Wish List: A Cloud-Based Workload Management System

There are now cloud-based-every-kind-of systems, from learning management systems to collaboration systems and beyond, but how about a system that would specialize in helping employees prioritize workload and then keep them on track to get that work done?

According to LinkedIn’s latest list of workplace struggles, “finding work-life balance” and “managing their workload” are the two greatest workplace challenges Americans face today. The in-the-cloud system I envision, and which probably already exists, would allow users to input all their current tasks or would automatically upload the tasks by integrating with the user’s computer and/or work e-mail. Then, the user would be able to add information about when the task is due and any other relevant details, such as level of importance. The system then would give the user a prioritized to-do list, along with scheduling help, identifying where in the user’s calendar the time needed to complete the tasks could be found.

If users were able to also add in tasks and obligations from their personal life, the system would help them organize what to work on first, and where to fit the necessary work into their schedule. It could be programmed to automatically add in blocks of leisure personal time to guard against burnout.

Do you use this kind of system already? Are there recommendations you could make to others about it? Maybe there’s an app (more than one?) that exists that can help with workload management?

Once you realize such a system could be useful, you might begin wondering if it would be something your company could create for employees—a custom solution, or an off-the-shelf system you could customize—that would integrate with the particular systems you use to complete tasks. For instance, if you do creative work and use a particular design software system, the workload management system could integrate with that design system to alert users of design tasks for each project that remains undone.

The system’s ability to send alerts to employees would be an essential part of any workload management system, so employees don’t spend an undue amount of time on a task not worth the time, or when another task needs to be completed first. Or so users don’t get immersed in work and neglect an important personal-life obligation such as attending a child’s play or softball game.

In an interview years ago, I was asked how I would handle being assigned multiple tasks at one time. I remember replying simply that I would prioritize which to do first, and then proceed accordingly. The person interviewing me looked concerned, and then I clarified that I would work in the order of importance, being sure to work on the next-most-important project if the first task I was working on was stalled for some reason, like waiting for a reply from a co-worker or for a resource to be sent to me.

A workload management system could be programmed to send alerts that remind users of other things that could be done during project stalemates—all those times you’re waiting for someone to get back to you before you can proceed or can’t go forward until you have additional material. It’s easy to forget sometimes that even one- to two-hour breaks in one project can serve as valuable time to get another task done.

Or a break in the action can signal the perfect time for a walk in the park or a long lunch with a friend. The great thing about workload management is managing your work well means more time not having to think about work at all.

Do you use a workload management system or app? Or maybe a comprehensive system that comes with an app? What’s your secret to managing your workload, and what kind of help do you provide to employees to ensure they, too, are managing their workload effectively?

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