When you consider that employees are becoming burnt out at an alarming rate, it is more critical than ever to address burnout in the workplace.
Add in remote or hybrid schedules, significant turnover, and the deep desire for a sustainable work/life balance; it’s clear there is a completely new set of parameters around how to combat this pressing issue.
Like most workplace challenges, employee burnout needs to be broken down to find the root cause. At its core, employee burnout is a complex issue involving many aspects of work and personal life.
And while the significance of employee burnout may be difficult to measure in a tangible way, it can cost your company time and money – and be extremely detrimental to your team’s mental health.
The National Library of Medicine defines burnout as “a psychological syndrome emerging as a prolonged response to chronic interpersonal stressors on the job. The three key dimensions of this response are an overwhelming exhaustion, feelings of cynicism and detachment from the job, and a sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment.”
First and foremost, it is imperative that you are able to identify the subtle signs of burnout in yourself and your team.
It can manifest in many different ways; a feeling of disconnection, physical illness or masquerade as other issues like imposter syndrome. It can be the result of a workload that is too heavy or a lack of meaningful work.
As you develop a plan to work through burnout with your team, it is imperative that you have more than a few tools in your tool belt!
Notwithstanding burnout as a function of company culture and human interaction, we’ll focus this article on how technology can identify and aid in your fight to combat this rising issue.
There are many different ways to use technology to combat burnout – from AI to facial recognition to simply leveraging employee feedback in an online platform. The goal of all of these methodologies is, of course, to give everyone a robust enough workload to keep them (and your projects) humming along, with enough space for creativity and rest. But truly, achieving a healthy workload balance for your team starts with having real visibility into their projects and time.
But for this blog, we want to focus on how workload vs. capacity can play a role in combating employee burnout.
Dinvy’s resource planning module was designed to give you a bird’s eye view of your team’s capacity vs. their assigned workload along with the ability to make adjustments on the fly.
Below we will dig into how Dinvy helps you manage and bring balance to your team’s workload.
1. Set Clear Project Parameters
If you’re looking to get a better handle on your team’s workload, the first thing you need is a way to set up your projects properly.
In Dinvy, whenever you create a project (which is the catalyst for understanding workload), one of the first things you do is assign resources, ie. team members, roles and hours, to complete the work.
This can be done on a fixed or time & material basis.
Once you have your project set up, you can plan out your team members hours in the resource planning module. Conversely, you can consult the resource planning module to see how your team’s schedule is shaping up for the duration of the project and better plan resources that way.
2. Harness Intuitive Time Tracking to Improve Accuracy
The other crucial component to resource planning is time tracking. In fact, you can’t have one without the other. If time isn’t tracked, resource planning is rendered meaningless.
In order to continually assess workload versus capacity, it’s imperative that your team is tracking their hours in a timely and accurate manner. This allows for the resource planning process to have current data to show under/over capacity on a “real time” basis. Remember, once time passes it cannot be gotten back, so pre-planning is critical.
If you create a project and assign resources (as we outlined in the point above) in order to better plan for hours, budget, timeline and all of that good stuff, you ALSO have to understand how your team members are following through on that utilization.
If nobody is tracking their time – you have no idea how it’s going from a high level point of view.
Time tracking is a seemingly simple concept, but also incredibly nuanced (so nuanced we talk about how to set yourself up for time-tracking success here.) Dennis Casey, Dinvy’s Manager Director talked with me and said, “One forgotten and seemingly odd aspect is – We need your time entered accurately and timely so we can do a better job in making task assignments to help prevent burnout. So what seems like a pain is in actuality a proactive way to help yourself.”
And, it’s why the team at Dinvy took painstaking care to create a fool-proof time tracking process.
Once your team is comfortable and tracking time accurately, you can better forecast availability and stay ahead of employee burnout.
3. Build Custom Notifications to Stay Ahead of Workload Burnout
A reasonable project load in a smaller company is simple to manage. Traditionally, a team of five is sitting side by side, working on projects together. Communication and data transparency is readily available.
But as your company grows and ramps up to 50-100 projects with 30-100 employees, tracking each one becomes more difficult. You need a way to keep an eye on things at both the macro and the micro level to be successful. Timely communication becomes even more imperative as you work to engage and build your team.
As you may have noticed, Dinvy’s pièce de résistance is our custom bot notification engine. This feature delivers messages (reporting) based on the criteria you set. It’s our way of keeping you in the loop, without bogging you down with unnecessary data. (Think exception management here!)
Our bot delivers custom notifications, set by you, based on your particular business needs, within Slack and MS Teams. These notifications can be sent daily/weekly and can include any data that is within Dinvy. Below is one example. Here, John Jones, the project manager, is receiving a notification that alerts him to billable time entered the previous day. This gives him a timely gauge of actual billable time vs. the desired billable time vs catching it at the end of the month.
Other notification options to help you keep an eye on hours worked include:
- Total hours worked per day or week – so you can confirm no one is over or underworked
- Time spent per task – so you can determine if your team is working within their wheelhouse
Basically, any information you need can be delivered to you proactively – so you can be proactive when balancing your team’s workload and helping them avoid burnout!
4. Gain Visibility into Team Member’s Capacity to Plan Better
So, now that you’ve set yourself up for better visibility, created a time tracking system that works, and have custom notifications keeping you up-to-date, you are ready to balance your team’s workload and combat employee burnout!
Dinvy’s resource planning module gives you insanely clear views on workload vs. capacity. You can toggle between report and grid view and start to see patterns, clear red flags, and forecast future work!
By looking at this data, you can get an understanding of capacity and if someone (or a whole team) is overworked.
Dinvy comes with built-in views to give you the data you need to make project assignment decisions and keep your team in the sweet spot.
Additionally, you can review reports on various workload measurements with Dinvy Reports:
- Master Time Report: A quick visualization of your team’s billable goals. You can view goals on a weekly/monthly/daily basis to see how much time was billed and their targeted billable percentage.
- Time By Task: This report allows you to see how much time is being spent per task. For example, if someone is a developer, but he’s performing analyst tasks, you can easily assess if you need to make adjustments to get him back to doing what he does best.
- Project Hour Burndown: With this report, you can see exactly how much time has been spent on a full project to understand how well it was estimated.
At the end of the day, combatting employee burnout is a complex issue. The more resources you have available, the more successful you’ll be at helping your team succeed and even thrive in their roles!
Whether you use Dinvy or another tool, the most impactful way to stay ahead of workload burnout is visibility into capacity so you can bring balance to your team’s project load.
And, although we focused heavily on Dinvy’s resource planning capabilities in this blog post, it’s really the combination of our features and a culture that promotes open/honest feedback that will kick workload burnout to the curb.
Technology can help you get the insights to successfully engage your team but it comes down to the business to take the next step from project and team member burnout to creating a culture that inspires.
Good luck on your business journey!