Traditionally, setting up and running a company was a slow process; starting a business and growing it slowly until it becomes successful and has tons of brand presence required a lot of time and effort. It usually took decades before a company could reach that status.
But now, the business world is changing very fast, and people don’t want to wait decades before they start being called successful; they want to set up the business and run so fast that success comes to them in years and not decades.
There is no fundamental right or wrong way to do this. But the fact is that the nature of how we do business is changing and that sometimes has a direct impact on how we do our work.
In this scenario, there is a high likelihood that employees may sometimes start feeling overwhelmed and stressed at work.
What does it mean to feel overwhelmed at work?
The speed at which the company is trying to grow could contribute to being overwhelmed at work, but it does not mean companies that develop slowly do not have overwhelmed employees.
Being overwhelmed at work means that the team members are under a lot of stress due to various reasons; these could be:
- Working on an important task or project with a very short deadline.
- Having too many tasks assigned at the same time.
- Having to skill up too fast to complete a set of new jobs.
This kind of work situation can make the employees feel overwhelmed and lose focus on what they are doing.
Signs you are feeling overwhelmed at work
The biggest challenge with identifying the signs of being overwhelmed is that the characteristics are sometimes very similar to how people behave when having a bad day or having some trouble in their personal lives.
So a keen eye and some form of investigation is required for the manager to clearly understand the root of the matter.
Here are a few signs of someone feeling overwhelmed:
1. Lack of concentration
When an employee feels overwhelmed, it is very likely that they will also end up not being able to concentrate on the work that they are doing. This hinders their ability to focus on the tasks, which results in them either jumping from task to task without completing them or not doing a good job at completing their work.
When an employee has too many tasks assigned to them or when the deadlines are too challenging for them, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and start experiencing burnout. This isn’t a great thing to happen at work as it will disrupt the employee’s productivity and also impact their personal life.
3. Lack of sleep
When an employee is overwhelmed, they tend to stress about their work and spend longer hours working than usual; this can impact their sleep cycle. Lack of sleep disrupts an individual’s concentration at work, which leaves them feeling anxious and all of this ends up in a vicious circle of being overwhelmed.
4. You're always working
When an employee is overwhelmed by the amount of work they have on their plates, they will likely turn into a workaholic. Being a workaholic is either good or bad, depending on what certain people think, but never letting your brain go off work can be detrimental. This also has a substantial negative impact on the employees' work-life balance.
Common causes of feeling overwhelmed at work
We have briefly pointed out some of the reasons for being overwhelmed at work. But we can dig into a little more detail here. Here are a few of the causes that can make someone feel overwhelmed at work:
1. Having too much to do
One of the biggest causes of being overwhelmed at work is having too many tasks to handle. The number of tasks and the looming deadline can make the employee feel stressed and unable to complete all of the tasks. It only gets worse when these tasks have very challenging deadlines as well.
2. Being a yes man/woman
Having too many tasks to handle could very well be caused due to some employees being a yes man/woman and saying yes to every task assigned to them by their team managers. Saying yes to everything hoping to either get a good performance review or learn could result in the individual getting overwhelmed quickly.
3. More responsibilities are being added
Sometimes, companies have a dire need to cut costs and get more work done; in scenarios like this, they tend to assign more tasks to the employee, which may or may not have been part of their roles and responsibilities. This hustle and startup culture may feel like a normal thing for managers, but it is essential to understand that every individual has a limit in terms of skills and availability. If the individual is piled with more and more work, they will likely start feeling overwhelmed and start producing a lower and lower quality of work.
4. Lack of support
When an employee is asked to complete more and more tasks than they can handle but not provided with any support whatsoever, both in terms of partners or tools or even time to meet those, it will eventually make the employee feel that the manager is deliberately setting them up for failure and start feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
Tips to reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed at work
If you think you or someone in your team is currently being overwhelmed by the amount of work, don’t worry, we have some good news. Here are a few tips that we think can help you or your manager find a way to reduce the employee from being overwhelmed at work:
1. Learn your triggers
One of the best ways to reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed is for the individual to keep a small log of all the triggers that are causing them to feel overwhelmed. This log can help them understand their triggers better and find ways to change their behaviour that either leads to the trigger or how they feel after their triggers.
2. Use to-do lists
Another way to feel less overwhelmed, especially when the individual has a lot on their plate, is to create a to-do list of all the tasks or activities that need to be done. This list can act as a single location to keep track of all the work and enable the individual to understand the tasks better and prioritise them accordingly. They can complete the essential tasks first and then move on to the less important tasks later (or even skip them or move them to another day if the task does not have too much of an impact on the business).
3. Learn to delegate
One of the other uses of creating a to-do list, as discussed above, is to understand which tasks require the individual's skill sets to be completed and which specific types of tasks can be done by someone else. Using this method, the individual can easily delegate the tasks which do not require their skillset to someone else in the team who can complete the task for them. This helps unload some of the tasks from the individual’s plate and lets them feel less overwhelmed at work.
4. Set better goals
Moonshot goals are good to have, but the whole concept of the moonshot is that you achieve one moonshot once in a while. But if you and your manager set up moonshot goals for every part of your responsibilities, then it is setting yourself up for failure. You should try talking to your boss and ensure that the goals set up for you are smarter and not just all moonshot targets.
5. Take a break
This cannot be stressed enough; even our devices need to be reset once in a while. Unfortunately, humans do not have a reset button (yet), so apart from having a good night’s sleep, it is also very crucial for employees to take a short break from work to reduce their stress and feel less overwhelmed.
There is light at the end of the tunnel
All employees and managers can manage their stress and feel less overwhelmed if they use the right tools like Mesh. This tool can help by setting up frequent check-in sessions and a better performance management process to make work seem less overwhelming for the employees.