Creating Better Workflow to Achieve Balance for Managers

In today’s fast-paced work environment, the focus on productivity and workflow optimization is often paramount. IT companies, in particular, place a significant emphasis on the comfort and efficiency of their workforce. This is particularly true for those in direct roles like developers. However, this can lead to unintended negative consequences for those who coordinate and organize the work. Prioritizing the comfort and productivity of direct contributors creates an imbalance in the treatment of those in managing positions.

The Burden of Responsibility

At first glance, it may seem logical that individuals with more responsibilities and decision-making power should be able to tolerate higher levels of stress and pressure. After all, they are expected to lead teams, make critical judgments, and ensure the overall success of projects. However, this expectation often comes at a cost. The more we burden these individuals, the more likely they are to experience burnout, frustration, and a sense of inequality in their treatment.

According to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (2018), burnout rates among project managers ranged from 30% to 50%. Another study published in Frontiers in Psychology (2018) found that the burnout rate among non-management employees ranged from 15% to 30%. To put it simply, the risk of burnout in a management position is twice as high as for a non-management position. Is this the inevitability that comes with greater responsibility and power?

In many organizations, there exists a pervasive belief that those in leadership positions should be willing to endure more stress and longer working hours. This misconception stems from a flawed understanding of productivity. It discards the long-term consequences it can have on individuals and the organization as a whole. Instead of recognizing the importance of work-life balance and the need for adequate support, the focus remains solely on squeezing as much productivity as possible from those in leadership roles.

The Importance of Balance

Maintaining a healthy work environment requires a delicate balance between optimizing workflow and ensuring the well-being of all employees. It is crucial to empower and support direct contributors. However, it is equally important to recognize the challenges faced by those who manage and coordinate their work.

Promoting a culture of fairness and equality is essential in addressing the paradox of comfort optimization. The old mindset that individuals in leadership positions should be expected to endure more stress, needs to be ditched. Instead, organizations should strive to create an environment where the workload is distributed more equitably. This can be achieved through effective delegation, clear communication, and resource allocation.

Organizations must also invest in the development of leaders. They need and deserve the necessary tools and support to navigate the challenges of their roles just as much as other roles. Leadership training, mentorship programs, and regular feedback can help foster resilience, improve decision-making, and mitigate the negative effects of excessive stress.

8 Steps to Achieve The Balance

Achieving a more balanced workload distribution requires proactive steps from everyone involved. Many of them need initiation on the organizational level. Here are some actionable steps that can be taken to promote a more balanced load:

1. Workflow Analysis and Optimization

Conduct a thorough analysis of the workflow to identify potential bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and areas for improvement. Engage both the direct contributors and managers in this process to gather insights from various perspectives.

2. Automation and Streamlining

Explore opportunities for automation and streamlining repetitive and time-consuming tasks. Implement tools and technologies that can reduce manual workloads. This frees up time for both direct contributors and managers to focus on higher-value activities.

3. Implement effective delegation

Empower managers and leaders to delegate tasks effectively. This involves identifying the strengths and skills of team members and assigning tasks accordingly. Delegation should be accompanied by clear instructions, adequate resources, and ongoing support to ensure the successful completion of tasks. Regularly review and adjust delegation strategies as needed.

4. Provide leadership development and support

Recognize the importance of leadership development and provide training and support to managers. Equip them with the necessary skills in time management, decision-making, and delegation. Encourage a supportive network of mentors and peers who can provide guidance in navigating challenges.

5. Set realistic expectations

Avoid setting unrealistic deadlines and expectations that lead to excessive pressure. Work collaboratively with team members to establish realistic timelines and goals. This will help prevent the accumulation of stress and promote a healthier work environment.

6. Foster work-life balance

Encourage a healthy work-life balance by promoting flexible working hours. Implementing policies for time off, and discouraging a culture of constant overtime can make the required shift. Lead by example, with managers and leaders demonstrating their commitment to work-life balance and encouraging their team members to do the same.

7. Recognize and appreciate contributions

It’s not just direct contributors that need to be recognized. Regularly recognize and appreciate the efforts and achievements of leaders and managers as well. Acknowledge their contributions to the organization and the challenges they face in their roles. Celebrate milestones, provide constructive feedback, and offer opportunities for growth and career advancement.

8. Monitor and adjust

Continuously monitor the workload distribution and employee well-being. Gather feedback through surveys, one-on-one meetings, or anonymous suggestion boxes. This helps to identify any imbalances or areas for improvement. Use this feedback to make necessary adjustments and ensure ongoing balance and fairness.

These actions can help create a more balanced workload distribution, reducing the risk of burnout, frustration, and feelings of inequality. It requires a proactive and collaborative effort from all stakeholders to create a supportive work environment where both productivity and employee well-being are prioritized.

Troubleshooting The Busywork

Busywork refers to tasks or activities that are time-consuming, mundane, and often low-value or unnecessary in relation to the overall goals. Busywork typically does not contribute significantly to productivity, progress, or meaningful outcomes. It may involve repetitive or administrative tasks that are unrelated to the core responsibilities of the person performing them.

Here are 10 of the worst busywork tasks that managing workers need to put up with on daily basis:

1. Excessive email communication

Constantly checking and responding to a large number of emails can be time-consuming and distract workers from more important tasks. Many of those emails can be non-essential or require minimal input

2. Excessive meetings

Frequent and lengthy meetings that do not have clear agendas or goals can waste valuable time. Meetings should be purposeful, and focused, and involve only those individuals who truly need to be present.

3. Micromanagement

Constantly monitoring and overseeing every aspect of an employee’s work can be counterproductive. It consumes valuable time for both managers and workers. Trusting employees to manage their own tasks and providing them with autonomy can lead to more efficient workflows.

4. Excessive paperwork

Dealing with excessive paperwork, including unnecessary forms, reports, or documentation, can be time-consuming. Streamlining and automating these processes can free up valuable time for workers.

5. Manual data entry

If workers are required to manually input data into multiple systems or spreadsheets, it can be tedious and time-consuming. Utilizing automated tools or systems that integrate data across platforms can reduce this busywork.

6. Non-essential administrative tasks

Certain administrative tasks, such as filing, organizing, or other low-priority activities, can take up significant time. Evaluating the necessity and potential for automation or delegation of such tasks can be beneficial.

7. Excessive approval processes

If too many layers of approval are required for routine tasks or decisions, it can slow down the workflow and waste valuable time. Simplifying and streamlining approval processes can improve efficiency.

8. Non-essential reporting

Requiring workers to create extensive reports or document every small detail of their work can be time-consuming. Focusing on essential reporting and providing clear guidelines can reduce this unnecessary busywork.

9. Repetitive and low-value tasks

Assigning workers to repetitive or low-value tasks that do not contribute significantly to their overall goals or the organization’s objectives can waste their time and potential. Identifying such tasks and finding ways to automate or delegate them can be beneficial.

10. Poor task prioritization

Failing to prioritize tasks effectively can result in workers spending excessive time on less important or non-urgent tasks. Providing clear guidance on task prioritization and helping workers focus on high-value activities can optimize their time.

By identifying and addressing these busywork tasks, managers can spend more time on meaningful and productive activities, enhancing overall efficiency and job satisfaction.

At The End Of The Day, It’s All A Teamwork

Optimizing the tasks and busywork can make a difference when it comes to using a workday more efficiently. At the same time it’s important to foster a sense of teamwork and equality between workers and managers. Here are some key ideas and concepts that employees can consider:

1. Shared Goals and Objectives

Despite their different roles, everyone shares a common purpose, which is the success and growth of the organization or a project you’re working on. Recognize that everyone’s contributions, although different in nature, are crucial to achieving these goals. When one member of the team is malfunctioning, the rest of the team won’t be able to continue as if nothing has changed.

2. Communication and Collaboration

Effective communication is a two-way street. Actively seek opportunities to collaborate, share ideas, and provide feedback. Both workers and managers should be able to provide and take directions from each other and express their needs and requirements to be able to complete their tasks efficiently. When facing challenges or obstacles, approach problem-solving as a collaborative effort. Engage your manager in brainstorming solutions, leveraging their experience and expertise. Likewise, managers should involve workers in decision-making processes that directly affect their work, fostering a sense of ownership and empowerment.

3. Empathy and Perspective Taking

Practice empathy by putting yourself in your manager’s shoes. Recognize the challenges they face in coordinating and managing teams, making decisions, and balancing various responsibilities. Similarly, managers should also strive to understand the perspective and challenges faced by workers.

4. Mutual Support and Recognition

Offer support to your manager when needed, especially during times of increased workload or tight deadlines. Instead of waiting for a member of your team to reach out to you when they need help or support, offer it first when you think you have the skills and resources to do so. Recognize and appreciate the efforts and accomplishments of your manager, just as you expect them to acknowledge your contributions. Creating a culture of mutual support and recognition builds trust and strengthens the team dynamic.

5. Seeking Feedback and Growth

Actively seek feedback from your manager to improve your performance and professional growth. Embrace constructive criticism and view it as an opportunity for learning and development. Similarly, managers should provide timely and constructive feedback to help workers grow and excel in their roles.

6. Remaining Open to Changes

Changing routines and habits can be a painful experience at first glance. It’s tempting to instantly say no to a proposal to change in a workflow, fearing it will bring discomfort for you. However, remember that the current flow is already bringing discomfort to someone else in your team and a change can help balance it out. By taking some of the load off from a team member there’s a good chance they can focus on aspects that also make your work run smoother

7. Work-Life Balance and Well-being

Recognize that both workers and managers have a shared interest in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. More power and responsibility don’t reduce the need for free time without the worries of the work

By embracing these ideas and concepts, you can develop a mindset that promotes teamwork, equality, and collaboration between workers and managers. Remember that building a strong relationship between workers and managers requires effort and mutual understanding from both sides


The paradox of prioritizing comfort and workflow optimization highlights the need for a balanced approach to employee well-being. While it is essential to focus on the productivity and efficiency of direct contributors, neglecting the needs of those in leadership roles can have detrimental effects on both individuals and the organization.

By promoting a culture that values work-life balance, equal treatment, and support for all employees, organizations can create an environment that fosters productivity, engagement, and overall well-being. It is crucial to recognize the challenges faced by leaders and provide them with the necessary resources, training, and recognition to thrive in their roles.

Ultimately, the success of an organization lies not only in the optimization of workflow but also in the cultivation of a healthy work environment that prioritizes the well-being of all employees. Striking the right balance between productivity and employee support is key to avoiding the burnout, frustration, and inequality that can result from an unbalanced focus on comfort optimization.