Workload is a relative concept. What may be a perfect workload or a stimulating working environment, for one person, may be a source of stress for another. The subject we discuss here, is the perceived workload, and therefore, an individual experience. In your case, what causes an excessive workload and what can you do about it? That’s what this is all about. And it is important, because perceiving a high workload over a long period, may lead to all kinds of complaints, with as possible result, falling ill or becoming victim of a burnout.
Causes of a workload being perceived as high
A high workload has numerous causes, but is ultimately the result of a lack of workload balance. The provided effort and energy are inadequately compensated. It may be that you have too much work, or that it’s not clear to you, what it is exactly that you’re responsible for. When either is the case and you do not receive support from your manager or if you cannot manage your time by yourself, work can feel like a pressure. Personal circumstances may also be of influence for this feeling. When you have personal worries, it has consequences for what you can handle at work. It is also possible that you lack competences to be able to do your work. So, there are many factors that ultimately determine your perception of your workload balance, and whether your work gives you energy, or whether it merely reduces your energy.
What can you do to balance your workload?
You can arm yourself against work overload. Some things cannot be changed overnight, so you will have to look for ways and means that can mitigate the effect of work overload. A few hints:
- Prepare a concrete request for help and discuss this with your manager. Be honest about what’s going on and show that you are eager to work on a solution.
- If you have to do more than agreed, or if you are constantly doing work for others, then discuss your concerns with your colleagues and/or your manager. Together carry out a critical review of your job description and task assignments.
- Be critical about yourself and try to figure out what you need to learn, in order to do your work better.
- Ask yourself under what preconditions and circumstances you can relax during and after work, and then create them.