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Are You An Overwhelmed Employee?

November 20, 2016

A survey conducted by the Deloitte University Press this year revealed that almost 65% of middle and top-level managers suffer from the 'overwhelmed employee phenomenon'. This has been defined as the pressure employees feel to stay connected 24/7, respond to work-related e-mails and messages and consequently, are unable to switch-off from work mode. This in turn undermines productivity and reduces employee engagement.

If you think you are suffering from this phenomenon, here are three strategies to counter it:

1- Start early.
If your official working hours start from 9.00 a.m., consider reaching 15 to 20 minutes early. Not only are you less likely to encounter peak hour traffic (which is a stressor in itself), it will also give you time to plan and structure your day. Besides, if you operate in a team environment, turning up late may delay their work as well, which can become a major irritant.

2- Limit digital media usage.
The Deloitte Survey also revealed that almost 57% of work interruptions are caused by e-mail alerts and/or social media notifications. Turning off the auto-sync option for e-mails on smartphones is a wise choice; this way you can choose when to sign into your mailbox instead of being distracted by a beep every few minutes. Besides, if it is urgent, people will call or send a text message. Also, remember that your news feed and friends' status updates will still be there a few hours later so you do not have to constantly check all your social media accounts.

3- Optimise meeting time.
Meetings should not be called unless they are necessary. If periodic meetings have become a mere ritual with no productive output, replacing them with weekly e-mail updates from the team is a more effective strategy. When in-person meetings become unavoidable, ensuring that there is a clear agenda reduces the chances of participants finding themselves sidetracked and meetings continuing endlessly. Schedule one-on-one sessions if an individual issue needs to be resolved instead of bringing it up with the entire department.

- Arshia Wasif Ahmed
The writer is a corporate trainer.

This article was originally published in Dawn Newspaper (Pakistan)

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