Time can sometimes act as a barrier to our overall success.
For example, it's perfectly normal to feel as though there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything you need to do, even with a talented team of employees at your disposal.
That’s why it's so crucial that you make good time management a priority throughout your business. After all, this means that you can easily combat procrastination or plummeting productivity rates before they begin to harm your business.
Remember: Overtime is not the answer.
Many business owners feel as though overtime is an effective way to rebuild productivity and efficiency rates within the business. After all, if your team is spending more time behind their desks, this means they’re getting more work done, right?
Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. Many studies have found that employees who work longer hours aren’t necessarily more productive. Instead, they’re more prone to burnout, distraction, and procrastination. For example, one report found that “employee output falls sharply after a 50-hour work-week, and falls off a cliff after 55 hours – so much so that someone who puts in 70 hours per week produces nothing more with those extra 15 hours.”
As such, you must find other ways to help your team make the most of their time at work instead of encouraging them to give up more of their free time.
With that in mind, here are six ways in which you can help your employees make the most of their time.
1. Use technology.
Introducing new technology and software to the workplace is one of the easiest ways to ensure that your team is making the most of their time. This is because it often means they are no longer wasting valuable minutes (or hours) on tasks that could easily be automated, such as administration or sending out invoices. This means they’ve got more time in the day to focus on other tasks relating to their actual job description.
As such, business owners should always be willing to invest in new technologies. Ideally, you should keep an eye out for industry-specific software, as it's often built to fill common gaps within your business itself. For example, if you run a HVAC (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) company, you should use hvac software. This can be used to send out invoices, manage employee schedules and speed up the customer approval process. All in all, it can be a great way to maximize productivity within your team.
2. Hire admin staff.
A recent study found that workers lose ⅓ of their time to administrative tasks – such as answering phone calls or responding to emails. While these tasks are undoubtedly important, they should not come at the expense of other duties – especially for employees in non-clerical roles.
Therefore, you can ensure employees make the most of their time at work by hiring administrative staff or a remote assistant. This way, you reduce your team’s workload without ignoring important emails or calls. Not only will this make for a more productive workplace, but it will also improve customer satisfaction rates. After all, 42% of customers expect to receive a response from a business within four hours – something which isn’t always possible when your team has 100 other tasks to do.
3. Teach good time management.
One of the easiest ways to take your employee's productivity up enough is to help them develop effective time-management skills. For example, you should encourage them to start the morning by putting together a plan for the rest of the day. This will provide them with a sense of structure that will help them stay on track toward their larger goals.
You should also encourage them to start with the tasks they find the hardest or most challenging, no matter how tempted they may be to put these off for as long as possible. There are various reasons for this. Firstly, studies suggest we’re at our most productive and focused in the morning, meaning we’re well-equipped to deal with challenges at this time. Beyond this, it also gives them plenty of time to ask for help if they need it.
4. Encourage them to take regular breaks.
Taking a break may not immediately seem an effective way to ensure your employees make the most of their time. After all, this often means they’re spending more time outside of the office or away from their desk. However, the truth is, taking regular breaks is a great way to boost productivity, as it gives your team a chance to relax and decompress.
Taking regular breaks could also be a great way to deal with challenging or complex work. This is because stepping outside of the work environment could allow us to think more clearly, meaning we’re more likely to have our “aha moments” during this time.
As such, you should encourage your team to take a break when they need one without feeling as though they have to ask each time. For example, a recent study found that “taking a five-minute ‘brain break' can increase performance and productivity in subsequent tasks by over 50%.”
Working to prevent burnout can also help ensure your team is working more effectively. After all, if your employees feel overwhelmed, overstressed, or overtired, it's impossible for them to work to the best of their abilities. As such, workplace productivity and efficiency rates are likely to plummet, which could also mean they’re more likely to make mistakes.
Furthermore, if employees feel consistently burned out within your workplace, they’re more likely to start seeking out work elsewhere. This could leave you in the midst of an employee retention crisis – meaning you’re constantly trying to fill open positions within your team, putting remaining staff on the path to burnout, too, as they’re forced to pick up the slack left by vacant positions.
There are many different ways you can tackle burnout. To begin with, you should ensure that you are delegating tasks fairly across your team. While more senior members may be able to handle larger workloads, they shouldn’t be forced to work overcapacity for long periods of time. Following this, you should also make it clear that employees can reach out if they are struggling. They should not be judged (or penalized) for asking for help – instead, you should put accommodations in place to support them.
You should also set up an employee wellness program within your company. This is a simple yet effective way to ensure their needs are met, and it can also go a long way toward keeping burnout at bay.
Provide them with opportunities to grow.
When employees feel valued and respected in the workplace, they will likely work harder. This means they’ll be spending their time more effectively, as they’re less likely to slack off or procrastinate. After all, they’ll want to impress you. As such, you must find as many ways as possible to keep your employees happy. One of the easiest ways to achieve this goal is by providing them with access to ample growth opportunities, such as mentorship schemes or in-house training programs.
After all, this way, your team feels as though they’re getting something out of the time they put into your company, as opposed to being a cog in a much bigger machine. Furthermore, this will likely incentivize your team to work harder, as they have something to work towards, whether that’s an additional qualification to add to their resume or a more senior position within your team.