Workers Have Too Much To Do, Survey Shows

Compiled By Tonya Vinas Yes, your boss does know what you're going through. A recent survey of 150 U.S. executives shows seven in 10 believe employee workload is too heavy. The survey, conducted by staffing service OfficeTeam, Menlo Park, Calif., asked executives: Would you say the average employee has too much to do or too little to do in his or her job? Ten percent of respondents said workload is "significantly too much"; 60% said "somewhat too much"; 20% said "just enough"; 7% said "somewhat too little"; and 3% didn't know. "Many people are more productive when they're juggling multiple tasks, but the amount of work should be within reason," says Liz Hughes, executive director of OfficeTeam. "Project loads that are consistently unmanageable can lead to burnout and the associated problems of reduced morale, high turnover, and increased hiring and training costs for businesses." Hughes says the best managers do more than acknowledge a too-heavy workload; they offer solutions. She suggests:

  • Talking to staff members about their view of responsibilities. Their views may differ from yours.
  • Asking for activities reports. Review each employee's activities to determine which projects are taking the most time. Make sure the most critical initiatives are getting the majority of resources.
  • Rewarding smart work habits. Clarify expectations with employees and take steps to recognize teamwork, innovative ideas and problem-solving skills.
  • Keeping your door open. Maintain an environment in which employees are not afraid to ask for help when workloads become too heavy. Be willing to reallocate resources as needed.
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