Uh-oh! Could you be accidentally giving your employees too much to do? Look for these signs to find out.
You’re a new manager who’s trying your best to do well in your new job. In your quest to prove that you can handle people management responsibilities and achieve your department’s objectives, could you be accidentally overworking your team? Here are seven signs:
Attitude changes. Do you notice any previously positive or happy employees who are now showing signs of negative attitudes or general “crankiness” at work? Have there been any angry outbursts among your team members? It might be due to stress from being overworked.
Avoidance. Some people are conflict averse and don’t feel comfortable telling their manager they’re too busy to take on additional projects or tasks. These employees may attempt to avoid you, thinking that if you don’t see them much, you won’t give them any more assignments.
Higher than normal working hours. It’s fairly typical for salaried employees to work more than 40 hours a week, sometimes up to about 50 hours. A Stanford study by John Pencavel has shown that employee productivity reaches a maximum at about 49 hours, and then drops off significantly. Long hours at the office can lead to job burnout, so find out how many hours a week each of your employees works.
Decreasing engagement. Decreasing engagement scores can be a telltale sign of unhappy employees and a warning that they’re feeling overworked. Get to the bottom of all low and decreasing scores to determine the root cause.
Increasing absenteeism. Overworked employees may request higher than normal numbers of sick days, because long hours of work can cause health issues, according to the CDC.
Unused vacation days. When feeling overburdened, employees may skip taking some of their vacation days. Analyze whether this is happening with any of your team members.
Increasing turnover. Managers who overwork employees almost always have higher than normal employee turnover. Which makes sense — burned out employees are usually not happy employees, so they seek out other jobs.
As a people manager, you’ll need to walk a fine line between providing enough work (and the right kind of work) for your employees to feel challenged while, at the same time, avoiding overloading employees with too many projects or tasks.
Be on the lookout for signs that someone in your department has gone past the point of being motivated and is feeling overwhelmed. Not everyone feels comfortable telling his or her boss when this happens. Sometimes it’s up to the manager to see the signs and make adjustments to the workload.