Maybe business is better than ever, and you have more clients than you know what to do with. Maybe business is worse than ever, and you’re forced to trim your staff to reduce expenses, forcing each of your employees to do the jobs of three people.
Whatever the case may be, from time to time every boss will have to deal with a situation where their employees have enormous workloads. They will also have to deal with the sour attitudes that generally come with them.
When your employees have a ton of work on their plates, one of these five tactics — or a combination thereof — should help keep them motivated.
1. Hire additional team members
There’s a good chance at least a chunk of your staff feels absolutely overwhelmed at work. According to our 2015 Employee Engagement Report, nearly 70% of workers believe they’re unable to get all of their work done each week.
If you have room in your budget, by all means hire additional employees when the work piles up. If you’re running into problems due to seasonality — like a rush of orders during the holidays — consider hiring some temporary employees to help you absorb the spike.
2. Let employees choose when and where they work
Your employees already have a ton of work on their plates. Don’t make their jobs any more difficult or time-consuming than they need to be. Rather than forcing your employees to work from the office between set hours, let them make their own schedules and work from wherever they want to work (within reason).
According to WNYC, the average US worker spends 25.4 minutes heading to work and another 25.4 minutes heading home at the end of the day. By letting your employees work from home — at least some of the time — you’re essentially giving them an extra hour of free time to enjoy each day. On top of that, when you allow workers to make their own schedules, it becomes much easier for them to take care of chores and errands at the most convenient times, reducing stress.
3. Give your staff the tools they need to succeed
Sometimes a small investment can make an enormous difference. If your team is struggling to get their work done, it may be time for you to reassess your technological infrastructure to see whether any changes can be made to make life easier.
For example, if you’ve not yet begun taking advantage of cloud computing, what are you waiting for? Similarly, you may find that investing in a collaboration platform or business messaging service can help your employees be more productive.
4. Recognize the hard work of your employees often
It’s one thing to work hard and have your work noticed and appreciated. It’s another thing to work hard and have your work taken for granted.
According to our engagement report, less than 33% of employees feel valued at work. Don’t be the boss who doesn’t recognize the hard work of their employees. It’s unfair, to say the least. So make employee recognition a top priority. Compliment your team for a job well done often.
5. Be approachable, patient, and understanding
When your employees are overworked, they are going to be stressed out. They’ll have a lot of complaints. But they’ll probably have a lot of ideas on how to make things better too.
You’d be wise to institute an open-door policy and encourage your employees to share their concerns and ideas with you. Try to put yourself in their shoes, and be patient and understanding in your responses. The last thing you want to do is to stress your employees out even more than they already are by being disrespectful or curt.
Have you ever had to motivate a team that was drowning in work? What tactics did you use? We’d love to hear them!