Manage your team’s workload as much as you can. When you can’t, manage your team.


As much as we try to manage team workloads and shift towards more long-term productive and sustainable ways of working, there are always going to be times when things get hectic.

This is natural and nothing to be afraid of or avoid because sometimes there’s just a whole heap of work that needs to get done in a short amount of time and there’s only so many people who can do it.

These periods can actually be a good thing for teams and individuals as they help to foster a sense of teamwork and camaraderie and push people outside their comfort zone which, as we all know, is where we grow.

The danger is if these periods are the norm and the sustainable periods few and far between (as is the case with far, far too many workplaces), which changes them from periods of pressure into periods of chronic stress.

This is a topic we speak about at length and will be delving into more in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for that.

For now, however, we’re going to look at some simple and practical ways you can help manage these high workload periods and get the best out of your team, without them burning out.


1. Align your people with your vision

The first step is to get your people on board and make them give a shit about what you’re trying to accomplish. People with a purpose tend to burn out far less than people without one, even when that purpose means a higher workload. Make sure your team knows and cares about what they’re working for and where all their effort is going and they’ll give you more of it.


2. Check in

Take the time to check in with your people on how they’re doing, not just what they’re doing. Having open and honest communication channels with your team, and letting them know that what they say matters and will be taken seriously, provides a level of psychological safety that can’t be matched. It allows your team to give more effort as they know you’ve got their backs when things get tough. It also keeps you informed at every step and allows you to be proactive about mitigating potential risks as soon as they appear.


3. Stop to sharpen the axe

One of the greatest productivity hacks is to stop, refresh, and recover. As any athlete knows, it’s in recovery that your performance and training gains are solidified and compounded, and what allows you to keep performing at a high level over time. This could be as simple as encouraging regular breaks, going for a walk as a team, taking 10 minutes to have a coffee with them or organising a group morning tea. Stopping to refresh replenishes energy and helps to regain focus so your team is working more efficiently i.e greater output for less effort, which is exactly what you want in periods of pressure.


4. Prioritise sleep

Quality sleep is a non-negotiable, so do not sacrifice sleep for a bit more work. The better rested you and the team are, the more efficient and focused you will all be (and the less bickering and sickness you will see). Sleep is a superpower. Make sure you use it.


5. Hydrate

For something so crucial to performance, hydration is so often overlooked. For myriad reasons, dehydration leads to higher levels of fatigue, decreased energy and loss of focus. Make sure everyone is drinking plenty of water and they’ll need less caffeine to achieve the same results. 


6. Celebrate and recognise

Celebrate the little wins and call people out for a job well done along the way, and especially once it’s all over. Your team is busting their arses for you and a little bit of recognition goes a very long way. How you respond to that effort could also be the difference between them feeling excited about the next high pressure period or dreading it.

There is nothing wrong with periods of high workload and pressure. They happen, they’re normal and they can be very beneficial, as long as they’re managed correctly.

So, the next time your team is under the pump, think of yourself as their support crew and give them the things they need to not only operate at their very best, but to feel good about it along the way.

For more info on how to manage high performing teams, send us an email at [email protected] or book in a free call here. 


What are you doing to help your team produce their best efforts?

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