Combating burnout with work management technology

Combating burnout with work management technology
(Image credit: Pixabay)
About the author

Alex Hood is the Head of Product at Asana

We recently spoke to more than 6,000 global knowledge workers to dig into the problems that individuals and teams are facing when it comes to managing and distributing work. 

According to our research, 8 in 10 employees are overworked or close to burnout, and over 70 percent have experienced burnout twice or more in the past year. 

And while a majority of employees (93 percent) strongly believe that they are more productive than their peers, over one-third (37 percent) don’t actually know whether work is fairly distributed across their teams. 

So, what does all this mean? It means that the traditional tools we’ve been using to plan and distribute work over the past few decades — from spreadsheets to emails and even in-person meetings — aren’t working. 

Why do you think workers are having these problems?

From Slack to Google Docs to Dropbox, we have more ways to communicate and collaborate than ever before. Yet, the majority of teams are still turning to outdated, fragile technology, like spreadsheets, to plan and manage their work. 

We believe there’s a strong correlation between how overworked teams are, and how effectively (or not effectively) their organization manages work. For example, while we often think of tech companies as innovators and disruptors, nearly half (44%) are relying on archaic spreadsheets to plan and distribute work across their teams. As a result, over two-thirds of tech workers surveyed believe their organization consistently underestimates how much time and effort is needed to complete all the tasks and projects on their plate.

What are the business implications? 

A majority of people we spoke to believe that team and company morale is suffering as a result of employees having too much work. In addition to lower levels of morale and engagement, staff retention has also been impacted. Nearly half of all businesses surveyed have had employees leave their company due to feeling overwhelmed by their work volume.

We believe there’s a better way. One that ensures the right people are working on the right projects at the right time - spending less time on the work about work, and more time on the work that matters.

How can technology solve the problem? 

We’re really focused on eliminating work about work. We do this by acting as the GPS for your organization - ensuring that everyone knows the plan of record and is updated as each piece comes together. 

We know that the most productive and happiest teams have clarity of who is doing what by when. This week, we launched Workload, a brand-new feature that gives you a centralized view of your team’s capacity that’s connected to the actual underlying work. With it, not only are your most important projects and initiatives completed on time, you never lose sight of your most valuable assets — your team members. 

And because no two teams are the same, it allows you to customize workload based on effort — such as hours or points. To help teams balance their work and ward off burnout, Workload features capacity limits with visual alerts when the work assigned to an individual exceeds their capacity. 

Providing this level of clarity isn’t just powerful, it’s empowering. When people can clearly see the interconnection of their work, accountability and goals, they feel trusted and confident in their teams, their company leadership and themselves. 

What excites you about the future of product development in this space? 

We’ve reached one milestone on the path towards achieving our vision for the future of work. 

At Asana, we’re pioneering the Work Graph which builds connective tissue between everything that comprises work, from individual tasks, to meetings, to KPIs and all the way up to a company’s objectives and mission. With this extensive network of relationship data across the people, teams and the projects they’re associated with, we’re able to provide a powerful data resource for businesses to better engage employees around how their work is delivering real, tangible impact. 

The result? Happier teams achieving their very best results.


Alex Hood is the Head of Product at Asana.

Alex Hood

Alex Hood is the Head of Product at Asana, the scope of Alex’s role and his responsibilities put him in charge of the product management team, the design team, and the user research team.