Productivity is not something that comes with being busy. There is a common misconception that if you increase the number of hours, then it will enhance your productivity. But, that’s not true! Because productivity has nothing to do with increasing the working hours.
According to a study done by Gallup, employee engagement matters a lot for business productivity.
Productivity is no doubt quite critical for the success of any business. There are different strategies that businesses use to improve the productivity of their employers in which time management is on top of the list.
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” – Michael Altshuler
It’s not rocket science to increase productivity at work. If employees work smartly by taking care of the time they spend at work, then it becomes easy for them to boost their productivity at work.
Here are some key time management activities that help to improve employee productivity at work
1 – Keep Them Away from Interruptions
There is only a limited number of working hours a day, a handful of interruption can easily rob your time and makes you unproductive. So, consider them a serious threat to productivity.
Do you know that it takes more than 20 minutes for a person to get back to the task after a distraction?
Well, that’s too much time!
A study done by UC Irvine confirms that it takes more than 20 minutes to deal with a single distraction.
Unnecessary interruptions can drop the productivity level of employees. One of the bigger factors that increase interruption is the use of social media. We can’t simply ask them to avoid phone, but encourage them to turn their mobile off for a certain time so that they can concentrate better on work.
2 – Track Their Time of Tasks
Either you are a manager or an executive, knowing where your time goes matters a lot for productivity. For that, the best way is to track your time using time tracking software.
Time tracking is one of the best activities of time management at work. It helps to capture everything you do while working. Knowing everything is being captured continuously, helps employees to show the maximum productivity. Time tracking shows the exact amount of time you get distracted and which things slow you down. Apart from collecting time data, these apps also present helpful reports that can be used to identify the trouble areas.
By tracking the time of each employee, you not only keep yourself away from the guesswork of how much time every employee utilized at work but also get a clear picture of how much time a single project will take because you know the capabilities of your team very well.
3 - Set Prioritization among Tasks
Task prioritization is quite effective to achieve tasks on time. Many businesses are confused when prioritizing tasks, especially when it’s about “importance” and “urgency” of tasks. The best way to deal with that is to rank your tasks with respect to their urgency and importance, then assign time to each task accordingly.
In case if you have more than one important task then you should list them in the form of sequence and tick them off one by one once finished. It enables you to tackle your important tasks first so that you can move towards other routine jobs.
Task prioritization not only increases productivity but also keep employees motivated as well. When they see the positive outcomes, their motivation towards handling more tasks will increase, which will automatically enhance their productivity.
4 - Ask Them to Finish All Unpleasant Task First
Many employees don’t like to work first on the tasks that they don’t like even if they are important. It is not the right strategy because it tends to occupy space in their mind.
Instead of this, if employees spend some time in the morning planning how to handle all the unpleasant tasks of the day, then it will not only help them complete those tasks with ease but also makes them stress-free to handle other jobs more confidently.
5 - Ask them to identify their Personal Productivity Rhythm
It can be done by asking employees to write everything they do in the entire 24 hours of the day. It helps to recognize the top and low performing hours of each employee throughout the day because every person has unique productivity cadences.
Doing this, it becomes easy for them to work the most in the hours when they feel most vibrant and can take breaks when they feel low at work so that they can achieve more by spending less time.
6 - Make Them Realize the Importance of Time Using Ribbon Cutting
Ask all your employees to gather at a single place, then show them a ribbon of 100 centimeters. Now, first cut that ribbon till its length equals to the average lifespan. After that, trim away the average age of the entire group so that you can show them the time that is left from the entire lifespan.
Continue the ribbon-cutting process keeping all the activities that are not related to work such as spending time with family, time utilized while sleeping, etc. In the end, you will be left with a short ribbon that you can show they to let them comprehend that time spent while working is quite limited so make the most out of that time.
7 - Provide them Buffer-time Between Tasks
Do you know that the human brain can only focus for 90 to 120 minutes at a time?
The human brain has a normal tendency to work continuously for almost 120 minutes. After that, a quick break is necessary in order to deliver the work with the same efficiency.
Keeping employees busy throughout the day can diminish their focus and motivation at work. That’s why it’s better to allow them some down-time between tasks so that they feel refreshed.
It helps them to do some mind-clearing exercise so that they can get back to other tasks with more energy and enthusiasm.
8 - Provide them Comprehensive Training
It’s quite clear that a better-trained employee is a more productive employee as compared to an employee with limited skills. Offering additional training to employee let them comprehend their job better so that they make fewer mistakes.
Providing comprehensive training not only enhances the image of the company in the eyes of employees but also boosts their morale and job satisfaction as well.
If your employees have a certain weakness that can hinder their performance, then training is a good starting point to address their deficiencies. Comprehensive training also makes them feel more confident to make decisions on the fly.
9 - Discourage Multitasking At Work
Many studies confirm that multitasking is not an effective way to handle tasks because it divides attention. With distributed attention, it becomes tough for employees to deliver their best because they can’t focus properly.
Attempting to perform different tasks at a time can increase the level of stress in the body which can lead to negative consequences like low performance, employee absence, etc.
When an employee tries to juggle two tasks at a time, the chances are that they end up underperforming both the tasks because multitasking can increase mistakes instead of getting them done instantly. That’s why it’s better to concentrate on one task at a time so that it can be done with perfection.
10 – Communicate With Employees Effectively
The business that invests time into delivering clear communication will rapidly build trust among employees, on the other hand, the business that lacks open communication between managers and employees have to face issues related to productivity.
Good communication with employees not only helps to eliminate the misunderstanding, but also promotes a healthy working environment as well because “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.”
It is very important for managers to have effective communication among employees so that there will be no communication gap because it restricts an employee’s ability to understand things. Using this approach, employee productivity increases because they feel directly associated with the organization’s mission and goals.
11 - Set Realistic Goals for Employees
Employees will be more productive if they have an achievable goal to aim for. Goal setting helps employees self-motivated and build confidence in their ability to succeed. Once you have set goals in place, establish a measurement system where employees can keep track of their own individual performance.
When employees don’t meet their goals then either they give up or stressed out themselves. That’s why it is better to set reasonable goals according to the capabilities of employees.
Setting meaningful goals for your business and employees can drive better performance and higher productivity. It can also encourage employees to collaborate and work as a team.
12 - Listen to Them
Listening to your employees is also important to improve their productivity. It helps to let the organization know what’s holding their employees back so that they can tell them where they need to improve.
Employees who feel listened to are more attached to the employer as compared to other employees. They show more motivation and engagement in doing their best for the company.
When organizations show their employees that they are ready to listen to them whenever they want, then it creates a sense of comfort in the mind of employees, which in turn leads to the faster accomplishment of tasks.
13 - Promote a Work-Life Balance
Creating a balance between work and life will not only improve employee’s well-being but also leads them towards a productive lifestyle.
Sometimes, it’s overworking that kills the productivity of employees. If your employees spend too much time in the office, then it can interrupt their work-life balance. That’s why it is necessary to ensure that employees don’t spend a lot of time in the office because instead of getting more done they will end up wasting time.
If your employee is sacrificing a lot of time for the sake of work, then there is a strong chance that they will experience health-related issues soon. That’s why the best is to ensure the right balance between work and life so that they can easily maintain their productivity.
14 - Schedule Quiet Hours for Employees
Collaboration in the team regarding work is quite common among many organizations, but it’s not effective every time because sometimes what it needs is some private space to think about complex tasks.
So, now you realize the significance of quiet hours for employees and how it helps them think in a more better way towards complex projects. You can also get the benefit from this by offering quiet hours to your employees.
15 - Avoid Unnecessary Meetings
Meetings can be extremely effective for sharing ideas and finding solutions to the problems together, but they can also be a huge drain of time, if not utilized properly.
Don’t ask the employees to attend the meeting who has nothing to do with it because it ends up wasting their time which they can easily utilize on their task sheet.
If the meeting has no agenda, then there is no need to arrange a meeting for employees because it will only waste their time. Therefore, make sure to fix a meeting that adds value to employees, where they can discuss issues to find appropriate solutions.
16 - Activities of Yesterday
Ask your employees to write three to five topics that they like to discuss in the next performance evaluation. After they write the topics, ask them to write eight to ten activities they work on yesterday.
Once they have done with that, ask them to mention the link between topics and activities. It will help to identify how much time your employees are spending on activities that contribute towards the topics and which activities don’t add any value to the mentioned topics.
Summing It Up
A workplace that is full of stress can never produce productive employees because employees can’t produce their best work in such conditions. The time management activities discussed in this article will not only help to improve employee productivity but also helps them manage their work before time. So, start implementing these activities to improve time management from today and enjoy reaping amazing benefits.