Perhaps you put in many long hours of work each week and expect your employees to do the same. But how much is too much? If we constantly overload our employees, we risk burning them out. Short-term bursts of effort for a particular project are understandable, but if the pace continues and becomes the norm, people will start looking for other jobs. The result? You’ll end up even more short-handed.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to see whether you might be overloading your employees:
1. Do you contact employees at home outside business hours to ask the status of a project when it could wait until the next day?
2. Do you forbid employees to take downtime, such as Internet surfing, even during lunch or after hours?
3. Do you mentally penalize employees who leave at the close of business, even if their work is completed?
4. Do you forget to keep track of the projects you assign employees along with due dates, resulting in an uneven workload?
5. Do you refuse to perform menial tasks, even if everyone else is busy?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might be considered an overloader. The key to avoiding this behavior is flexibility. Effective managers understand that employees have a life outside of the company. If your group is consistently overextended, find out if you can borrow resources from another group or hire an intern. And if you need to step in on occasion to help with tasks you would normally delegate, do so. The more you can set a good example of having a healthy work-life balance, the happier everyone will be.