Employee Time Management- 5 Software Solutions To Improve Productivity
How Does Employee Time Management Help a Business?
How to run a profitable business? Apart from using the right products and technology, it is extremely important to use time judiciously and optimally and plan and execute tasks well. Time is an irreplaceable asset, more valuable than money, because you can always regain money lost but not time.
An organization that has mastered the art of time management has unlocked the secret of success. The stakes are even higher for small businesses. These operations can have their projects nipped in the bud because of poor time management, when employees cut work or slack off, and are underproductive and inefficient.
Effective time management essentially involves planning and exercising control over the time spent on specific activities, with a focus on smart work rather than merely hard work. Acing time management skills helps employees become more efficienct and strike a better work life balance. Management should do what it can to this end, helping employees achieve this goal for better outcomes and reduced stress all around.
The following advantages of employee time and task management can be clearly identified-
1. Improvement in performance- Devoting definite blocks of time every day for the most important tasks will give employee a clearer understanding of what is expected of them, and how much time is needed to fulfill those expectations. It will also alert them to distractions that can slow them down.
Following a strict schedule will prevent them from dawdling, trying to figure out what to work on, putting in superfluous labor, or indeed putting off work altogether. If employees can manage time well, they will be able to focus on the most essential and necessary tasks and winnow out the chaff, so to speak.
2. Regular meeting of deadlines- When employees are able to prioritize tasks and allocate a finite amount of time to each task, their brain is rewired to complete those tasks within a set timeframe.
3. Better quality of work- Constantly racing against deadlines can lower the standard of work. Yet, deadlines are important, for not having them would prevent the organization from achieving its targets. Proper time management helps an employee tick off tasks that are urgent and important on time, while not compromising on quality.
4. Less stress and calm personal life- When one has their priorities listed out, and their workflow is under control, they can significantly cut down on stress and enjoy life outside the workplace. With more time for leisure, an employee will always be fresh and ready to give their hundred percent.
5. Reduced procrastination- With clear goals in mind, and better control of the workload, employees will not feel the need to put off work. Therefore, with proper time management workplace culture will improve.
6. Better scope for career growth- Employees who can juggle various tasks, and yet submit them within the due date, and without letting quality suffer, will be highly valued in the organization, and in the industry as a whole. It will also instil confidence in other employees, who will be motivated to hone their own time management skills and not hesitate to take on newer responsibilities.
Business owners should, therefore, cultivate a workplace that understands the value of adopting time management techniques.
Employee Engagement in US-Canada Worrisome: Gallup's State of the Global Workplace- 2021 Report found that two-thirds of U.S. employees and 4 out of 5 Canadian employees are not engaged in work, and are doing the bare minimum to get their salaries, or working against the interests of the employer.
Time Management Tips For Every Type of Operation
1. Prioritization- It is always wise to list tasks according to their decreasing order of urgency. Employees should be encouraged to get the most time-sensitive tasks out of the way first. This will help management identify the less important tasks over which an employee has been wasting time. It will also help in a fuller stock-taking and better planning. Common Scheduling and project management tools are handy in this area. They help a company set its priorities right from the get go.
2. Set clear expectations and SMART goals- Erratic communication and uncertain strategy puts workers in a reactive mode. They feel overwhelmed by too much work, don't know how to prioritize, have trouble saying 'no' even when their plates are full, and postpone work. Sensitive management knows when employee performance declines. It interacts with staff to hear about their difficulties and find the best ways to overcome them.
Moreover, goals must be smart, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). The organization should be asking questions like 'What are our targets for next year?' and 'How much revenue should we earn this month to stay financially healthy?'
3. Prepare realistic plans- Once plans are in place, a feasible deadline can also be worked out. However, every organization must guard against setting over-ambitious and unreasonable goals that tend to demotivate employees and bring the quality of work down. As rightly said by author Brian Tracy, "Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1,000 percent Return on Energy."
4. Cut out distractions and allow proper breaks- Chatty workers, smartphones, social media, and too many smoke and snack breaks are major distractions that hurt productivity. According to a Think Money study, one-third of the employees surveyed said that distractions cost them at least three hours every workday. Furthermore, by allowing well-scheduled breaks, management can ensure that employees stay productive over longer periods and tasks get done without hassle.
5. Regular time audit- According to a study by Rescue Time, a large part of employee work time goes into handling emails, attending meetings, and so on. A time audit, in this regard, can show team members how they use their time. This involves employees jotting down their intentions and beliefs about how they spend time at work. This is then matched against their actual work pattern, and it is seen that the difference is usually huge.
Employee time tracking and auditing doesn't necessarily mean policing the workforce, but helps answer key questions, like how well is employee time aligned with the most vital tasks; what are the major distractions; what tasks take more/less time than anticipated; and so on.
6. Train team to improve time management- Often, team leaders assign the shortest possible time to get a job done. They then assume the outcome will go according to plan, even though they are aware of the difficulties in attaining the 'ideal'. Employees are under great stress trying to meet such stiff deadlines.
Having identified the hindrances to efficiency through a time audit, team leaders should impart time management training to their employees, so they can plan their time better. This involves breaking down work into manageable chunks or deliverables.
7. Identify tasks that can be dropped- The management needs to ask if the systems it has put in place are actually hurting employee productivity. For instance, too many meetings and emailing can eat up a lot of time that could otherwise be devoted to employees' core responsibilities.
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Modern Tools to Improve Time and Task Management
Time management is easier to achieve with a modern tool like employee time tracking software than with manual checklists. With an employee time tracking app, team leaders can better manage employee schedules.
Cloud-based systems to track time enable Employee Schedule management in real time, from a variety of gadgets, and from anywhere in the world. Efficient Employee Scheduling can help in reducing Labor Costs. Proper scheduling also ensures that the managers do not fall foul of Employment Law, especially regarding overtime.
A time tracking tool is something no organization can do without today. Without it, no leader can know how their team is utilizing its time; which tasks take how much time; and how to stop time wastage. Time tracking solutions allow a company to save both, time and money.
A Time Clock, therefore, needs to be closely monitored to track Employee Performance, Employee Productivity, Employee Absenteeism, and generally ensure that the company's Human Resources are in tune with the Company Culture.
Tracking time on a shared interface ensures transparency and teamwork, and employees know precisely what is expected of them. Time tracking software provides a bird's eye view of the Employee Time data across projects, without having management jump from one project to another, making staff Performance Management considerably easy.
The five best time and task management software solutions in the market are listed below . . .
1. Task Management Software- Zip Checklist
This task management tool offered by Hubworks helps create standard operating procedure (SOP) task lists for managers, supervisors, and employees. These SOP lists can be updated while keeping employees informed. Real time syncing ensures that teams always have the most up-to-date checklists.
Shared to-do lists help delegate tasks between different departments, and ensure no team or employee is overworked. Printed employee productivity reports allow management to make checklist refinements and train the staff to manage their time and tasks better.
The task lists can be accessed on any device, like a desktop or laptop, tablet, or smartphone, and the status of shared tasks can be seen in real time on the mobile task manager app.
Zip Checklist software allows users to set task reminders with due dates. Task status notifications are received in real time, with alerts sent for upcoming and overdue tasks. Managers can assign tasks to any staff member on the go.
The standard Zip Checklist subscription costs $29.99 per location, monthly. The software comes with task list templates, task accountability tools, task communication tools, task list reports, task organizer, and free support.
No Time for Time Management: According to a 2021 study by Development Academy (an organization that provides professional development training), 82% of respondents said they did not have a proper time management system, and either used a list, email inbox, or nothing whatsoever.
2. Task Management Software- RescueTime
This app runs in the background on a mobile device and points out what an employee is spending time on. It helps identify major distractions, and to what extent they affect work.
The app blocks those distractions and reports on how well the employee is now able to focus. It tracks what the employee is working on, and marks the best periods of uninterrupted work. It alerts employees when they lose focus or try to bite off more than they can chew.
RescueTime's reports help employees understand where their time is really going. Using that information, they can strategize better and improve their work life balance.
RescueTime plans start at $6.50 per month. The app also provides the option of a free trial for two weeks.
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3. Task Management Software- ProofHub
This time tracking system offers a slew of project management and team collaboration features that makes sure employees are always in control of their schedules. It helps project teams improve their time management techniques and meet deadlines, while keeping the standard of work intact.
The software allows the addition of multiple timesheets to record data and use them for tasks like client billing, payroll processing, and management accounting. It saves money by tracking the efficiency of team members.
The software is priced at $89/month billed annually, and $99/month billed monthly for the 'Ultimate Control' version. The 'Essential' version costs $45/month billed annually or $50/month billed monthly.
ProofHub lets managers set time estimates for various tasks. It points out when the actual time taken on a task exceeds, or is less than the time limit set. Other features include custom time reports of people and projects, and the option to export and archive timesheets. ProofHub offers a 14-day free trial.
4. Task Management Software- Toggl Plan
This software offers a fluid overview of a team's projects and plans, making it easy to monitor their progress and respond quickly to changes. Toggl Plan's visual roadmap keeps everyone on the same page, and builds strong team coordination and collaboration.
Toggl Plan can be connected to other online tools with the help of the Chrome extension. This makes flexibility an important feature of this software solution.
The cost of the team plan is $8 per user per month, and is ideal for small teams looking for simple task management. The business plan is priced at $13.35 per user per month, and is suited for teams that work with external stakeholders that have to export project data for reports. Both plans come with the option of a free 14-day trial.
5. Task Management Software- Trello
Trello allows users the option of creating detailed cards for tasks they want to complete or assign to team members.
As tasks are started, worked upon, and completed, the task cards can be moved across the Trello board. Each board can be divided into columns with titles like To Do, In Progress, and Completed.
Trello boards can be customized by adding images (for example, client logos), or assigning colors to particular responsibilities and accomplishments. Trello cards contain checklists, deadlines, attachments, conversations, and much more.
Apps that a team already uses, like Google Drive, Dropbox, or Slack, can be easily integrated into the Trello workflow. Alternatively, power-ups can be added to deal with specific needs. Trello's built-in automation helps cut down the number of tedious tasks and clicks, and focus instead on work that counts.
This software solution comes with four pricing options- free, standard ($5 per user per month billed annually), premium ($10 per user per month billed annually), and enterprise ($17.50 per user per month billed annually). The free trial is available for the Trello Premium plan.