Hi everyone,

I'm new to the forum so hopefully this is all relevant on and the kind of thing we can have a good discussion about!

I'm working for a company that has been affected moderately by COVID. We have unfortunately had to make some redundnacies but we are still carrying some spare capacity after this, as we anticipate growth over the next year.

As a result, we have a number of people who, on paper, should have plenty of spare capacity (for example, one individual who was managing three large clients before this and is now only managing one). 

However, we seem to be encountering something known as Parkinson's Law. This is, the work available expands to fill the time available. Therefore we are still hearing from the team that they are busy and that they will struggle to take on new projects.

This certainly isn't the first time I've encoutered this as a manager, and it's something I've always struggled to know what to do with.

My thoughts are that I could try:

  • A fairly frank conversaiton with them talking about their workload before and now, and trying to get them to explain to me why they are still so busy. Hopefully this could raise awareness of the fact that they really shouldn't be busy and allow them to free up some time.
  • Perhaps even talking about Parkinson's Law. Perhaps if their awareness of it is raised then it might help them to overcome it.
  • Just loading them up with short term projects with strict deadlines and seeing how they get on. E.g. can I take advantage of Parkinson's Law - by expanding the amount of work it therefore naturally still gets squeezed into the time available?

What does everyone think? How would you approach a situation like this?

Please let me know if you need any more details.