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Why do we feel overwhelmed in the modern workplace?

#TLDR: Once you understand and reflect upon the drivers, it will be easier to get out of that perpetual fatigue coming from being overwhelmed! #PBJAM can help!

The modern workplace is an amazing social construct! Thanks to human evolution and technological feats, it is a melting pot where new technologies are providing more support and abilities at a faster rate than the change in social norms and expectations.

Since 2000, the average productivity has improved by 17% as per BLS data. This has meant the average amount of meaningful deliverables per employee has also increased by a similar margin. If you have a team of 5 employees (assuming that your span of control has not increased), each one of them is now delivering 17% more which means you are dealing with 17% x 5 = 85% more outputs within your span of control.

Though you have the team members to execute the work (being responsible), you as a people leader, are still accountable for the outputs. Think about what it means in your day-to-day world over the past few months.

For every employee that is working on a task, you as a leader have to

  • Make sure that the employee has been set up for success in that task (resource approval, acceptance of the necessity of the task by stakeholders, and availability of the skill sets and tools)

  • Monitor how they are doing in terms of hard measures (costs, milestones, scope, quality, etc.)

  • Talk to their stakeholders to ensure that their soft performance is acceptable (how they interact, how they make others feel, how is the team spirit, etc.)

  • Smooth out any hard issues that arise out of the execution (explaining delays, cost overruns, scope changes, setbacks, and additional resource needs)

  • Smooth any soft issues arising out of the execution (grievances, perceptions, claims on credit for the work done, responsibilities for any failures, etc.)

Thus, though you are not doing the work, your mental bandwidth is quite packed with all these accountabilities arising out of that work.

A glance at your calendar, emails, and to-do lists from the past few months and you will realize the time you have spent on these accountabilities. Naturally, this work is emotionally draining and not easy to quantify, nor does it have tangible outcomes except seeing your team succeed in their work. And, as good leaders, the credit for their success stays with them, while failures are yours to own and explain. This is what exhausts most people leaders in the modern workplace.

The technology adds another angle to such an accountability workload. In the old days (before 24x7 connectivity), one could disengage from work easily by walking out of the office. Now, the work follows you everywhere and it is tempting to check the new messages and emails and meeting invites on the go. Though it helps with your responsiveness, it also denies you the downtime needed to refresh from the accountability workload. Thus, your exhaustion seems to be never-ending.

How do you handle this dual challenge of increasing accountability workload and 24x7 connectivity? #PBJAM can help! With #PBJAM, you can effectively address the accountability workload and build personalized strategies to handle 24x7 connectivity. Approaches that work for you as a unique individual, proven by objective measures and stakeholder feedback. Try it out with our 12-week "Better You!" program.

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