These days, technical knowledge can be gained by nearly anyone if they’re dedicated enough. Getting your employees to master a new skill can be as simple as enrolling them in an online course. So what distinguishes successful renowned companies from cookie cutters is creativity and innovation.
Gone are the days when all the ideas and decisions came only from the very top of the organization. Now, more often than not, employees are the ones who are expected to be proactive and creative in problem solving.
Having a proactive employee with lots of new ideas and readiness to take initiative can seem like a dream come true. And while you should certainly encourage and foster this attitude, it could be disastrous to try and entertain every single suggestion. In business, it’s all about time management, collaboration and goals.
Managing remote work schedules well will free up your team to spend their most productive hours on new initiatives that move the needle.
In this guide we’ll explore how you can gauge your team’s capacity to handle new initiatives, and how an employee time tracker app can help guide your efforts.
Assessing Team Capacity and Workload
Before we dive into the ins and outs of managing remote work employee proactivity and how that can impact your business on an operational level, we need to discuss capacity and workload.
For an employee to thrive and act on their own initiative, you must first make the space for them to do so.
Here are two quick ways you can do that:
1. Analyze Workloads
With an employee time tracking app like Insightful, you can identify trends in individual and collective performance. This allows you to see the complete picture of productivity, and whether or not you could benefit from your team’s input on certain processes or workflows.
You can also tell at a glance if any of your team members have the bandwidth to take on additional responsibilities or initiatives, without compromising the quality of the projects they’re currently working on.
2. Make resources available
For any employee or team to plan and execute a new project, they may need the resources to do so.
Trusting a team with a new initiative if they don’t have the skills, technical know-how, or budget to execute it will only end one way. That’s why it’s important to make the necessary resources available to proactive team members, and make sure they have everything they need to succeed.
Collaboration and Team Alignment
When taking on new initiatives, it’s imperative that your team knows how to work as one.
Without the right alignment on a strategic goal level, collaboration becomes extremely challenging.
To ensure everyone is moving in the same direction from the outset you need complete buy-in from the whole team. If the proposed initiative doesn’t gel with your team’s existing priorities and goals, then it might not be the right time to introduce it.
Involve your team in the decision-making process from the start, and make it a collective effort using their feedback to course-correct along the way. This can also help create individual accountability as everyone will feel as if they owe it to the team to give it their all.
Using your time tracking solution you can find out when your team’s timelines line up. Find the common ground, whether it’s the morning or afternoon shift, and plan so that everyone can communicate updates in real-time.
When Proactivity Goes Wrong
Almost nothing is ever black and white. Proactivity, as well, falls into this huge gray area. You claim to want this attribute in your employee but the truth is that this is the case only as long as it’s convenient. And that’s OK! After all, it’s the organization and functioning of the entire team that really counts towards the success of the company.
If the new initiative works, that’s awesome! But what if it doesn’t?
According to research, employee productivity affects not only the proactive employees themselves, but also other people on the team as well as broad organizational goals. And if the new initiative clashes with just one of these factors, it might be fatal both for that idea and for the regular workflow.
There are a couple of possible negative outcomes from taking new initiative without careful consideration. For instance, an employee might take on too much work which could lead to burnout. The idea might require effort from other employees on the team which they didn’t sign up for. Or the initiative could mess up the time management and overall organization, therefore going against some of the important company goals.
It’s clear that initiatives shouldn’t be taken lightly, but what are the steps you can take to ensure your team is actually ready for a change or additional projects?
Using an Employee Time Tracker App to Test the Waters
The fact that an employee of yours had a great new idea or is willing to take on some additional side-project is highly commendable. But before you enthusiastically give a green light, double-check if that initiative can fit into the schedule and if it even makes sense within your team.
The best way to gauge how much time you can allocate to new projects is by using time tracking software for employees.
Check for Availability
If an employee is excited about an idea they have to the point of wanting to spend extra time on it, it might be smart to first consult your employee time tracker app to see if they really have that time on their hands. Spending every extra minute on a new project, regardless of how excited they might have been about it at the beginning, could result in burnout very quickly.
Avoid Schedule Clashes
Another important thing is to check whether the proposed initiative involves other team members, and if it does, whether it can fit into their regular schedule. If your time tracking software app shows a lot of empty slots that could be put to good use, the idea might be worth considering. But if their time tracking software is filled with tasks and existing projects, maybe the proactivity should best be left for another time.
Finally, even when you decide to adopt the change or take on the new project, it’s important that you still keep an eye on the progress.
Watch your time tracking software for projects closely to see that everything is going smoothly, nobody is overburdened and no other projects are suffering. Don’t forget to prioritize and don’t be afraid to pull the plug on an initiative that isn’t working.
You can also use your employee monitoring solution to adapt on the fly and identify potential bottlenecks, resource limitations, and stay on top of project scope creep. Using your time tracker as your team works on several projects allows you to constantly update your timeline, budget, and resource allocation to make sure you finish on time.
Preparing for Action
Being proactive is a sought-after quality in employees because great ideas and readiness to take initiative can benefit the whole company. But every change requires careful planning. This is where the employee time tracker app steps in. After all, time management and organization can be what separates forced exhausting time-wasting failures from great industry-changing innovation.