One of the main tasks involved in being a project manager is to manage your team – after all – it is through this chain of command that the necessary tasks are completed and the project delivered on time and within budget.

Project management training puts the emphasis on setting a realistic work schedule calculating the amount of work booked in to equal the number of staff hours available per month but even the best-laid plans can go awry due to a variety of reasons. Staff absences and delays in outsourced tasks can quickly result in a backlog of time that needs to be made up to keep things on track.

So how can you ensure the wellbeing of your staff, keep your stress levels in check AND ensure your project stays on track in terms of time and cost? Here are some suggestions to help you do just that.

Time off in lieu

Overtime doesn’t always necessitate over payment! Time off in lieu and additional holiday can always be offered instead.

Be creative with time

We naturally presume overtime means working late into the evening but as productivity tends to drop later in the day, managers could decide to offer additional hours in a morning or over a weekend. Being offered a choice or working flexi-time can mean staff can feel more in control of their work-life balance…

Make a list

Even when overtime has been agreed, it is still important to make a list of the tasks that need completing to prioritise and allocated them to the members of staff that can complete them most effectively.

Consider outsourcing

It can be more cost and time effective to outsource tasks, especially micro tasks or basic administrative tasks.

Hold mini-meetings

It is more important than ever to get staff together for regular progress updates even when precious time is being eaten into – a stitch in time can save nine! Short, impromptu meetings can be more effective than scheduled lengthy conversations.

Use project management software

Time tracking software is a great way to keep a close eye on the progress of a project within usual working hours as well as the additional workload in the form of overtime.

Identify the cause of overtime

It is important to identify the reasons behind the need for overtime so that they do not become a regular occurrence. Some are unpreventable but a regular need for overtime can point to poor project management in general. If this is the case then you may want to consider attending one of the project management courses on offer.

Boost team morale

Treats such as coffee and cream cakes can literally sweeten the need for overtime as can a staff reward when the project is completed! It can not only be seen as a lovely surprise, but your team could enjoy bonding as they enjoy the treats!

With these tips you, a a savyy project manager, should be able to effectively manage your team’s overtime and avoid burnout in your team. Not to mention not stretching the budget too far in terms of the cost of overtime.