We’ve all been there: one week you have more tasks than you can possibly accomplish, and the next, you’re twiddling your thumbs and mindlessly scrolling Twitter.

Wouldn’t it be so much better if you and your team had consistent work every week?

No more feast or famine. Just a regular, balanced workload that plays to everyone’s strengths.

Allow us to introduce you to workload planning.

This concept helps you reach that balance for your project team and reap all the benefits that come along with it.

And you don’t have to figure it out on your own. We’re here to take you through workload planning step-by-step.

And along the way, we’ll show you how to build the tools you need to plan your workload the right way.

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What is workload planning?

Workload planning, sometimes called workload management, is a strategic approach to maximize your team’s productivity. You’ll assign tasks based on team member capacity, skill level, and area of specialization.

You’ll also consider factors like time off, and hours needed for administrative or non-project tasks.

Workload planning is an active process. You’ll need to regularly review and revise your workload allocation as your project evolves or your team dynamics change.

Managing your team’s workload according to this approach immediately solves a few common business problems.

First, it helps you make sure your team always has enough tasks to stay busy and productive. This helps keeping employees engaged while also maximizing revenue for the business.

Second, workload management prevents team members from being overloaded with tasks, stressed, and burnt out — a chronic problem in the American workforce. In a study last year, 58% of workers said they were experiencing burnout.

Finally, workload planning can provide a single source of truth on task assignments and other information, filling the communication gap that leaves 80% of workers feeling stressed.

To achieve all of this — particularly the improved communication — it’s smart to use a workload management tool, like this one built on monday.com:

monday.com workload plan template

A workload plan template can help you start understanding your team’s current workload and how to assign tasks in order to balance them. You can use it with project management features and tools, too.

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What are the benefits of workload planning?

Workload planning benefits your entire business. This exercise can eliminate or reduce a ton of workload issues.

Here are just some of the many benefits workload planning can bring to your organization:

  • Reduces employee stress and burnout: 47% of employees who report burnout attribute it to their workload. Workload planning empowers you to reduce an employee’s heavy workload before burnout is a problem.
  • Mitigates errors: when you assign tasks based on skillset, you can make sure the highest-priority work is done by the employee best suited to handle it. You’ll better match tasks to skill across the board.
  • Gives managers insights into the team’s work: reviewing your team’s current workload lets you identify your top performers — and your underachievers. You’ll also find ways to optimize your workload allocation to get everyone performing at similar levels.
  • Improves employees mental health: 58% of employees aren’t totally satisfied with their day-to-day workflow, leaving them less engaged and less productive than employees that are satisfied. With workload planning, you can alleviate some of this dissatisfaction by playing to your employee’s strengths.

Above all, workload planning does wonders for your team’s productivity.

How to plan your team’s workload

Workload planning consists of just a few simple steps, but it isn’t always a simple process.

Finding the right balance of resources and tasks among your team can take some practice. You’ll need to consider a lot of factors that might change unexpectedly.

Although workload planning can be complex at times, if you follow these steps — and use a workload management tool — you’ll have a solid foundation from which you can test and optimize your team’s workload.

Make a list of everything your team needs to do

The very first step in workload planning is to get a complete picture of your team’s actual workload for the upcoming project — or some other appropriate time period, depending on how your team operates.

Think through every task your team needs to accomplish in your time frame. This list should include everything from high-priority and specialized tasks, to admin tasks or general work items like checking email or attending meetings.

If you’re already using a team task management tool, like the one below built on a monday.com template, that’s a great starting point for a task list.

Screenshot of monday.com team task planner

Don’t be afraid to ask your team for insight on what other tasks they complete on a daily or weekly basis. You want your task list to be as complete as possible before you begin assigning work.

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Consider each team member’s work capacity

Now that you have your list of tasks, you’ll need to determine how much time your team has to work on them.

First, make a list of the total amount of time your employees are expected to work over the course of your project. Are they in the office 8 hours a day? More?

Then, find the true number of working hours for each employee by accounting for any upcoming time off, lunch or other breaks, regular meetings, and so on. This will help you make sure employees actually have time to complete their tasks.

Lastly, consider any particular skills or strengths your employees might have. This could be rapport with a particular client, a specialized industry background, or anything that might make them more adept at one task over another.

While you don’t have to cater to every single strength or preference of your team, doing that as much as possible leads to higher quality work and more engaged employees. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Assign tasks to team members

Start bringing everything together by assigning tasks.

Assign the highest-priority work first, allocating them to the team member best suited for each task in light of the capacity and strengths you outlined in the previous step.

To make this as easy as possible, use a resource allocation template or similar layout from monday.com. In the one below, you can assign tasks across projects and assign task status or due dates.

monday.com resource allocation template

You most likely won’t do this perfectly the first time. You’ll need to switch tasks or make changes due to employee needs, project scope changes, or any number of other things. But with a solid baseline, making those adjustments will be a lot easier.

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Use a workload planning tool to visualize your team’s work

Spreadsheets or other manual processes are wildly inefficient at workload planning. When you make one change, it’s difficult to be sure you’ve updated everything the change has impacted.

A workload planning tool, on the other hand, helps you to be more productive and plan work faster. In fact, when people use an online tool to manage their work, they’re twice as likely to say their company is highly efficient.

Platforms like monday.com allow you to build resource allocation views to see if your team’s workload is balanced. It appears in a handy visual representation like this one:

monday.com workload management view

As things progress or change, you’ll be able to drag-and-drop tasks to different due dates or team members to balance workloads. Everything will be updated instantly, and your entire team will always be on the same page.

That means everyone can immediately get a precise update on their projects — something 47% of people say they find difficult.

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Check-in regularly and review with your team

Make sure your team understands and can follow through with your workload plan. Give them an opportunity to present any concerns or conflicts with tasks they’ve been assigned, and make any adjustments you feel are warranted.

Keep in mind that your work plan is a living document. As the scope changes, new tasks emerge, or any number of other factors come into play, you’ll need to review and check-in with your team again to reduce the risk of burnout.

Communication like this is key to engaging employees and mitigating stress. Which is important for a happy workplace.

73% of workers say feeling valued and engaged makes them care more about work, while 67% say it motivates them to go above and beyond their duties.

It’s clear: proper workload management is one of the best ways to improve an employee’s work experience while also improving productivity.

Manage workload planning and more with monday.com

Workload planning is just one way that monday.com helps your team work better.

As a Work OS, monday.com is the platform where you can build all the tools your business needs. You can find templates for everything from workload planning to CRMs to project management tools, like this one:

monday.com project management template

monday.com has tons of integrations, so you can incorporate virtually any other tool you use into your boards — like Slack, Zoom, MailChimp, and so much more. It’s a true single source of truth for your organization.

You’ll also find features for workflow automation, collaborating with other teams, and visualizing work with Gantt charts — or 7 other kinds of views.

Start planning your team’s workload today

Workload planning helps you utilize resources more efficiently across your team or organization.

It also helps you to reduce employee stress and burnout and increases engagement and productivity.

When you create a workload planning tool on monday.com, you can connect it to other boards and tools for project management, task management, and so much more.

Try monday.com for a work management experience that helps your entire business.

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