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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.
For instance, have you ever gotten cornered in the hallway by another employee gripping or telling irrelevant stories? We all have. But these insignificant disruptions can steal valuable time at work.
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 training model.
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 discussing 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. After your organization understands this expectation, meetings will no longer exceed the desired end time.
2. Minimize Distractions
The fact is that 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, ensure it is conducive to productivity – and not naturally distracting. Or, if your building has some renovations taking place, work with the contractor to minimize the noise during office hours.
You might also want to consider office configuration and departments’ locations.
For example, you may not want to put the accounting office in the main hallway, which 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.
For instance, I worked for an organization that required employees to clear their desks every evening before going home. This helped us have a fresh start each morning.
Managing the clutter is a great first step in being organized.
Some suggest that the average employees waste 1.5 hours a day looking for things due to disorganization.
Calculate that cost per week, month, and year, and you can see significant lost dollars.
For instance, if an employee makes $20/hour and wastes 1.5 hours a day, that is the equivalent of (20X1.5) $30. Now multiply that $30 X 7.5 hours (1.5X5) a week, and now you are losing $225 per week. Take that $225 per week and multiply that times 52 weeks a year, and you will realize that one disorganized employee costs your business $11,700 ($225X52) per year!
Take this a step further and consider how many unorganized employees you have, which is significant.
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.
Use those employees with a natural gifting in organization to help others get organized.
For instance, identify that organizational rock star on your team and ask them to host an in-service for employees. Have them share tips, tricks, and best practices for maintaining an organized workspace.
5. Provide Computer Training
We are all busy, and allocating specific time to computer training is sometimes difficult.
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.
For instance, if your business is upgrading its accounting software, make sure that a representative from that company does some personalized training for staff.
Investing in training is always money well spent!
Make it standard practice to avoid the roll-out of new software without first training those using it.
This will save the users lots of valuable time, distractions, and frustrations from figuring it out independently.
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.
Managers need to be clear with expectations and provide specific goals for job completion.
For instance, if an employee is putting together information for the board report, ensure they know that the report is due and the importance of submitting it on time.
Employees Want To Do a Good Job
Employees go to work with the intention of doing a good job.
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 is rewarded for doing a good job.
When you provide a little help, structure, and training for personal time management, you will equip employees to get more done while at work.
There are lots of great time management books on Amazon. Find one for your personal library and see how it helps you help your employees!
What are some tricks that you use to manage time at work better?