How to Tell if Your Team is Overworked (And What to Do About it)

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A good manager will not purposely force the employees to work more than they are able to. Instead, they will motivate them to fulfill their full potential. However, due to the lack of communication and other factors, the motivation you give to your employees can turn into pushing too hard, which leads them to burn out and perform poorer than they used to. This could be a more common situation than you think. 

A Gallup study found that more than 20% of personnel feel burned out very often or always, while more than 40% experience burnout sometimes. For many workers, it has become a regular part of the job. This is harmful, not only for them but also for the company. So, let’s see if your team is experiencing the same problems and how to address them.

They’ve been missing more work than usually

Have you noticed that members of your team are absent from work more than normal? This could be a strong suggestion your employees are burned out. Absenteeism may suggest that they are feeling the consequences of working too hard physically and mentally. Also, it could be a sign that they do not feel appreciated enough, so they don’t even bother to come anymore. In both cases, quitting could be just a step away.

They are consistently underperforming

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One bad day is not a reason to be concerned. However, if your employees are consistently performing poorly, that should raise some eyebrows. It is important to identify what’s causing this underperformance. It can be stress, taking on too many tasks from coworkers, or simply a lack of motivation. The solution will depend on the cause.

There is more tension in the office 

Workers may be more tense or even hostile because of issues in their private lives, but this kind of behavior can also be linked with job stress. Increased friction among employees can indicate that they are overworked. You will notice this by frequent arguments at the office. Some employees might even snap at the customers. These kinds of situations should be viewed as warning signs. 

A lot of new faces at the office

High employee turnover is definitely something to be concerned about. If you are constantly seeing new people at the office, this may suggest that “the old ones” were too tired to continue working and that they didn’t feel appreciated in your house.

So, what can you do?

Delegate and empower

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When employees need to check every tiny decision with the manager, it’s only natural they will feel undervalued. Training them to perform their tasks independently and empowering them to solve problems will boost their self-esteem and consequently, motivate them to put in their best work.

Invest in them

Encouraging words are nice, but your employees want to see tangible evidence showing that you care about them. The evidence can come in the form of a raise, but this is just a temporary solution. You should provide the opportunity for professional growth by investing in their training. Also, investing in new equipment is likely to be a smart decision on more than one level, as it can help them be more successful at performing their tasks. Ultimately, this kind of approach will aid you in expanding your business further. 

Celebrate their excellence

When the office morale is low, people tend to see everything negatively. Openly praising team members for outstanding work can make them feel appreciated. On the other hand, this can motivate the employees who have performed poorly to work harder because they will know it means something.

Recognize their differences

Treating everyone the same sounds great in theory, but can it actually work in the modern-day work environment? Of course not. 

Your team is made of individuals, and each of them has a slightly different approach to work and a different perspective. Get to know them and see what makes them click.

Handle stress on-site

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Work stress is not something that can be entirely avoided. You need to accept the possibility of stressful situations and find ways to address them as they happen. Take it from the big companies that have special hubs where employees can relax, whether through silence and meditation or through fun and games. Also, you can organize workshops that teach time management and stress-reduction skills.

Make self-care a top priority

Many companies fail to see the advantages of cultivating a culture of self-care. Implementing it into your workplace will not only show the employees you care (which is a huge motivating factor in itself), but also help them perform better as a result of improved wellbeing. For example, if they are feeling mentally exhausted, you should encourage them to take the day off. Reassure them that it’s okay to take time for themselves and ask how you can help.

Final thoughts

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It’s high time we leave behind the culture of praising employees for coming to work early, staying late, or taking on an overwhelming workload. It only means that you are viewing your team as an expendable good – which can function great for a certain period, but definitely won’t work in the long run. Instead, identify whether your employees are overworked and follow the tips above to create a happier and better-performing team.

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