People who work in a department—whether it be a government agency, a corporation, or even if you’re working as an individual contractor—want to be as productive as they can be. Because that means they’re getting their job done well and fulfilling their responsibilities.
On the other side of the coin, those same people also want to be efficient because that means they’re being as economical as possible with their time and resources. So what are some steps managers can take to help employees maximize productivity and efficiency? Here are eight tips:
1. Don’t overload them with too many projects at once
It’s common for employees to have multiple projects going at one time. It’s also common for them to enjoy doing that because it offers variety, and they like having something new to work on. But sometimes that can lead to trouble concerning efficiency and productivity. If they juggle too many projects at once, their efforts might be spread too thin, resulting in not accomplishing any of the tasks well. Or there may only be enough time left over for an average job, rather than a superior one, defeating the purpose of working extra hard.
So managers should try to limit the number of simultaneous assignments employees have going at once and focus on giving them one solid undertaking instead of dividing and conquering multiple tasks (unless it benefits everyone involved). With comprehensive time studies and good operations management practices, managers can determine how many projects workers should be handling at any time and appropriately distribute assignments to them.
2. Don’t overload them with outside demands
In addition to the internal tasks employees have, they may also be dealing with demands from their personal lives. Family responsibilities, social obligations, and other commitments can take up a lot of time. And if managers are constantly bombarding them with more work on top of that, it can be too much for them to handle. It’s important to understand that employees have a life outside of work and try not to add too many extra duties to their plate. That way, they’ll be able to focus on their job and do it well without feeling overwhelmed.
3. Delegate responsibility effectively
A big part of maximizing productivity is delegation—assigning tasks to different individuals so that it allows them all to function as a team. But delegation can only be effective if it’s done correctly. Managers need to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of their employees and give tasks accordingly. They also need to make sure everyone is on the same page about what needs to be done, how it should be done, and when it needs to be completed. If these things aren’t taken into account, then confusion and chaos will ensue, leading to wasted time and effort.
4. Encourage them to take breaks
Working non-stop for hours on end is not only ineffective, but it can also be dangerous both physically and mentally. Employees need time away from their work to refresh their minds and bodies to return with a fresh perspective. That’s why managers need to encourage their subordinates to take time off when they need it, whether that means going for a walk or just sitting in their car with the radio on for 10 minutes. If time is spent resting, then time will be saved in the end because employees will have more energy and focus when they’re back at work again.
5. Train them properly
It goes without saying that time must be spent teaching employees how to do their jobs properly. However, managers should ensure that only essential training is done initially so that time isn’t wasted unnecessarily. Once recruits are up-to-speed on the basics, they can learn more advanced techniques over time through specialized training courses or by shadowing other, more experienced employees.
6. Schedule time for meetings carefully
If time isn’t used correctly, it can lead to trouble. That includes time spent in meetings, which can be very beneficial if done correctly but incredibly wasteful if not. So before scheduling any get-togethers with employees, managers need to ask themselves two questions: Does this meeting need to happen? And is everyone available at that time? If the answers are no and no again, then perhaps rescheduling would be best so time isn’t wasted while someone is yapping away ineffectively about something that could be resolved just as easily over email or a one-on-one chat.
7. Encourage them to solve problems on their own first
Employees don’t need to run every little problem they encounter by their managers first. They can certainly ask for help when necessary, but some issues would be better handled independently. For example, if an employee thinks they’ve found a way to do their job more efficiently, then it should be up to them to try it out and see what happens before reporting back with the results. That way, time isn’t wasted discussing something that could have already been resolved.
8. Improve workplace morale
Having high morale is one of the keys to maximizing time management efficiency in the workplace. Managers should always make time for fun activities like group lunches, parties, and games because played correctly, these things improve morale and strengthen team unity and boost creativity.
When time is spent more productively, everyone benefits—from employees and managers to the company as a whole. By following these tips, time will always be used effectively and efficiently so that more time can be saved for life outside of work.