Working 1 to 5 – How to Balance Your Team’s Workload

The church communications calendar has a rhythm – driven by culture, your church programming and sacred seasons. As a church communications professional, you know the familiar New Year kick-off, the lead up to Easter, EASTER!, the important window between Easter and when everyone goes to the lake or mountains or wherever they go. Then there is possibly a big summer event followed by back-to-school/back-to-church push, harvest parties, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Add the cultural cycles of spring break, three-day holiday weekends, summer vacations, youth sports, school activities, and you’ve got a schedule that can feel exhausting. 


With these rhythms come peaks and lulls both in church activities and attendance.  It is also felt by the workload of various teams that make it happen. Teamness teams (teams that love and support each other well)  balance the workload among and across teams. Teamness teams don’t accept, “It sucks to be you, Creative Team,” at Christmas. Teamness teams say, “Hey, Creative Team, we’re the Missions Team and we’re kind of coasting leading up to the holidays, how can we help?” Or, “Hey Missions Team, we’re the Creative Team, and summer is a tiny-bit slower for us. How can we help with your trip to Guatemala?” A practical way to encourage teams to help each other is to institute a weekly check in with each team member in 1-on-1s and team settings to ask, “What’s your current workload? Rate it on a scale from one to five for the coming weeks.” The scale sounds like the following: 


I’m so overloaded. I’m on the edge. I can keep this pace up for a couple weeks, but after that, I may crack and my other life priorities and relationships are in jeopardy.”


“I’m hustling – working hard and pulling some extra hours. I’m good for a few weeks like this, but after that, I’m gonna need a break.”


“I’m right where I need to be. My workload and my pace are sustainable. I could go months like this. My relationships outside of work are in order. I’m having fun and getting rest…and I’m getting good work done.”


“My days are pretty easy, or a little boring, actually. I’m grateful for a slower pace, but I’m kinda itching for more to do.” (I know this rarely happens in church communications, but be honest, surely you have moments like this. And if there are not, it’s time to have a serious discussion about finding a sustainable work pace.)


(This may happen just every once in a while.) “I’m bored. This is the time in the church calendar when my ministry area is pretty quiet.”


Tradition says, “Push to exhaustion – take a few days break – then run hard again.”
Healthy teammates say, “Let’s even this out together. If you’re a ‘five’ and I’m a ‘two,’ give me something from your list and I’ll get it done.” It’s a voluntary, peer-to-peer delegation practice that works. When teams do this, and when their leader makes this conversation a priority, relationships are strengthened, people are encouraged and there is a collective focus to get it all done – all together. Resentment goes down. Health goes up. Balance is found and teamness goes up!


Can you envision this working for you and your team? Try it and let me know how it goes.


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