Your business is only as successful as your team is productive. But when it comes to bolstering team productivity, time management is just as critical as other factors, like employee training, using the right tools, and so on.
As an executive or business owner, you have the power to help your team’s productivity by promoting and enforcing strong time management. If you’re not sure where to start, read on – we’ll break down seven key time management tips you can leverage to improve productivity and business efficiency across the board.
Set a Consistent Schedule
To immediately improve time management at the workplace, set a consistent schedule that all your team members must adhere to. The best way to make sure everyone is on the same time management page is to set out a schedule for the executive.
To do this, send out an official office memo or a deadline note breaking down:
- When projects are due
- When team leads or team members need to check in with you (see more about this below)
- When team members can access certain tools or resources
- Anything else you may need to schedule
Whatever you do, make sure the schedule is consistent and predictable. The more predictable your work schedule is, the better your employees will be able to navigate through their work without tripping over other teams or wasting time.
“Setting a consistent schedule ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding time management and project deadlines. This way, there won’t be any miscommunications regarding when things are due or which team is responsible for which deadline or benchmark,” says Justin Soleimani, Co-Founder of Tumble.
Use a Shared Communication/Project Management Platform
The next important tip is beneficial both for time management and for overall productivity: enforcing the use of a shared communication and/or project management platform.
This tip is even more crucial for remote or hybrid workplaces, as everyone needs to use the same software or communication platform to ensure messages are sent and received consistently. “Many workplaces quickly discover the perils of letting everyone pick their own communication software,” says Christian Kjaer, CEO of ElleVet. “Companies realize they have to centralize everything to prevent constant tech hiccups or communication problems.”
By using a shared communication or project platform, your team:
- Will have access to the same information and data no matter where they work (i.e., in the office or at home)
- Will be able to send messages to each other quickly and easily without having to hunt for separate contact information or download new applications
- Will easily be able to check in with each other’s progress or deadlines
- And more
For example, try using a dedicated project management software platform like Trello. Then make sure everyone on your team has that app downloaded and uses it exclusively.
If you have a hybrid or remote work team and you need video conferencing software, enforce the use of a software platform like Zoom or Skype. The key here is to prevent team members from downloading their favorite software or using multiple applications at once.
“The more applications your team uses, the more time they’ll waste over communicating, transferring files to each other, or making sure that files are translatable between different platforms,” Jae Pak, Founder of Jae Pak MD Medical says.
Try Time Tracking Software
You can also use software to more directly manage the time of your team members. Time tracking software can be installed on every workplace computer. Once it’s up and running, it will tell you:
- How long the terminal is used for
- Who logs into the computer
- What the user spends their time doing
This information can be highly important if your workplace suffers from cyberslacking. In other words, if your employees spend too much time surfing the Internet or chatting, time tracking software will help you crack down on this behavior by identifying the worst offenders.
That said, time tracking software can also diminish trust in your leadership style or in the workplace overall. So you should use time tracking software sparingly or only when it’s necessary.
Jin Young Woo, CEO of Like Dreams says, “If you do have to use time tracking software, make sure your team members know the reasons for that switch. This way, they’ll understand that the time tracking software is only there to make sure they manage their time wisely, not to observe or spy on them during workplace hours.”
You should also not leverage time tracking software for only a few employees. If you choose to bring time tracking software into the mix, you need to use it for everyone, including yourself. Such a move showcases trust in your employees in general and highlights the fact that the time tracking software is meant to improve time management, not punish a few slackers.
Foster a Collaborative Work Environment
As a business leader or owner, you are in charge of fostering a collaborative, helpful work environment. Generally, more work gets done, and your team will encounter fewer delays, when they collaborate well with each other and when team members share information freely.
This doesn’t always happen organically in some workplaces. Therefore, you need to make sure your team members:
- Are comfortable working with each other
- Know that they can ask each other for help or assistance
- Have access to the same resources
All of this starts at the top with your behavior. Don’t favor certain teams, and make sure you spend time with everyone as equally as possible. The more collaborative you act, the more collaborative your team members will be as they emulate your professional style.
You can also hold occasional training seminars or classes breaking down collaboration techniques and benefits. Robbie Singh, CEO of Predecessor Game says, “Making collaboration a priority in the workplace will eventually result in a culture shift that should improve time management, particularly for large projects that require the effort of multiple groups of people or teams.”
Have Regular Check-Ins
Regular check-ins with team members, and especially team leads, are important for maximizing workplace productivity. Regular check-ins:
- Force team members or project leads to have updates ready to go and to continue working to meet these little deadlines
- Ensure that you stay abreast of project developments and aren’t taken by surprise by any sudden delays or issues
On a broader scale, regular check-ins with your team members give you the perfect chance to ask whether those employees need more time or resources. Simply having more information enables you to make wiser business decisions, thereby improving office productivity.
Say that one of your teams is suffering due to a lack of data. They need that data to accurately forecast marketing performance. If you check in with that team regularly, you’ll know this and can get them access to the data they need to maintain their productivity goals.
Give Your Team the Freedom to Decline Non-Priority Tasks
Let’s face it: even the most productive workplaces oftentimes have lots of non-priority tasks that divert attention away from the stuff that really matters. If you want to improve time management across the board, you should give your team the freedom to decline those nonessential tasks whenever necessary.
Dan Potter, Head of Digital at CRAFTD London says, “It’s nice to organize workplace files or to host a meeting updating the entire office on the status of a new project. But if neither of those tasks is necessary, let your team manage their time in the way that works best for them.”
If the work really has to get done, handle it yourself or assign it to a team member who isn’t as swamped with necessary work. As an added benefit, giving your team this kind of freedom will show that you trust them and improve their satisfaction in the workplace as well.
Cut Down on Unneeded Meetings
Lastly, do your part to boost time management as a leader and reduce or eliminate any unnecessary meetings. Do you really need to meet with every team member every day in the morning, when productivity is usually at its highest? Probably not.
Any unnecessary meetings simply eat into office time, make everyone bored, and may even make some employees resent going to work. Instead, only host meetings that are 100% necessary and that are relevant to the day’s objectives.
This goes double for any remote or video conferencing meetings. For a variety of reasons, videoconferencing meetings tend to take longer than their in-person counterparts (partially due to the time delays associated with getting everyone on a video call, with lagging voice chat, etc.).
All in all, these seven tips can do wonders to save time and improve productivity. By trying even one of the above tips, you’ll find that your team is more productive than ever and that your business has more time to accomplish key objectives than before.
Want to maximize productivity? Combine all seven tips into a comprehensive time management policy and you’ll see major benefits in no time!