by Megan Jewell

In the workplace it is easy to get overwhelmed with work. The atmosphere can easily transform from a well-oiled machine to a center for elevating stress levels. When this occurs the natural reaction is to look at the work load and wonder whether it’s just too much for the employees available. But is hiring more people really the best solution?

Many employers don’t draw upon the resources already available to them. Hiring a new employee is not only time-consuming but costly. After the hiring process is over, you may realize that a new hire did not do much to improve the situation. At that point you may regret the decision, doubt your hiring ability and wonder what WILL work. A much simpler solution may be to look at the office’s current work force and make sure everyone is being drawn upon in the best possible way. This will not only improve proficiency and the atmosphere of the office, but it might just make your employees happier workers.

In a job-satisfaction survey of 800,000 workers at 61 companies worldwide, Sirota Consulting, which specializes in gauging employees’ attitudes, discovered that busier workers are also happier. Those who said they had “too much work” scored an average overall job satisfaction rating of 57 on a scale of 100. Those who said they had “too little work” scored a 32. People who do little that they consider worthwhile all day are far less happy than their peers who are buried in meaningful, demanding work. Workers appreciate having their talents recognized when they’re asked to handle extra responsibility.

Of course there are the times when it’s appropriate to hire a new employee. The best way to know whether that’s the appropriate step is to stay involved and know what is taking place in the office. Know what your employees can handle. Ask for their feedback on a regular basis. If they feel they can’t handle the workload coming in, make sure to let them know others will help. Focus on creating a team-building atmosphere so if one employee does begin to feel bogged down with too much to do, that worker will feel comfortable asking a co-worker to help handle the workload.

Study from: Fisher, Annie. Fortune Magazine. “I’m Bored! Is It too Soon to Look for Another Job?” February 7, 2005 .