How to Manage Workload Stress

What is Workload Stress?

In today’s work environment the comfortable notion of working a 9-5 job is long gone. With increased demands and competition at the workspace, the stress levels are at an all-time high. Hence, it becomes even more important for stress management skills and efficient work management to help the employees work both productively and efficiently. 

Work-related stress can be caused by various events. For example, a person might feel under pressure if the demands of their job (such as hours or responsibilities) are greater than they can comfortably manage.

There are also several negatives to handling a heavy workload for a prolonged period of time. Below we will look at the major negative effects of employee workload stress and also learn how to manage workload stress.

Also Read: The Difference between Self-Employment Vs Wage Employment

What are the Negative Effects of a Heavy Workload?

how to manage workload stress

A heavy workload can lead to various negative effects on an individual’s professional and personal life.

Less Productivity

When employees are overwhelmed with tasks, they may struggle to focus, prioritise, and manage their time effectively. As a result, the quality of their work suffers, leading to decreased output and a decline in overall productivity

For example, a graphic designer given multiple projects with tight deadlines may spend more time switching between tasks and less time focusing on each project, leading to lower-quality work and missed deadlines. 

Heavy workloads can also lead to multitasking, which has been shown to reduce productivity and increase the likelihood of errors. Constantly switching between tasks can cause mental fatigue and decrease the ability to focus deeply on any one task.

Excessive Workload Management

Managing an excessive workload can also be time-consuming and mentally taxing. A project manager, for instance, may spend hours each day responding to emails, attending meetings, and updating project plans, leaving little time for strategic planning and problem-solving. 

When everything feels urgent, it becomes challenging to identify and focus on the most critical tasks, leading to a sense of being constantly rushed.

Increased Errors

Working under constant pressure and tight deadlines can increase the likelihood of making mistakes. An overworked pharmacist, for example, may accidentally misfill a prescription, potentially putting a patient’s health at risk. 

When employees feel pressured to complete tasks quickly, they may be more likely to skip important quality control measures or overlook crucial details. Hence setting realistic goals at work can lead to more work getting done in a timely manner.

Poor Work-Life Balance

Workload has a significant impact on work-life balance. High workload can lead to decreased job satisfaction and negatively affect employees’ ability to balance their work and personal lives . It can also result in increased stress and burnout, which further hampers work-life balance . 

However, it is important to note that the relationship between workload and work-life balance can be complex. In some cases, a high workload may actually improve job satisfaction, but this is not always the case . Therefore, organisations should strive to manage and reduce excessive workloads to promote a healthier work-life balance for their employees .

Risk of Burnout

An employee might agree to a heavier workload and longer hours, but they’ll only be able to keep up an excessive schedule for so long. As it wears on them they are more likely to suffer from burnout. 

Some symptoms of burnout include fatigue, chronic headaches, feeling depleted or lacking the energy to cope with daily tasks or responsibilities.

The best outcome from this is they need some time off to recover, but it could also result in them leaving the business and you having to hire and re-train a brand new employee.

Negative Health Effects

Too much workload can take a toll on an employee’s physical and mental health. Long working hours and constant pressure can lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression. Moreover, sleep deprivation, headaches, and other stress-related ailments become more prevalent, resulting in a decline in overall well-being.

Also Read: What are Challenges faced at Work and How You Deal with It

How to Help Manage a Heavy Workload

Understand the Source of the Workplace Stress

There are many factors leading to stress at work which could be due to feeling overwhelmed by the workload, handling more clients, or inefficient resources or training for the job at hand. The first step to take to reduce workload stress is to identify the cause of the stress. This aids clarity and paves the way for effective stress management.

Communicate with Your Team and Manager

Once you have identified the cause of the stress, the next step is to communicate the negative impact of the same with your team or manager and take corrective actions. For example, if you feel  stressed at work due to lack of training in a particular work area, then communicating the same to your manager and asking for additional training can be the resolution to improve your quality of work.

Also, if the amount of work is overwhelming you due to handling more projects, you can communicate the same to your team manager so that the work can be redistributed among other team members. This not only reduces workplace stress but also improves work-life balance and mental health at the workspace.

Related: 12 Proven Reasons why Team Building Skills are Important

Prioritise Tasks

Once you have the right amount of tasks assigned to you, you can get the priority of your tasks assigned and tackle one task at a time. This is one of the effective ways to get the task at hand done in a step-by-step manner.

Create a Schedule

Prioritise the work that has been assigned to you and create a to-do list for the same. It is a good idea to mention the deadline next to each task to help you sort the tasks according to their importance. Ensure that you keep the list near your workspace so that you are reminded of the things you need to get done.

Delegate Effectively

Delegating tasks to other team members or subordinates can help alleviate some of the pressure of a heavy workload. By assigning tasks to others who have the necessary skills and capacity, you can free up time to focus on high-priority or complex tasks that require your expertise.

Learn to say No

Taking on every request or task that comes your way can quickly lead to an unmanageable workload. Learning to say no is an essential skill for maintaining a healthy workload and avoiding burnout. When considering whether to take on a new task, ask yourself:

  • Is this task aligned with my primary goals and responsibilities?
  • Do I have the capacity to complete this task without compromising my other commitments?
  • Can this task be delegated to someone else or postponed to a later date?

Utilise Time Management and Productivity Tools

There are numerous tools and techniques available to help manage time and boost productivity in the face of a heavy workload. Some popular options include time blocking, pomodoro technique, project management software and productivity apps.

By experimenting with different tools and techniques, you can find the ones that work best for your specific needs and work style.

Take Sufficient Breaks at Work

It is wise to take an eye break once every hour as sitting in one place for long periods of time can cause stress and adverse health issues. When you are recharged by taking a small walk in the cafeteria or speaking with your colleagues, you are better equipped to tackle the tasks and refocus on your work. 

Maintain healthy work-life balance

The inability to separate your work from your personal life can have adverse effects on your mental and physical health. It is important to take out time and focus on activities other than work such as taking up a new hobby, spending time with loved ones, watching your favourite shows, eating your favourite foods, and exercising. Your mind and body will feel refreshed and more active the next day at work if you disconnect from work and take some time for your personal life.

How to Manage WorkLoad Stress and Increase Your Productivity

Managing workload stress is crucial for maintaining both professional and personal well-being. By understanding the sources of workplace stress, communicating effectively with your team and manager, prioritising tasks, and utilising time management and productivity tools, you can significantly reduce the negative impact of a heavy workload.

It’s essential to remember that taking care of yourself is just as important as meeting deadlines and delivering quality work. Taking breaks, maintaining a healthy work-life balance, and learning to say no when necessary are all key components of effective stress management.

Implementing these strategies leads to increased productivity, improved job satisfaction, and a more positive work environment.

Also Read: The Power of Self-Reflection in Learning



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