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Feb 29, 2016 by Pavel Aramyan in PM Best Practices & News

4 tactics for your marketing department explaining how to handle workload

how to handle workload

WARNING

Due to heavy amounts of workload, the light at the end of the tunnel is temporarily switched off.

This is, more often than not, our reality. Workload has this unique, distinctive feature of getting piled up in a way that you fail to notice and suddenly, there is just so much to do you can’t even begin doing it.

This happens for various reasons. Unfortunately, marketing isn’t like math where you have a strictly defined order of calculating the X. It’s much messier. Still, the show must go on and it’s important to finish everything on time.

As the marketing manager, you probably have a lot to think about yourself and managing other people’s workload is somewhere at the bottom of your list. However, due to workloads’ unique feature of getting stacked up like a swarm of bees on fields in April, you may want to consider bringing it to the top.

It’s pretty simple. If your team members are overloaded, they simply can’t finish their tasks on time. Since most of the tasks are interdependent (one cannot be completed before another one is done) this will eventually lead to getting behind on schedule with your campaigns. Later, that will transition into missed deadlines, and that in turn, will lead to complete “Texas chainsaw massacre” in terms of deliverables.

This might sound a bit too far-fetched, but this can be the one thing hurting your department from the inside and you might not even be aware of this. Why? Because people don’t like to admit being overloaded to their managers:

  • They think that it will be seen as a weakness (not being able to do their job)

  • Everybody is overloaded, but if nobody talks about it, they don’t want to be the first one to do it

  • They think that nothing will be done anyway, so why even bother in the first place

Knowing this, it will be wise to find out about such problems as soon as possible and do something about them. Here is what you need to do on how to handle workload.

Talk to people

If people are reluctant to admit that they are overloaded, then you should make the first move yourself. This doesn’t have to be anything official, just talk to your team members whenever you have a minute (coffee break, lunch, just after the workday finishes, etc.)

Ask them whether they are comfortable with their workload or maybe they need help with anything like getting priorities in place, managing their time, etc. remember that not every person is good at this kind of stuff (or they would all be managers, right?) and with huge amounts of work to be done, they tend to panic and panic is the worst enemy of any employee.

Once you find out about overload problems, you need to help fix them somehow. There is nothing worse than a manager who knows that employees struggle, but does nothing about it.

Sharing the burden

There can be a ton of reasons why overwhelming amounts of workload descend on people like snowflakes in winter, but the two most common are:

  • They aren’t up to the job (slow worker)

  • They do somebody else’s job (unfair, but true)

In both cases, sharing the workload can help solve the problem, at least before you find a more consistent solution. Marketing is a team sport and the players have to help each other out sometimes. Also, different people have different ROI (technically speaking) so you can’t expect everybody to do the same amount of work in the same amount of time. Try to make some adjustments and share the burden.

Teach how to prioritize tasks

Sometimes, the workload piles up simply because you have too much work to take care of and the whole department is working under pressure. To counter this, you will need to hold a meeting or two and teach your team how to prioritize their daily tasks, focus on what’s important and how to schedule their day.

Again, remember that not everyone is good with all this and it’s your job as the manager to help the team deal with any struggles they face. Plus, the more things you can teach your employees, the less you will have to worry about. It’s hard to navigate your ship through a storm, if your crew doesn’t know what to do and just waits for orders.

Encourage communication

Lastly, make sure that everybody on the team understands the importance of communication, especially when it comes to something uncomfortable. The sooner you find out about any issues, the faster you can find solutions and the better off your whole department will be. Good communication is key for making everybody’s work life a much easier and enjoyable experience.

Your employees shouldn’t be afraid of “admitting failure” to you. After all, it can happen to everybody, but they shouldn’t feel “alone in the dark”. The light at the end of the tunnel is still there, it’s the mist that’s blocking it. Help clear the mist, and your department will do just fine.

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pavel-aramyan
Pavel Aramyan

Pavel is a doctor who happens to have an MBA degree and a strong passion for writing. "I am a do-it-all kind of person: When I am not writing, I am busy curing people, when I am not curing people, I tend to kill WCG competitions. Life is fun, and full of wonders: Do what you enjoy most, even if it’s everything at once."

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