Construction workload management is the process of coordinating responsibilities to ensure efficiency and fairness. Keep reading for some tips regarding effective workload management systems and tools.
Construction workload management tips
Know your team’s capacity
It’s impossible to effectively manage your team’s workload without knowing their capacity. Thankfully, workload management software (such as Bridgit Bench) streamlines the process of gauging your workforce’s capacity in light of both current and projected demands.
This process entails the following steps:
- Understanding the landscape of your company’s current projects and the associated milestones.
- Understanding how resources (including workers) are currently allocated across those projects and milestones.
- Gauging how those allocations are impacting workers. This may involve speaking with workers to understand their perspective. Good workload management tools such as Bridgit Bench can also provide workforce intelligence data that makes it easy to spot burnout and other signs of poor workload management.
- Using information acquired via the prior three steps to gauge whether existing workload allocations are efficient.
Maintain open communication between field workers and management
Effective workload management in construction takes into account that workers have a finite amount of energy with which they can complete tasks. It also takes into account that workers won’t always voluntarily be transparent when their capacity is spent.
That’s why it’s important for construction workforce management personnel to maintain open lines of communication with field workers. Once again, workload management tools like Bridgit Bench make this easy by letting workers update their availability in the cloud, giving management personnel a clear understanding of their team’s availability at a glance.
Tailor workload management techniques to the needs of individual workers
No two construction workers are alike. They all have different capabilities and capacities. This should be taken into account during the workload management process.
For example, if a particular worker struggles with certain activities, it might be wise to limit the amount of time they spend on those tasks until they receive further training. For the sake of keeping projects moving, you’d also likely want to assign those tasks to workers better-suited for them when the outcomes are mission critical.
Familiarize yourself with industry-standard tools and resources
There are a variety of workload management systems and tools people in the industry use to plan effectively. These include:
- Gantt charts: Bar charts that help managers easily visualize project schedules and progress. You can read more about Gantt charts here.
- The Eisenhower Matrix: Also known as the Urgent-Important Matrix, this tool helps you organize tasks based on temporal importance. It was invented by U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower and revolves around for quadrants:
- Do first: These are the most important tasks that must be completed as soon as possible (i.e. urgent RFIs that, if left unaddressed, would slow mission critical work down).
- Schedule: These are important tasks that should be coordinated and scheduled but don’t actually need to be completed immediately (i.e. responding to RFIs that concern phases of a project that are still a ways off).
- Delegate: These are important tasks that don’t require high-level decision-making and can consequently be delegated (i.e. tasks delegated to a construction superintendent that are better suited for someone lower in the chain of command).
- Don’t do: Lastly, tasks in this quadrant are neither important nor urgent and don’t need to be completed (i.e. responding to RFIs that have already been resolved elsewhere).
- Kanban: This is a staple of agile management. It entails using a vertically-oriented board to display tasks. A task’s placement in a particular column denotes its status (i.e. “In progress” or “Complete”). This is helpful from a workload management perspective as it makes it easy to see where work is getting stuck in the pipeline. If the bulk of your team’s projects aren’t making it past the “Planning” column, for example, there are likely workload management issues at play.
Prioritize output over long hours
Many companies make the mistake of incentivizing long hours rather than rewarding workers for their output (including the quality thereof). This is a mistake since long hours don’t actually equate to greater productivity beyond a certain point. As long as workers are fulfilling their obligations, they shouldn’t be punished (i.e. by being passed up for promotions) for recognizing when their capacity for productivity has run out on a particular day.
Include workload-related metrics among the KPIs you track
Another mistake many construction companies make entails failing to track workload management-related KPIs. When a company’s success is only measured in terms of how many tasks get completed or whether clients are satisfied, this sets the stage for burnout and other signs of poor workload management.
Teams should be celebrated for managing their workloads efficiently, which can be measured via low turnover rates, high employee satisfaction, and long-term productivity.
Set achievable goals
Good goal-setting is the cornerstone of effective workload management. This is especially true in construction, given the industry’s unique logistical challenges. Workers can only build structures (or pour concrete, install electrical components, etc) so quickly while maintaining quality and safety. Poorly-set deadlines jeopardize these two important objectives, which reflects negatively on any company’s workload management strategy.
Give workers the resources and discretion to contribute to workload plans
Workload planning shouldn’t occur in a silo. Rather, workers should have the opportunities and resources they need to contribute to workforce planning in the context of their own teams. Once again, software such as Bridgit Bench makes this a breeze, letting workers see and provide feedback on plans via the cloud.
Some might be fearful of this turning into a “too many cooks in the kitchen” scenario but with clear boundaries, that doesn’t have to be the case. It all comes down to knowing your workers and setting those boundaries in an appropriate manner.
Bridgit Bench is the top workload management software for construction professionals
At Bridgit, we’re all about helping construction professionals manage resources more efficiently. Features of Bridgit Bench, our flagship software, include:
- pursuit tracking
- labor scheduling
- remote workforce planning
- labor demand forecasting
- human resource database management
- much more
To learn more about Bridgit Bench, sign up for a demo here.