Managing workload effectively around the holidays

December 19, 2019 By    

Q: How do you effectively manage workload during the holidays when demand is high?


The majority of propane business takes place within a 90-day time frame.

Photo by LP Gas staff.

Photo by LP Gas staff

Adding to the workplace madness is that this 90-day window falls in and around the holiday season. Below we’ve compiled practices that will help effectively manage workload for you and your employees. We’ve included things that can be done now and others that should be implemented during the slower summer months when you have more time to take a breath and plan ahead.

Develop relationships with other professionals. Firefighters, farmers, school bus drivers and others may be looking for additional work and could become part-time or seasonal employees. These professionals provide necessary relief during not only the holidays but also other crunch times.

Prioritize the work. Sit down at the beginning of each workday and review everything that needs to be done that day and week. Organize the tasks by importance and urgency. Then stick to the plan. Prioritizing tasks will provide a guide for employees to follow, increasing their productivity and efficiency. No time for a sit-down? Try this: Change your hours of business for customers and the public. Let’s say that your business hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Change the hours to 8:30 or 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This will give your employees 30 minutes to an hour to prioritize projects and catch up on the increased paperwork that accompanies the increased workload. Changing the outgoing voicemail message gives your office staff permission to not get sidetracked by phone calls during that first 30 to 60 minutes of the winter workday.

Work will calls into the planned routes. This saves time over making jack rabbit deliveries.

Encourage employees to avoid multitasking. Unless your employees are extremely organized and highly proficient at all tasks they are juggling, multitasking is not the answer. This only causes tasks to be completed late or inaccurately.

Do this even if you think your employee or coworker cannot do the job as well as you. Chances are when they’re the authority over a task, they take responsibility and will come through for you. More gets accomplished when you delegate.

Acknowledge your limits. It’s ok to say “no” sometimes. Admitting that you can’t do it all is the first step to getting the situation back under control. Constantly being buried affects the quality of your work and impacts everyone.

The following are things you can do during the off-season to help reduce the stress of winter workloads.

Convert will-call customers to routed delivery. Routing customers reduces headaches caused by working routes around all of the winter will calls.

Keep projects on schedule. Don’t let projects build up in the summer and fall months. Communicating with team members about the progress of their duties will keep things running smoothly.

Promote summer and fall fills. This helps remove pressure from the increase in orders for propane the first time the temperatures take a dip.

It is important to plan and take precautions to minimize the stress and fatigue of an increased workload. The mental and physical health of you and your employees is crucial to providing timely, superb service with a friendly attitude.

Tammy Day is director of marketing and communications at Propane Resources.

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