Newmeasures: Insights for an exceptional workforce

Adequate Resources

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”

What to Know

The demands of our jobs (e.g., deadlines, emotional labor, workload, role conflict) are often what leads to burnout. Having resources, on the other hand, is essential for feeling motivated and engaged, and even help combat burnout during the most demanding and stressful times at work. When people have the resources they need to be successful, feel supported, and perform at their best, the difficult parts of their jobs don’t seem so taxing.


When asked about resources, everyone may think of something slightly different and may have differing needs. For example, when you think resources are you thinking equipment, staff, money, time, support, or something else altogether? Check that what comes to mind for you is aligned with what your team has in mind. Don’t overlook something important that may seem small to you, but can make a large difference in someone else’s work.
What Managers Can Do

Ensure employees know that it is acceptable to speak up when adequate resources are not available and the proper channels to do so.

When you have to make tough decisions or are unable to meet all employees’ requests, get your team involved in conversations, set expectations for when needs can be met, and talk others through your decision process. Explain the rationale behind decisions and emphasize how allocated resources support team goals and priorities. 

What Employees Can Do

No one knows your work better than you. Others may not understand what is needed to get your job done in a quality way, so make sure to speak up when you don’t have what you need to be successful. And, don’t forget to show appreciation when someone helps get you what you need; this will reinforce the support and the importance of that resource.

Sometimes we can’t do more with less, but sometimes we can. See if you can find creative ways to stretch the resources you have. Look for ways to be more efficient. If your attempts don’t work, you’ve built a strong case to advocate to your manager and team that additional resources are necessary.

What Leadership Can Do

From a system perspective, ensure that resources are allocated in ways that align with your mission and strategic priorities. Draw these connections for others too by explaining why and how decisions about resources are made.

Don’t forget that your time and attention is a valuable resource. Find ways to carve out 15 or 20 minutes for groups to share their work with you, explain how they’re contributing to the organization’s goals, and check-in about necessary resources. Where are there needs and where might there be surplus resources?


Manage stress: Strengthen your support network by the American Psychological Association

Fake Work: Why People Are Working Harder than Ever but Accomplishing Less, and How to Fix the Problem by Brent Peterson and Gaylan Nielson