Workload Balance: How Balancing Increases Efficiency and Keeps Employees Happy
July 15, 2022
According to a Deloitte survey, over 77% of American workers report feeling burned out at their current job at least once. As more and more people leave their jobs during the Great Resignation, workload balance needs to be a priority to prevent your employees from burning out and leaving your company.
In the transportation industry, driver shortages are starting to become a big problem. In the U.S., the number of truck drivers has dropped from 465,000 people at the start of 2020 to 430,000 in 2022.
“The driver shortage in the US is getting worse; it is as bad as it has ever been,” says Bob Costello, chief economist at American Trucking Associations.
Skip to the section you’re most interested in:
- What Is Workload Balance?
- What Happens When Employees Have A Balanced Workload?
- What Happens When Employee Workload Is Not Balanced?
- How To Manage Your Team’s Workload Effectively and Fairly
- Workload Management for Employees
- Workload Balancing for Delivery and Transportation
- What OptimoRoute Does for Driver Workload Management
- FAQs About Workload Balance
What Is Workload Balance?
Workload balance refers to distributing your workload evenly across employees. The goal is to reduce stress in the workplace, eliminate burnout, and improve productivity to get more things done. Workload balance also contributes to creating a better work-life balance for your employees so that work doesn’t consume their lives.
What Happens When Employees Have a Balanced Workload?
Workload balance needs to be a top priority for all managers to engage employees, regardless of the industry. The benefits of having a balanced workload include:
Improved employee health
When your employees have a balanced workload, they have less stress, which results in fewer health problems. According to The Lancet’s research, employees who work 55 hours or more per week have a 1.3 times higher risk to experience a stroke than those who work 40 hours a week or less.
Attract more talent
A company that values work-life balance has a broader talent pool to choose from. According to LinkedIn research, 63% of workers have work-life balance as a top priority during their job search. The same study also discovered that employees are 3.7X more likely to recommend working for a company that values work-life balance.
Increased employee productivity
Contrary to popular belief, working more hours doesn’t necessarily mean more productivity. In fact, employees with a balanced workload are more productive and perform better. Research by Gartner shows that 43% of workers believe that having more flexibility in their working hours made them more productive.
What Happens When Employee Workload Is Not Balanced?
On the other hand, a poorly balanced workload can harm your team’s morale and performance. Here’s why.
When employees have more work than they can handle, their productivity takes a hit. Burned-out employees are 13% less likely to feel confident about their performance at work.
Higher employee turnover
A poor workload balance can make it more challenging to retain your existing employees. Employees experiencing burnout are 2.6 times more likely to look for another opportunity at a different company.
It’s worth noting that replacing an employee is expensive and costs U.S. businesses a trillion dollars each year in advertising, hiring, and training costs. So it’s in your best interest to retain as many employees as possible to not lose too much money on replacement costs.
Less healthy employees
A poorly balanced workload doesn’t just negatively affect employee performance and turnover. It can also harm the physical and mental health of your workforce. Employees who feel burned out are 63% more likely to take a sick day than those with a more balanced workload.
According to a survey by the Great Canyon University (GCU), poor work-life balance also negatively affects the self-care habits of 39% of workers and the emotional health of 38% of workers.
How to Manage Your Team’s Workload Effectively and Fairly
There are many ways to ensure that your employees get the balanced workload they deserve. The best practices to manage your team’s workload effectively include:
You can use software to automate processes and improve workload balance. Automation achieves this by distributing schedules in a way that is truly even-handed, not just what “feels” even to a manager. For example, OptimoRoute’s automation platform comes with workload balancing to properly distribute the working hours or number of orders per driver.
For better workload management, it’s important to assign tasks to the right employee with the right qualifications and skill sets. It ensures that you’re not overloading your employees with work they’re not equipped to handle.
“How well you delegate is directly reflected in how empowered your employees feel, which strengthens their skills, their decision-making abilities and, ultimately, their productivity,” says Alfredo Atanacio, founder at UassistME.CO, in an article for Forbes. “The result is a win for the employee and for your business.”
It’s all about saving time for the whole team. For example, if it takes one person an hour to do something another person can do in 20 minutes, then delegating the task to the latter person will improve your productivity.
Make sure to discuss the workload and communicate with employees to keep a finger on the pulse of the workforce. When you frequently communicate with employees about their workload, you can collect feedback on tasks that are taking up too much of their time, learn which tasks they’d instead handle, and quickly identify any employee on the verge of burnout.
To collect your team’s feedback on their workload, set up 1×1 check-in meetings every two weeks with each of your employees. If one of your employees indicates having too much work or is working on tasks that don’t align with their role, find a way to delegate the job to someone else.
To maximize productivity in the workplace and better manage your team’s workload, identify parts of the job that aren’t necessary for employees and eliminate them. That way, employees will have more space in their workload to focus on critical tasks.
Workload Management for Employees
Aside from managers, there are also tactics that employees can use to prevent themselves from burning out because of too much work. Here’s what employees can do on their end to better manage their fleet’s workload.
Prioritize difficult tasks
To improve productivity, employees should first tackle the most challenging tasks in their work. This is because most people will feel less motivated and have less energy at the end of the day than at the beginning. When you focus on prioritizing the most challenging tasks first, you’re completing them at your highest energy levels.
Know your limits
Employees must know when they have too much work on their hands or when they work more efficiently and capitalize. As a result, when employees know their limits, they’ll reduce their chances of burnout.
For example, there are hours-of-service regulations on how many hours truck drivers can work in the transportation industry. Therefore, truck drivers must know their rights and let their managers know if they’re working more hours than they legally should be.
Ask for what you need
Employees shouldn’t be afraid to discuss their workload struggles with management. If you don’t express what you need from management, your company won’t know what it can do to better support you or adapt your workload to your needs.
A survey from UKF found that 92% of employees that feel highly engaged say they feel heard by their company compared to 30% of disengaged employees. Further, 74% of participants from the study believe that feeling heard makes them feel more effective at their job.
Workload Balancing for Delivery and Transportation
Managing the workload of truck drivers is a significant challenge for many transportation companies.
For example, many trucking companies are dependent on manually planned routes. However, these routes are often inefficient and full of errors, making drivers spend unnecessary working hours getting to their destination. As a result, these manually planned routes create more work for your truck drivers.
Another issue trucking companies face is the inability to plan weekly schedules without considering potential constraints that could get in the way of delivery and deadlines. These constraints include time windows (e.g., a client is only available to receive the package between 10:00 am – 12:00 pm) or open days.
What OptimoRoute Does for Driver Workload Management
OptimoRoute’s driver workload management feature enables fleet managers to balance workload between drivers in one platform automatically. The software helps you identify the quickest routes within minutes, which reduces the number of working hours/workload of your drivers and makes deliveries to clients more efficient.
OptimoRoute can fully automate your weekly scheduling by considering factors such as customer time windows and last-minute staff unavailability to better manage your workload. OptimoRoute also allows you to adjust:
- What drivers you want to include in the route planning
- Numbers of orders delegated to each driver
- Which vehicle they’re driving
OptimoRoute comes with the option of time-tracking to monitor how long the trips of your drivers are so you can pay them accordingly. You can get started with OptimoRoute with no installation or credit card by signing up for our free trial today.
What are the benefits of a balanced workload?
The main benefits of a balanced workload include increased job satisfaction, better retention in the workplace, and improved workplace performance. You also contribute to creating a better company culture that values the well-being of your team members.
How do you make your workload more manageable?
You can use automation software (such as OptimoRoute) to get a complete view of each employee’s work day and how you’re spreading out tasks between employees. Automation software also helps you monitor how many hours your employees work each week and adjust your team’s workload for better allocation.
How does workload affect performance?
A heavy workload can lead to employee burnout, dissatisfaction, and less productivity within your company. The excessive bandwidth can also lead to employees quitting their jobs and looking for different opportunities at other companies.
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