Does Your Team Lack Time Management Skills?
by Gabriele Kaier, 22.03.2017
You are probably familiar with the saying "time is money". Successful time management is essential for a thriving business. Priorities are set in advance and goals are set, but still the deadlines don't work out? Stress is inevitable. We present methods on how to effectively manage time in your company.
Methods for Focused Work
Time management is a much-used term. On the one hand, self-management is an important part of it, on the other hand, deadlines often fall victim to the lack of rules in the company. Many managers think that their team has time management problems and bring in a trainer to teach their team tips and techniques around time management. Many think that the problem is solved with lists of priorities and goals. But it quickly turns out that the team doesn’t need time management tips at all. What they would need first and foremost, on the other hand, is an environment where they can focus to perform at their best. Expert Maura Thomas, an international and award-winning speaker and trainer on business productivity, attention management, and work-life balance, gives you some approaches to this, which we have summarized for you in this post.
How You Can Support Focused Work:
Time management skills do not work if your team members have to jump from task to task. One reason for interruptions is that your team has to respond immediately to customers. However, if they are constantly on alert, they have no chance to give their sustained attention in order to be creative, make decisions, or get the right information and improve communication.
What’s the problem:
- Incoming communication with the same level of presumed urgency
- Leadership mandate to respond “timely”, this is not realistic
- Constant monitoring of messages
- Therefore, every other tasks are tackled intermittently
What you can do to solve the problem:
- Free up high-impact employees and divert customer or client-facing issues to dedicated customer-service personnel
- Create a realistic response window, such as four hours or one business day, perhaps with an auto-responder instructing clients to call when a timely response is required.
Clarify Your Communication Practice
When every communication tool is used in every situation, your staff has no way to vet the incoming communication. So they have to check everything as it arrives, which means constant distraction.
What’s the problem:
- Your employees have no clear instructions, which communication channel is appropriate in which situation
- You have to check all incoming communications, because you cannot identify if the issues are trivial or critical
What you can do:
- Direct your customers how to communicate with you on urgent matters, for example by using an auto-responder or a line in your email signatures
- Ensure that there is no need to respond to your internal communication immediately.
- Offer guidelines that are flexible yet specific regarding how to use your company’s communication channels.
Realize That Monitoring Internal Systems Is Still Work, Even If There Is Rarely an Emergency
Do you have team members, for example IT managers, who have to monitor constantly an IT system and they can never unplug? Employees who must constantly check in never truly get downtime.
What’s the problem:
- Monitoring internal systems is still work, even if there is rarely emergency
- The employee’s mind will be engaged in work all the time, this means high stress and not the best output
- Downtime and vacation are critical. Employees without breaks cannot recharge and thus, are not productive. They even are on risk to get a burnout.
How to address the problem:
- Ensure, that everyone in your team has a trusted backup
- Trusted backup means also no risk for your company in case the employee leaves
As a leader you want to increase productivity and reduce stress. In order to succeed you have to create a company culture which reduces interruptions and teaches your team to better manage their attention.