I've worked as a freelancer in the past so I've got some idea of how you can manage heavy workflows when you charge clients for work, namely charging more for work that's out of scope or on a tight deadline, and also increasing your capacity by outsourcing work.
However I'm currently working inhouse where we don't charge internal clients and have no budget to bring in extra help when we need it. Clients higher up the organisational chart can often bring us work with short deadlines and because it's strategically important it gets to push other less urgent work down the priority list; sometimes its hard to get this less supported work done because of the constant workflow interruptions.
Has anyone here worked inhouse and can share their experiences or insight on inhouse-appropriate strategies to help train clients/regulate our workload more effectively?
If I'm getting conflicting priorities, I say someting like "sure, but will have to decide on priorities"
EDIT: managing your workload and being able to step up is one ting, but people need to understand that even if they are not being billed internally, there is still an oppotunity cost. Meaning there's limited labour and if something pushes in, something gets pushed back.
Sounds like they need some pricess/organisation. I'd just push it to whoever you report to.
Thanks @pscysm, your advice matches what I've started doing - I now send a priorities list to my managers and get their confirmation that I'm ordering my priorities correctly.
I agree with you that it's their responsibility to manage the workflow/expectations and it's something we're slowly building capability for within the organisation. We've got a great service culture but we're also increasing in size and therefore demand at the moment so we're experiencing growing pains! We do have a pricing structure, but it's mostly on materials, doesn't include labour and I'm often confused as to when it should and shouldn't be applied so I'm hoping to get more clarity on that soon.
I was interested to see if anyone here has dealt with a similar situation and how they managed the issue, particularly if they were in the production/studio manager position?
I can relate. Working inhouse can be a one-person nightmare!
If you have a good manager and open dialogue with them that certainly helps.
Be upfront about expectations.
Don't be afraid to push back on jobs. Surprisingly everyone's "job" is urgent from my experience. If someone couldn't be bothered or not have the respect to brief you in on a job in good time then they need to be educated. Otherwise you'll be creating a false expectation.
Regardless who it is asking for the job, if you say yes to everything then there won't be any respect.
If you do overtime, don't be afraid of asking off for time in lieu.
Like I said if you have a good manager you can go to them, talk about your priorities and then let them negotiate with the other managers where there are conflicting priorities. If you have to do it then you can probably negotiate between them - most times someone can relent. If they can't then they need to meet you somewhere and move their deadlines.
If it happens often, ask your manager if you can get a budget for external freelance work and start a contact list.
Hope that helps.
*EDIT* obviously a lot of these points aren't black and white but I think what it boils down to is educating people and on their side - respect. Some idiots just think you can pump out jobs by clicking a button. Also be proactive, talk to the managers on expectations and make them (and their team) aware of minimum times for jobs and flagging upcoming jobs from its initial concept. If you can get this msg across to them the first time then most reasonable people will think about you from the get go.
If you are in a particularly busy period it also helps if you or your manager immediately flag it with the wider stakeholder group so then they know they'll need to organise it themselves or negotiate/ask for additional resources something with you/your manager
Thanks @Timbug - in a lot of ways I've thought and tried to put in place exactly the things you're talking about but it's so good to know I'm not alone!
I think the thing that's bothering me the most is that the design team seems to be getting a reputation for being slow to respond and turn around, when I often feel the issue is as much a case of clients not leaving enough time to get something done (which then makes more organised people's projects lag, cos they're pushed out of the way by projects for people higher up in the organisation) or not being realistic about how long it can take to design something (which is mostly education on our part, but also standing our ground on maintaining a level of quality because we can do it faster, but not as well).
The idea that we're getting that reputation does upset me, but so far I don't feel like I've made much inroad in my education campaign :(