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Role overload: it’s time you paid attention to it!

Sharika S Nair
posted on 3rd February 2017
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Role overload arises when an employee is pressured with added duties and responsibilities in an organisation. If a person is entrusted with several responsibilities within a short period of time, he or she may undergo stress.

Organisations may unintentionally overload their employees, leading to anxiety in the individual. Stress management has become the need of the hour. Companies and organisations need to develop a culture where their staff is trained to handle pressure from time to time. It is also necessary to nurture a culture where employees are given realistic tasks and deadlines.

Image : shutterstock

Image : shutterstock

Several factors lead to role overload, which in turn creates organisational stress. These include:

Circumstances

If one person in a team of five or six quits suddenly, getting an immediate replacement becomes a challenge. At such times, the remaining members can be overburdened by the previous employee’s work.

Job structure

Many a time, a standard job structure may not be followed.  Unexpected demands, lack of time and resources, and inadequate support to carry out the tasks can lead to role overload. Sometimes, the roles of managers or employees are not properly defined and their positions are badly presented.

The role itself

Some roles are much bigger than others. Often, roles that involve more control than others are likely to be bigger than roles that do not need any intervention or supervision. At other times, despite having enough time to accomplish a task, the task becomes too difficult to handle owing to its complexity. This is also known as qualitative overload.

Lack of communication

Employees may also hold multiple roles when different roles overlap each other. This could occur due to poor internal communication. Sometimes, even the roles may change, and in such cases it is mandatory to keep the employees abreast about the new developments. The consequences of this can be many. While a few can be ignored from time to time, the rest have to be looked into and strict measures have to be taken to offset them.

Productivity

Role overload can have serious repercussions on one’s health, eventually resulting in low productivity. It affects the way in which tasks are carried on. The quality of the task performed is also affected.

Employee retention

In an organisation, it is mandatory to keep the employees highly motivated and satisfied.  Role overload naturally leads to job dissatisfaction, eventually leading to attrition. In such cases, work experience helps in coping with work load.

The business

When employees are averse towards their work, it reflects in the business. In such cases, improving human resources in the company helps to boost the business performance.

Some people know how to manage their time very well and also receive tremendous help and support from team members, family, and others. Many don’t view overload as a negative aspect, and their approach towards challenges are very different. 

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