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Does your team lack time management skills?

By Gabriele Kaier, 22.03.2017, Approx. 5 min reading time.

Or do they just have attention management issues? Many leaders think that their team lacks time management skills and contact a productivity trainer to pimp up their team’s time management techniques. But often it gets clear that the team doesn’t need any tips but instead, a work environment where they can better focus. Find here some insights on building your team’s success.

Many leaders think that their team lacks time management skills and contact a productivity trainer to pimp up their team’s time management techniques. But often it gets clear that the team doesn’t need any tips but instead, a work environment where they can better focus. Expert Maura Thomas, speaker and trainer for corporate productivity, attention management, and work-life balance provides some insights on building your team’s success.

How you can support focused work:

Reduce interruptions – create the right work environment

  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. The right and productive work culture doesn’t happen just so, you need a plan and a strategy. If you are a leader and think that your employees might be struggling with time management issues examine first the issues above. As a first step you need to investigate the company’s culture around attention management. All solutions won’t stick unless leaders address the underlying culture issues. TimeTac develops and provides web-based and mobile time tracking systems optimally customized to the needs of your company. The scope of our solutions is to improve productivity by providing the optimal tools to track employee time, and absences, as well as track time and resources spent on projects.
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