One of the most important aspects to keep in mind when trying to improve productivity in the workplace is time management. Without proper time management, a business may suffer a number of setbacks which can hurt productivity, working dynamics, as well as a business’ bottom line.
Though making major adjustments in your organization can sound easy on paper, rolling it out and implementing such changes can be viewed as a radical change by your employees and may even be faced with criticism. This is because most employees think time management implementations usually come with stricter time logs and shorter breaks. However, this misconception must be changed.
It will be beneficial for a company to promote proper time management across the board. If implemented correctly, it can significantly help improve business operations and prevent a few negative effects of bad time management.
The Pitfalls of Time Management
Any employee would know how hard it is to fight the clock, which may lead some to just give up the fight and go with the flow. Though this scenario is very unlikely, it still has some implications for both your employees and your business.
On some industries, employees are constantly bombarded with tasks that go beyond what they can handle. Business owners and managers, on the other hand, normally face a critical decision whether to allot time on tasks that keep the business running or on initiatives that will make the business grow. Regardless, poor time management in any organization comes with a number of crucial setbacks.
It can cause stress
If an employee is constantly under stress, their overall performance can get affected and may even damage the working relationship between their co-workers. Picture this: if a certain employee comes to work late all the time, they’ll eventually have to deal with urgent tasks, continued over time, and may have to deal with less cooperation among the team due to missed meetings. If left unchecked, this may cause a domino effect across divisions.
Opportunities are missed
Poor time management is most evident in customer-facing businesses as well as businesses in the hospitality industry. For instance, a slow cue will most definitely discourage more customers to fall in line. Customer-facing professionals must see to it that their cue doesn’t get too long in order to keep customers happy.
On the other hand, delays in a project-based task might create a stressful working dynamic between a service provider and a client. If you run a business that depends on commissioned work, delays will put you at a disadvantage and may be detrimental in exploring additional business opportunities.
Lost time is lost money
Have you ever wondered why “time is gold”? Knowing how much your time is worth will help you set a ballpark on how much money is lost when time is lost.
For instance, if a small business owner or operator earns an average of $67,000 per year, they’ll most likely be making $25-30 per work hour. If you waste about 15 minutes per day browsing your social media aimlessly, that can easily equate to $7-8 of lost potential income per day.
Work allocation and designation will help you a lot as a business owner to manage your time and divert your attention to important tasks. In addition, keeping things in perspective will help guide you in being sensitive about how and where you spend your time.
Key Principles in Promoting Time Management
While it’s easy to point out the negative effects of time management, preventing poor time management can also be done by taking a few principles in mind.
Instil time awareness
The key factor to promote effective time management is by highlighting the importance of time awareness. Think of it as a means to calibrate what the problem is: without proper time awareness, a person will have no idea if they’re running ahead or already behind schedule.
When trying to emphasize time awareness, encourage self-monitoring by keeping tabs on the times a task is started, so that it will be easier to get an estimate of a task’s duration. You can also install a time management software on your employee’s computers to encourage the use of hourly reminders, or simply put up a clock that’s visible for everyone.
Invest in technology
If your office is still relying on old tools and technologies at work, it’s probably time for you to invest in new technologies and consider new ways of getting things done. For example, by leveraging the cloud for work or by utilising shift management tools online, you and your employees will be able to keep work-related responsibilities in check from any connected device, allowing your business to stay productive despite certain time constraints. Similarly, a restaurant can boost its efficiency by utilizing modern point-of-sale software which could help minimize the time spent by your staff as well as your customers in processing purchases.
Taking advantage of technologies will help a lot in your organization’s time management.
When every task is considered urgent, it’s very easy to lose focus on what’s really important and scramble between tasks. Once this occurs, employees will most likely work on the most urgent activities instead of the important ones.
Picture this: A manager wasn’t paying attention when a plan was approved months before just because it wasn’t urgent, then scrapes the approved plan few weeks before it commences. The team is now forced to render overtime 5 days in a row to create a new plan from scratch.
This scenario can be very problematic and become a source of stress and unnecessary spending or your business. Identifying the most important tasks that have the biggest impact on your business will not only help your business save time but will also prohibit unnecessary work.
Emphasize the importance of rest
Any kind of work can take a toll on a person’s body and mind, which is why taking a rest is very crucial to stay productive. Even Gordon Ramsay, a prolific chef-businessman, highlights the importance of taking a rest in one of his interviews. Despite waking up early at 5a.m. and sleeping late at night at 2a.m. to manage both his American and British businesses and to make sure he checks in on his family, his 15-hour workday is possible because he sees to it he blocks his weekends off.
“My flagship restaurant in Chelsea has never been open on a Saturday and Sunday — it’s never been open on a weekend, because I thought if we’re going to do this, I’d like to do this properly, so my staff needs time off, so I work hard, but I give myself time off on the weekend. I cut it off, and power down for 48 hours.”
– Gordon Ramsay
Effective time management can have a hugely positive impact – not just on an employee’s work and life in general, but more importantly, in a business’ overall performance as well. Developing time management skills for work can do wonders and might even address problems you never thought it would.