Employees experience a heavy workload for many reasons, including tight deadlines, layoffs that have caused staff shortages and unplanned company growth that has created more work for the same staff. It can be difficult to manage an overworked staff, and even the most dedicated employees often reach their breaking points. Learn to identify the effects of a heavy workload on employees so you can take actions to mitigate the hardships.
A heavy workload requires a manager to be more of a taskmaster and less of a supportive coach. The manager spends a great deal of her time scheduling work hours, reporting to upper management and doing the minimal tasks to keep production moving smoothly. This may break down the relationship between managers and employees, and can lead to other issues such as low morale and high turnover. The manager no longer has time to work with employees on their career development, and the bond between employee and manager suffers.
A heavy workload causes stress, which leads a series of other health problems. The stress of dealing with a nonstop flow of work can lead to heart problems, high blood pressure, loss of sleep and loss of appetite. The company may see its health insurance costs go up while watching employee production go down. The health issues caused by a heavy workload can often outweigh any benefits that may come from maintaining a high level of output.
Employees exposed to a heavy workload sometimes become disgruntled with their work. This is especially true if the job is repetitive without offering any kind of variety. This phenomenon is often referred to as burnout. Frustrated employees may find themselves lashing out at each other, which can create an uncomfortable and unproductive workplace.
Companies that operate under a heavy workload often put quality control measures in place to reduce errors in the finished product. Employees working under the stress of a heavy workload can make mistakes, however, and the quality control personnel who are also feeling the workload stress can miss those mistakes. When quality control suffers, the company generates dissatisfied customers and defective products that could result in consumer injuries and costly lawsuits.