Workload Print or save as PDF

How is it defined?

Workload is defined as the amount of work an individual is required to complete (Jex, 1998), and includes the responsibilities educators are expected to perform both within and outside the classroom. Excessive workload occurs when an employee feels that they have too many tasks to complete at a given time (Greenglass & Burke, 2003). Research indicates that the majority of teachers report working in the evening (Butt & Lance, 2005) and that their workload has increased over the past five years (Livingstone, 2018). Teachers are continually challenged by these additional responsibilities, with negative impacts to their job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and ultimately, job performance (Johari et al., 2018). School leaders must consider workload as it is considered a significant workplace stressor associated with numerous negative outcomes, including burnout (Lee & Ashforth, 1996).

The Learning Bar's Staff Survey framework is based on 13 core indicators designed to capture the key metrics of employee health and well-being. Together, these indicators support the development of a positive school climate.

Why is it important?

  • Increases in teacher workload present a barrier to participation in professional development opportunities (Campbell, 2017).
  • Teacher workload detracts from an educator’s ability to provide meaningful feedback and sufficiently review homework assignments (Cooper et al., 2006).
  • Workload from administrative responsibilities can negatively impact the quality of a teachers’ instructional efforts (Kim, 2019).

How do we measure it?

The OurSCHOOL Staff Survey includes three items capturing the frequency in which staff feel they are required to work after hours to manage their workload. The results are reported as “the percentage of staff who work after hours”, “the percentage of staff who work in the evening” and “the percentage of staff who work on the weekend” to manage their workload.


Butt, G., & Lance, A. (2005). Secondary teacher workload and job satisfaction. Do successful strategies for change exist? Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 33(4), 401-422.

Campbell, C. (2017). Developing teachers’ professional learning: Canadian evidence and experiences in a world of educational improvement. Canadian Journal of Education, 40(2), 1-33.

Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research, 1987–2003. Review of Educational Research, 76(1), 1-62.

Greenglass, E. R., & Burke, R. J. (2003). Teacher stress. In M. F. Dollard, A. H. Winefield, & H. R. Winefield (Eds.), Occupational stress in the service professions (pp. 213-236). Taylor and Francis.

Jex, S. M. (1998). Stress and job performance: Theory, research, and implications for managerial practice. Sage.

Johari, J., Tan, F. Y., & Zulkarnain, Z. I. T. (2018). Autonomy, workload, work-life balance and job performance among teachers. International Journal of Educational Management, 32(1), 107-120.

Kim, K. N. (2019). Teachers’ administrative workload crowding out instructional activities. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 39(1), 31-49.

Lee, R. T., & Ashforth, B. E. (1996). A meta-analytic examination of the correlates of the three dimensions of job burnout. Journal of Applied Psychology, 81(2), 123–133.

Livingstone, D. W. (2018). Tipping point for teachers? Changing working conditions and continuing learning in a ‘knowledge economy’. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 37(3), 359-371.