A Quick Word on Stress
Let’s be clear, stress doesn’t have to be a bad thing. There is good and bad stress.
Control is the key.
Actually, a little bit of stress is good for you. Stress is considered a good stress when it gives you a boost of energy, helps you to focus on your goals and makes you more efficient.
However, too much of it in the long-term is nothing but detrimental. It becomes bad stress.
Under repetitive and constant stress, we start to lose control. And when we feel like we’re drowning under work and pressure up to the point of not seeing a way out, that’s when the red light should start blinking.
Because burnout is near.
Sadly, this is a far too common situation in today’s work environment. And service industries are hit especially hard.
Bad Project Management, Source of Many Burnouts
First, let’s have a quick look at the causes of burnout. A necessary step before talking solutions.
Highly competitive environment, increasing demand, customer pressure, reduced team… Those are the (uncontrollable) conditions most project managers and their team have to work in.
Although these possible sources of stress are out of control for organizations, the way they deal with them is under their control.
However, a wrong management of these conditions can bring a lot of bad stress.
And by “wrong management”, we imply:
- Lack of efficient communication
- Lack of support from the managers
- Unreasonable time pressure
- Excessive workload
- Unfair treatment, lack of reward and lack of trust
- Lack of role clarity (unclear work expectations)
- Unchallenging tasks (not matching skills)
Activate a few of these triggers and your organization become a volcano of bad stress on the hedge of erupting. Fortunately, these causes of employee burnout can be easily avoided with good project and resource management.
Why? It’s not the first time we say it, and it won’t be the last: resources (people) are the most important asset of an organization. When they don’t perform well, neither does the organization.
Burnout Strives in the Shadow
There are many ways to reduce stress and prevent employee burnout, and in this article, Neil Patel came up with an amazing list of 30 tips to reduce stress in the workplace.
That’s great, but…
Being able to identify the early symptoms and control the causes is another thing. Especially when an organization starts juggling a considerable amount of projects and people. And let’s not forget that change is a constant in project management.
For instance, let’s say you’re a nice manager, doing your best to look out for your team. But if you lack easy access to data on your team’s availability and utilization. How can you make sure you won’t end up with overworked people when you can’t easily see their exact availability?
What we need to do is tackle the problem at its roots, not letting any space for these symptoms.
Well resource scheduling has more than one card up its sleeve.
Let’s take some of Neil Patel’s tips. Most of them are actually linked to resource management and can be implemented through resource scheduling.
- “Follow the passion”
- “Don’t spread your team too thin”
- “Be realistic when assigning tasks”
- “Keep reasonable work hours”
- “Be flexible”
How Resource Scheduling Can Drastically Reduce Stress in The Workplace
You already know all about resource scheduling? Skip the following box.
Within an organization, resource scheduling is the request, selection and allocation of the required resources (internal and external) to a project. It’s a 3-step process that takes place from a longer-range strategic level to a more executive level.
The goal of that process is to have a clear view of your team’s skills, utilization and availability in order to book them to projects without giving a chance to guesswork. It other words, it aims to maximize the use of your resources.
Read more about resource scheduling and its importance for an organization
So what can team scheduling actually do to help an organization identify bad stress symptoms?
Resource scheduling tools like Teambook offer many features that can considerably increase the efficiency of an organization and consequently reduce bad stress in the workplace.
The main ones are:
- Using a visual team planner, you can easily see who’s working on what, who is available and who is off. That gives you instant insight on potential allocation improvements and underworked/overworked resources.
- When comparing the data on your team’s utilization with the forecasted budget (time and money) of a project, you can make sure you’re on time with the project. And if not, you can take the necessary steps to reduce that delay. No more last minute rushed and stressed work to meet a deadline.
- That data on team’s utilization versus forecasted budget is also useful to see if any team member is struggling with a task. That way, the person in charge can provide spontaneous support to help that member.
- By mapping the skills and roles of your resources, you can easily find someone available, with the required skills, for a new project. Doing so, you won’t find yourself booking someone under- or over- skilled for a task when he would be more efficient and much happier on another task.
- Mapping skills and roles is also a convenient way to make sure team members understand their role and job expectations. On Teambook, each member even has access to a personal homepage that states all the info he needs to carry out his tasks.
- Quality communication is key in project management. Teambook, as an example, sends weekly schedule by email to each team member, as well as a daily recap of the changes that occurred during the day.
- Impatient clients pressuring for updates and shorter deadlines is also a big source of stress. By sharing a live project planning to a client from the beginning, you can keep him in the loop and avoid unnecessary pressure.
Thereby, by conducting an efficient resource scheduling process, you can easily identify symptoms of burnout and avoid them by taking the right decisions way upstream.
Need more proof of how resource scheduling helps reducing stress in the workplace in order to prevent employee burnout?
Try Teambook for free and see for yourself.