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Five tips to make employee workloads more manageable

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As organisations seek their employees’ commitment, people will naturally think less transactionally and more strategically about their jobs. The focus will be on the roles people play in how tasks get done (the input) and the value of that work, (the output). To help employees manage their workload, effective leadership is essential.

Unless senior managers actively embrace this agenda and empower HR to take these actions, it will not happen. And unless this result is measured and linked to management rewards, employees won’t believe it really matters to their boss.

With this in mind, here are five tips for making employee workloads more manageable:

1. Tackle burnout: If people are to thrive and maintain their wellbeing over longer working lives, then organisations must ensure their working practices and processes don’t wear employees out. Careers today are marathons, not sprints.

2. Build social resilience: People may think of loneliness and its effect on their productivity as something that happens outside work and within their own personal networks, but that’s not the case. Organisations can help prevent this isolation by ensuring their employees can not only disconnect from work more easily, but also have the opportunity to create connections on the job.

3. Encourage adaptability and agility. This can be done not just in a company, but across an entire jurisdiction: In Singapore, the government is leading the way by giving grants to workers to help them retrain throughout their working lives, not simply to help them gain new skills, but also to help them adjust their expectations of what a working life means.

4. Support “intrapreneurship”: More young people today want to run their own company than ever before, and older people are also switching to entrepreneurialism. Organisations that fail to create opportunities for “intrapreneurship,” that is, encouraging employees to develop new enterprises and commercially viable ideas within the company, risk losing their own workers’ innovative ideas.

5. Provide autonomy: Faced with a transforming working environment, employees value choices. Research on powerlessness by neuroscientists shows how it can result in a lack of wellbeing, thwart motivation and even damage cognition. A move toward a more autonomous and empowered work culture can help employees feel more satisfied and lead to stronger job performance and greater commitment to the organisation.

This is a condensed version of an article first published in strategy+business. The full article can be found here.

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