The Ultimate Guide to Workload Management
Looking to make workload management more simple?
Workload management is the super glue that holds your business processes together.
your pile of paperwork would feel as tall as Mount Everest,
your management team would be rushing in and out of a marathon of meetings,
and your employees’ task list would be as endless as their social media feed!
But what is workload management exactly?
In this article, we’ll discuss what it is, how it works, and the best workload management tool to help you implement it.
- What Is Workload Management?
- Why Do You Need a Workload Management System?
- 5 Steps to Easy Workload Management
- Go Beyond Workload Management with ClickUp
Let’s get started.
What Is Workload Management?
Workload management is exactly what it sounds like.
It’s the process of distributing and managing your team’s work efficiently in order to maximize productivity.
It might be a simple idea, but don’t be fooled.
If followed incorrectly, it can even increase an existing workload:
I know, right?!
But don’t worry!
When you handle team workload management correctly, a few wonderful things happen:
- you’ll see increased teamwork and collaboration within your organization
- your team members deliver high-quality work way before their due dates
- every employee in your team is satisfied with their job and responsibilities
Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?
Now, let’s look at how you can bring effective workload management into the real world.
Why Do You Need a Workload Management System?
Sure, it’s easy to distribute and assign tasks to one employee.
But imagine managing individual workloads for all of your team members in the organization.
That’s where a workload management tool comes in.
It lets you see everything that’s going on within the company, but that’s not all it does.
Here are a few more reasons why it’s essential:
- Ensure that no project resource (software, time, employee skills) goes to waste
- Get a crystal clear view of how your project is progressing
- See which business process is slowing down your work
- Be informed of due dates and project budgets
- Close communication gaps between different departments
To sum it all up, a work management tool unites your team members onto one platform to make managing things far easier.
Now that you know what tool you need, let’s look at the steps you need to take to easily manage your team’s workload:
5 Steps to Easy Workload Management
Workload planning is a bit like planting like ‘magic beans’ within your organization.
Let us explain:
At first, you might be met with a little resistance.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to streamline the workload allocation process:
1. Introduce your team to a single workload management software
Different teams within your organization might be using an entirely different set of work tools.
This makes assigning a specific task or project to team members harder than it needs to be.
Additionally, all your company data will be scattered across tons of apps, or worse: lost in a sea of email chains.
So before you begin, onboard all your teams onto a single work OS (operating system).
It will act as a data center for all your business processes, and as a one-stop tool to manage your employee workload.
Tools like ClickUp make the onboarding process run as smoothly as a Kenny-G sax solo!
It’s super easy to navigate through tasks and multiple projects in ClickUp.
And the best part is that there’s no learning curve.
Check out the quick-start guide to manage your team’s workload in no time!
No problem, ClickUp lets you import data from any tool in just a minute!
2. Understand your team capacity
Understanding team capacity is the foundation for effective workload management.
Without this step, workload planning would be as painful as stepping on your kid’s Legos!
Let’s take a look at how you can set up a workload management system for your team:
A. Lay down a task list for every project
Start by listing all of the business processes that your team deals with on any given project.
Then break them down by creating manageable tasks.
If a task seems complicated, break them into smaller subtasks like so:
Make sure you list down all tasks, no matter how trivial.
This can include admin tasks like inbox management, documenting processes, and even going on a daily coffee run!
Adding these tasks reveal your actual workload.
Finally, organize the cluster of tasks into different task lists according to the project or department.
B. Make estimations
Workload management does not mean distributing an equal number of tasks to each employee. Each individual has a different working style and skills where some can juggle multiple technical tasks, and some cannot.
You now need to figure out each team member’s workload capacity.
So what’s the best way to do this?
It’s simple: With a crystal ball!
Just get one from your local flea market, get a nice dark room, burn some incense and fire it up!
We’re joking, of course.
You’re free to take the crystal ball route, we’re just not sure about the results.
The real best way to do this is by simply asking your employees for their input.
Ask each team member privately how they feel about their individual workloads. Write down what’s on their plate, and whether they can handle more or fewer tasks.
This way, you’ll know if your team members have an overwhelming workload, and you can redistribute the work when needed.
But that’s not the only thing you need to estimate:
You need to figure out how much time each task should ideally take.
This can be done in two ways:
- By using a time tracking tool
- By estimating the runtime of each task based on previous experiences
In ClickUp, you can add a time estimate to each task, so you can better predict when your team will be able to deliver the work.
Bonus tip: ClickUp’s Chrome extension helps you track time spent on each task, so you can check if the time estimate is accurate. Additionally, you can use time tracking tools like Time Doctor, Everhour, and Hubstaff within ClickUp.
C. Focus on prioritization
Not all tasks were created equal.
And while we know how inviting their lattes are, a trip to Starbucks isn’t as important as finishing up the edits on a post.
That’s why you need to learn how to prioritize.
Identify what tasks or deliverables need to be done ASAP.
In ClickUp, you can set a Priority for every important task ranging from Urgent to Low.
This way, your team will have a clear idea of what to prioritize at the moment and complete those tasks quickly.
3. Begin resource allocation
After you’ve finished workload planning, it’s time to distribute the work, right?
But wait…not so fast.
There is something you need to do before you assign tasks:
A. Practice smart workload distribution
The key to intelligent workload management is assigning the right tasks to the right people.
Ensure that you know each team member’s skill sets, temperament, and strengths before the job scheduling begins.
You wouldn’t ask Hulk to craft you an origami swan, right?
You need to match the task requirements to your team member’s strengths. The more comfortable they are with the task, the higher their productivity will be.
It’s that simple!
Bonus Tip: While assigning work to a team member, let them know why they received a specific task. This makes their work more meaningful and engaging.
B. Assign tasks efficiently
The first thing you need to do is to assign priority tasks first to all relevant team members. Once that’s taken care of, you can assign the rest (don’t worry, you’ll get to go on your Starbucks run…eventually).
After distributing the tasks, set the start dates and due dates for each team member. However, remember to manage deadlines to prevent scheduling conflicts.
How do you do that?
You can visualize your team member’s tasks through the Timeline View. This way, you can balance everyone’s start and due dates, all from a single project timeline, just like this:
4. Improve team collaboration and communication
While we might have forgotten how to solve our 8th-grade calculus papers, here’s a formula you must commit to memory:
Workload management = Stress management
The less the stress we face, the more manageable our workload becomes.
So what’s the biggest source of workplace stress?
Broken coffee machines.
Well, that and a lack of communication and collaboration.
Luckily, there are two ways you can solve this problem:
A. Check in regularly
Your team members might still be stressed out occasionally, even if you have a good workload management plan.
So how do you ease their workload?
Consider having regular one-on-one meetings with your team members, discussing their individual workloads.
If an employee does feel overloaded, see which team member has the bandwidth to handle additional work.
B. Make it easier for team members to collaborate
There’s nothing more annoying than sending an important message to your team member, and not hearing from them for hours, right?
I mean what part of “Where’s my latte?” did they not get?!
Jokes aside, unattended messages slow down your progress, making it difficult for you to manage your existing workload.
Project management software like ClickUp, allows you to leave a comment on every task. Your team members are notified instantly, so they can’t make up any excuses!
And if you want to your team member to do something urgently, you can always convert your comment into a task and assign it to them directly, like this:
Your team member would be notified, and the comment would pop up in their task list. Once they’re done, they can click the ‘Resolve’ checkbox to complete the task.
5. Increase team efficiency to cope with a heavy workload
There will come a time during a project life cycle when your team will have to deal with a heavy workload.
But don’t worry, we have solutions that can fix this problem before it happens:
A. Consider automation for repetitive tasks
Fortunately, workload automation tools like ClickUp can automate the bulk of the task management processes.
You can choose from a list of 50+ in-built Automations or just create your own.
Here’s an example of one such workload automation solution:
Whenever a task is given an ‘Urgent’ priority, then the task changes to ‘Open’ automatically.
It’s that easy to manage an excessive workload!
Note: We still haven’t found a way to automatically fetch you your chosen beverage, but we’re working on it 😉
B. Use a Kanban board to streamline the workflow
A Kanban Board is a compact, yet powerful tool to ensure that your business processes are running smoothly.
How does it work?
Your team can then drag and drop tasks into relevant status columns as they progress, like this:
This way, your entire team can see the project’s progress in real-time.
But that’s not all:
The project manager can also identify which tasks are stagnant on the Kanban board, which indicates bottlenecks in the process. They can then allocate a resource (team member) to help them resolve the task.
C. Track your team’s work performance with Dashboards
Now that you’ve set up an effective workload management system, there’s only one thing left to do: track your team’s performance.
And to do that, all you need are ClickUp’s Dashboards.
Your ClickUp Dashboard can serve as your mission control center where you can monitor and track how well your team is coping with the workload.
You can populate each Dashboard with tons of Custom Widgets such as a line chart, pie chart, bar chart and so on, with each one measuring your own metric of choice!
However, that isn’t all.
You also get access to tons of task reporting widgets for detailed insights on how your team is dealing with task management.
For example, you can use:
Velocity Charts: to determine the completion rate for a set of tasks and better estimate your team’s actual workload capacity.
Cumulative Flow Charts: to check how well your project is progressing and identify bottlenecks that could have resulted from poor workload allocation.
Another great way to monitor your team’s workload allocation is by using the Box View.
It visualizes what an employee is working on as well as their current work capacity. You can easily identify who’s overworked and assign tasks to those who can take up more work.
Go Beyond Workload Management with ClickUp
While managing workload is a critical business process, you’ll also have to focus on other crucial operations within your organization.
Luckily, the ClickUp task management tool can guide you every step of the way. Here are a few more features that can make your (work) life much easier:
- Goals: set and track business goals, objectives and OKRs
- Flexible Views: visualize tasks in a task list, Kanban board, or in a Timeline View
- Agile Dashboards: visualize important Agile and Scrum metrics and graphs like Velocity Charts, Burndown Charts, Burn-up Charts, and more.
- Gantt View: visualize task dependencies in an interactive Gantt chart
- Mobile app: a powerful task management app for Android and iOS
- Native Integrations: connect with work tools like Evernote, Google Docs, and Zoom
Note: With ClickUp’s free plan you get unlimited users and unlimited projects and with the paid plan, you get unlimited storage and unlimited integrations too!.
Workload management is like a first-aid kit for your organization.
It’s a great way to safeguard your team’s well-being when they’re dealing with a heavy workload. Not only that, it gives them an instant productivity boost too!
However, manually managing workloads is a hard pill to swallow.
You need a dedicated workload management tool to do all the heavy lifting like workload distribution, tracking team progress, creating reports, and more.
Fortunately, tools like ClickUp have tons of features like the Workload View, Comments, and Reports that make this process go down smoothly.
So sign up for ClickUp, and diagnose and fix your productivity issues today!