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How to react when an employee reports excessive workload and we cannot increase the staff

 

“Boss, I’m not making it”, or how to react when an employee reports excessive workload and we do not have the opportunity to increase our staff? Maybe I will start in an extraordinary way, but when you hear such a message from an employee, it is good.

We live in times of overload in the broad sense – information, duties, advertisements, initiatives. And even as the world allegedly slows down, job overload can affect workers who are now working two jobs at the same time because their colleague has been fired. Either the company needs to reclassify immediately or change the production line. Such an excess of duties, especially lasting for a long time (e.g. a month and much longer), will ultimately result in a decrease in the employee’s efficiency, on his lack of job satisfaction, lack of motivation, and thus lowering the results achieved by the company. It is also a risky matter due to possible burnout, sick leave or even the employee’s departure from the company. What probably every rational boss in his team would like to avoid.

 

So why do I write that it is good when we hear from an employee the sentence: “Boss, I’m not doing it”?

 

Positive aspects of the situation

First, because the employee has the courage to say it. This is very important in normal human communication, as well as in further mentoring an employee in a given position. It is highly desirable that an employee be able to communicate honestly with his manager, rather than, for example, sharing issues on a forum in a corporate hallway or in the kitchen while having lunch with others.

 

Secondly, the boss should care that the employee does not regularly take his work home, does not start the computer at 23.00, working 10 or 11 hours a day for many weeks. If his position has been poorly planned and overloaded with duties – the superior should know about it right away to be able to intervene.

 

Third – and this is especially important for an employee – task overload can mean that he is doing things that are important to the organization and that his bosses trust him. If his person in the company was not needed, the number of tasks could be reduced to half-time or transferred to another person.

 

And finally, fourthly, such a message gives the supervisor a chance to take a closer look at the employee’s work, spend time with him observing the tasks being carried out, talking about priorities and finally – strengthening the interpersonal bond between them. If the employee receives support from his manager, and the situation is successfully resolved for both parties, it will build even greater trust between the parties, as well as increase the individual self-esteem of each of them.

 

Therefore, hearing from a subordinate the message: “Boss, I’m not making” should be treated primarily as an opportunity to talk and improve processes. And for the fact that the employee shared this opinion with the boss, you should also simply thank them in some situations, thus promoting open communication.

 

Examples of coping methods in controlling the situation

Now let’s get to the bottom of the aforementioned situation – that is, how to fix the problem. An employee may not get better, because he works too slowly, because he organizes his working day inadequately, because instead of starting the task, he analyzes its meaning endlessly, because he gossips, because he is distracted during the day, because he cannot prioritize … List of shortcomings after the side of the worker that can stand in the way of achieving the goal is practically endless. It is the same with the list of shortcomings that may be on the side of the entire organization (e.g. lack of work tools, constantly changing project guidelines) or the supervisor himself (e.g. unclear task communication, lack of availability to answer questions from the employee).

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