Workload Management

Welcome to the next blog in our series on the 13 Pillars of Psychological Health and Safety. In this session, we will address the pillar of “workload management” as part of our support for professional development and workplace wellness.

The Canadian National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety describes workload management as “A work environment where tasks and responsibilities can be accomplished successfully in the time available.”  The standard states this can be demonstrated with the following indicators:

  • The amount of work employees are expected to do is reasonable for their positions.
  • Employees can talk to their supervisors about the amount of work they have to do.
  • Employees have the equipment and resources needed to do their jobs well.
  • Employees’ work is free from unnecessary interruptions and disruptions.

It can be very challenging for employers dealing with staff retention and recruiting difficulties to avoid adding additional tasks to the remaining and ongoing employees. The result can be further employee loss and increased absenteeism as workers struggle under the pressure of excessive workload and the impact this has on their health and wellbeing. The cycle can quickly spin out of control for those who are unaware of the impact workload is having on their employees.

Strategic employers look to other options to accomplish tasks while supporting their current staff team. Hiring temporary staffing or contracting out for the period of time while recruiting new staff is an ideal way to address the resource gap. Another recommendation: meet with the staff team regularly and revise their work priorities, identifying what tasks could be removed, and which can be delegated to temporary staffing or outsourced.

The transition to work from home or hybrid models of work has left many employers questioning if their employees are actually putting in the required number of hours at work. Research had indicated that, with a few exceptions, employees are putting in the same or slightly more hours of work when working from home or other remote locations. Most employees traded their commuting time for productive work time and have fewer interruptions during their work day when working from home. Employers can assess the productivity of their teams by examining the work output prior to 2020 compared to the current level. Anecdotal evidence suggests many employees work longer hours since their work and home life become intermixed. For instance, a planned 2 minute email check in the evening can turn into a multi hour work session.

Given the current recruiting challenges, it is in the organization’s best interest to maintain and foster a psychologically healthy work environment. The results are not only increased staff retention and reduced absenteeism, but also fewer errors and more creative approaches to challenges. Consider the well known adage the people don’t leave a job, they leave a boss. Supervisors who regularly check in on how their team manages their workload and plans for any needed resources or supports likely develop star players in their team. Employees are your organization’s ambassador and they will communicate about their workload will, intentionally or otherwise, to your customers and stakeholders, including potential new recruits. You want that message to be positive.

Book a confidential session with Community Healthcare Consulting to learn more about how to improve workload management to improve workplace stress and performance. We have the tools and resources to support you and your team to move ahead of the competition by improving productivity, team cohesion, and staff retention. We have a range of professional development programs designed to improve leadership and resiliency in your organization.  Email [email protected] to learn more or to book a session for your team.

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