SME Growing Pains

I work for a very fast paced and rapidly growing small-medium sized organisation. There is a practice of only hiring people once we have the revenue to justify it. Because of recent growth - but no extra revenue as yet - every person is working to absolute maximum capacity. Our CEO is a perfectionist and struggles to accept how hard everyone is working. If mistakes are made, they are not accepted with any compassion at all. In recent weeks I have had numerous people in tears in my office due to the pressure of delivering such enormous work loads and the inevitable errors this creates.

Most people will not take any time out - because it means more work to return to. The few who have taken leave have returned to a laundry list of work which was not completed prior to their leave.

On a practical level, other than trying to help people see where they may be able to let go of some of their work, how can I support my people?

Text book theory does not work here. We have no "committees" - everyone is has to demonstrate they contribute to commercial goals - there is zero fat in this organisation. Traditional text book tools for measuring work are of no use - so much of what we do requires high level thinking and consulting.  How can I prove to the CEO that everyone is working to absolute capacity?