of using digital tools is the consolidation of information. This allows you to make information accessible to all team members.

6. Improve efficiency

It's beneficial for you to improve the efficiency of teams when your teams have heavy workloads. To do this, you can provide team members with ideas for time management strategies that coincide with the individual styles of team members. You may also want to explain why having an organized work plan can save time.

7. Reflect on upcoming projects

You may want to consider reflecting upon future projects when you assign tasks and evaluate workloads. When doing so, it's beneficial to determine the resources required for the projects. Analyze the current capacity of team members and determine whether they have the ability to complete future tasks while maintaining their overall wellbeing.

8. Optimize time

You can optimize time by encouraging fewer hours unless required. This helps team members optimize their time and maintain high quality. You can also optimize time by creating a to-do list for work shifts. This helps team members prepare for their workload and provides them with information about which tasks they may want to accomplish first. You can develop individual to-do lists for team members and group lists for whole teams.

9. Acknowledge time limits

You benefit from the acknowledgement of time limits as team members can complete goals depending on their individual capacity. To do this, consider how long specific tasks take to complete and how many team members you want to work on those tasks. When you acknowledge time limits, you prevent team members from completing large projects in unrealistic timeframes. You can reduce the time required for individual team members by assigning multiple team members to tasks.

10. Avoid multitasking

A primary component of managing workloads more effectively is to encourage team members to avoid multitasking. This helps them maintain attention and focus on individual tasks. This increases the quality of work produced, along with the efficiency of work, and improves overall wellbeing by reducing stress.

11. Promote effective communication

You can improve workload management by also improving the communication of team members and the communication between departments and teams. To do this, you may want to consider whether you provide team members with clear guidelines. You can also provide team members with the opportunity to ask you questions, which allows you to determine whether they require additional clarification. Having effective communication also allows you to better understand when team members require help with their tasks and when they feel overwhelmed.

The communication of an organization affects workload management because teams who understand their workload can complete tasks with more ease. They also feel more comfortable asking their supervisors and team leaders questions about their workload.

Frequently asked questions about workload management

Here's a list of answers to frequently asked questions about workload management:

What's the difference between an effective and efficient team?

Teams who work efficiently use fewer resources and require less time to complete tasks. This reduces the overall costs of projects because teams complete tasks more quickly. Effective teams are those who produce high-quality results and who promote the consistency of goals and objectives.

How do the expectations of team members impact workload management?

Team leaders impact workload management by setting specific expectations for both teams and team members. This is because team leaders who have realistic expectations of their team members can provide team members with workloads that are easier to manage. Alternatively, team leaders who have unrealistic expectations can provide team members with workloads that are difficult to manage, which has an impact on the team member's overall productivity.

How does organization impact workload management?

Teams can improve their workload management through strong organizational skills because they have a consistent understanding of their workload and the importance of tasks. Planning helps team members schedule their tasks and meetings, which provides them with an overall understanding of their time restrictions and the time they have available to complete tasks. Team leaders who show strong organizational skills also maintain detailed records of team progress and paperwork, which helps improve the management of workloads because all information is easily accessible.

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