What do people do when they’re too busy at work?

 |  By: Steve Johnson In: Managing resource

  • When confronted with seriously heavy workloads, some knuckle under and work extra hard, or extra hours, or both. But eventually they might burn out and look for another job.
  • Some feel stressed, affecting their health, confidence and morale.
  • Some start to look for another job right away.
  • Some complain to their colleagues, becoming a negative influence.
  • And some search the internet for ‘How to persuade your boss to hire additional staff’. There are thousands of online examples, sample letters and templates to help them do just that.

But there’s another perspective on all this. Perhaps it isn’t a ‘busy vs not busy’ problem, or a ‘boss vs workers’ problem at all. According to Sara Blannin, FD of environmental consultancy Ecus, it might well be a ‘working on the wrong things’ problem.

Sara was brought into Ecus to focus on profitability. The company was busy, but profitability had remained elusive.

“Everyone was working hard, but profits were hard to materialise,” she told us.

They then installed Synergist.

 “Before, people would ask for more resources and justify it by saying they’re really busy.
They were indeed busy, but busy doing what?”

“Synergist now shows where their priorities should be.
When more resources really are needed, that’s clear too.”

So nobody was to blame before. The teams simply didn’t know that they were focusing on the wrong details of the wrong projects.

“The old system didn’t provide our staff with the tools to see the wider impact of their actions.
So this restricted their commercial awareness.”

“Solving the profitability problem was key. Now, our Exec team can go to the Board meetings every month and say ‘We’re getting it right!’"