Managing time at work is a challenge for everyone.
We all go to work with good intentions. However, we can all be easily distracted and pulled into things that don’t necessarily contribute to meeting objectives.
Employees can learn to manage their time with training and practice.
However, even the best time managers struggle with those inevitable time thieves.
Managers should pay attention to how work is getting done and help employees learn to manage their time.
6 Tips to Improve How Employees Manage Their Time
1. Time Management Training
There are lots of great training programs that can help us improve our time management skills.
Most of us are familiar with the infamous Franklin Covey Planner model of training.
This training is a great resource for employees who have never had time management training.
In addition, organizations should set the expectation for how employees manage their time at work.
Setting this expectation could be as simple as talking about time management in new employee orientation and discuss cultural approaches to managing time.
In addition, communicate your organization’s approach to planning effective meetings or how the internal culture is disciplined in managing time.
For example, a cultural expectation may be that meetings start and stop on time.
2. Minimize Distractions
The fact is, some people are more easily distracted than others.
Take some time to identify controllable distractions that might hinder an employee’s ability to be productive.
For example, if the office has canned music, make sure it is music conducive to productivity – and not naturally distracting.
You might also want to think about office configuration and where different departments are located.
For example, you may not want to put the accounting office on the main hallway that gets a lot of foot traffic and hallway conversations.
Assessing noise levels can go a long way in minimizing subtle distractions that may not be obvious.
3. Teach Organizational Skills
Most people work better when their workspace is organized and free from clutter.
However, being organized does not come naturally to everyone. Offer training and tips for personal organization.
Managing the clutter is a great first step is being organized.
Some suggest that the average employees waste 1.5 hours a day looking for things due to disorganization.
Calculate the cost of that per week, month, and year and you can see significant lost dollars.
Provide specific office organization training for employees to help reduce or eliminate this waste.
4. Make Organizing Fun
Provide employees with the necessary equipment or supplies to encourage organization.
For example, provide filing systems, pencil holders, organizing trays, or other office supplies.
Help employees get a system that works for them and encourage them to maintain it.
5. Provide Computer Training
We are all busy, and it is sometimes difficult to allocate specific time to computer training.
However, there can be significant time lost when someone tries to figure out a new software program, or perhaps an upgrade to a software program, without the proper training.
Investing in training is always money well spent!
Make it standard practice to avoid the roll-out of new software without first training those who will be using it.
This will save the users lots of valuable time and distractions from trying to figure it out on their own.
6. Provide Clear Direction on Priorities
Employees need to understand what is important and be clear as to when due dates are for specific tasks.
When there is no targeted due date, postponing tasks is inevitable.
It is important for managers to be clear with expectations and provide specific goals for job completion.
Employees go to work with the intention of doing a good job.
And a big part of a manager’s responsibility is to ensure the employee knows what is expected of them, has the training and resources to perform their job, and to be rewarded for doing a good job.
Providing a little help, structure, and training for personal time management will help equip employees to get more done while at work.