You have great communication skills, problem-solving initiative and be a team player and still fall short of expectations.
Without effective time management, employees are unlikely to impress.
For such an important skill - in both the personal and professional spheres - it’s surprising that it’s so overlooked. In this guide, we hope to remedy that, and provide you with the ins and outs of effective time management in teams.
When you take the time to monitor remote employees with a work tracker like Insightful, you can upgrade the whole team’s time management skills. But first, you need to troubleshoot the biggest problems.
Problem #1 Communication Breakdown
Everything starts with clear communication. Right from the beginning. If you clearly explain to each team member what you expect from them at the job interview and during the onboarding/training process, your work is already half done. And this practice should extend throughout the entire time they’re in your team.
One of the most common oversights is failing to set clear goals and deadlines. Which project are we working on? What’s the main objective? What specific tasks do we have to do? How do they relate to each other? When is the project due? If your employees can’t answer every single one of these questions, they won’t be able to coordinate and you’ll end up having to explain the whole thing again two days before the deadline.
You can see how time efficiency isn’t possible here.
Solution: Weekly Meetings
If your team is suffering from regular communication breakdowns, you can solve this with a weekly one-hour meeting and the proper implementation of a work time tracker. After this, you can use this software to break projects into smaller manageable chunks, plan how much time you’ll need for each one, set the final deadline, and track everyone’s progress.
With a work tracker app like Insightful you can see what’s holding you up and solve the problems immediately, whether it’s the fact that Nathan doesn’t know how to use Google Drive or Samantha spending a bit too much time on Instagram. Communicating to them what you need them to do and when will ensure they stay on track.
These meetings present the perfect opportunity to clarify every facet of the project in advance, and each team member’s role in its completion - leaving little room for miscommunication.
Problem #2 Task Mismanagement
Another problem that can arise with time management is poor delegation.
If your employees don’t know who’s supposed to do what, you can end up in a situation whereby tasks are repeated or forgotten.
Similarly, you might be tempted to take on too much work yourself thinking that you’ll do it faster than your employees. This is more often than not extremely stressful and ineffective.
If there’s a distinct lack of clarity over who on your team is responsible for which tasks, it’s almost certain that they’ll be unsure of how to prioritize their time effectively.
Solution: Task Assignment
Work time tracker app eliminates this threat by letting you monitor remote employees to see exactly who is working on which task. Analyzing the data from online time management software will let you see who’s doing one type of task well, who’s struggling with certain platforms so that you can give them further support and so on.
Project time tracking software will make the delegation process smooth and well-informed, and you’ll see your team’s time management get better in no time.
Problem #3 Inaccurate Estimates
When the question of project duration comes up, you might be perfectly ready to give an answer to your client. Maybe you tell them the best case scenario, or the worst, or you add a week or two to how much a similar project took you last time just so you can maybe surprise them by finishing early.
This may be a great way to deal with clients but it will put your team through hell if you over- or underestimate the time you’ll need. Overestimate and your employees will go straight into vacation mode when they see they have time; underestimate and you’ll cause them undue stress.
Solution: Time Tracking
This is where Insightful and similar hour tracking software comes into play. With an hours keeping app, you can measure the time each task takes your team to finish very accurately. Planning your future projects according to this objective data will make your estimates much more realistic and your team will be more focused, less stressed and ultimately more efficient.
Problem #4 Laissez-Faire Leadership
The last two problems we’re going to discuss are two opposite extremes.
On the one hand, there’s the relaxed, laissez-faire leadership style in which you place full trust in your team and take a hands-off approach to management. After all, working in a comfortable office or from home with little pressure will magically make everyone super productive, right?
Well, not exactly.
Having a certain amount of freedom as well as time to breathe and relax is good for efficiency and productivity, but too much can quickly turn into a disaster. In this scenario, deadlines are as good as non-existent.
Solution: Clarify Expectations
While it’s perfectly reasonable to adopt a leadership style which requires less micromanagement, you still need to make sure your team has everything it needs to thrive.
Set clear expectations and deadlines for each task from the outset, and then you can sit back and track progress with your project management time tracking software. Your work tracker will help you see who’s wasting their time on unproductive activities so that you can get them back on track.
With time tracking in place, you can quickly identify potential bottlenecks or unproductive activities, allowing you to adjust deadlines and promote a healthy work-life balance for your team.
Problem #5 Impossible Expectations
On the other hand, we have a leadership style which involves insisting on tight deadlines and non-stop work. This might seem like a fantastic idea for maximizing your team’s time management, but until robots replace humans, this isn’t a recipe for sustainable productivity.
Like it or not, your employees aren’t work machines.
They all need a breather every now and then, and they definitely need a lunch break of more than 10 minutes. Don’t look at short breaks as a waste of time, but as an investment into better concentration.
Solution: Encourage Rest
Task and time tracking software can help you by collecting data on when your employees are most and least productive, which can tell you when it’s a good time to take a short break and when you should schedule the most important tasks.
If your time reporting software tells you that at one point most of your employees start wandering off into Facebook and YouTube, that’s your cue to give them a 15-minute break instead of forcing them to get back to work. If their focus is off, they’ll be slower as well. And the timer app will show you when this moment tends to happen.
Insightful’s new ‘office vs remote’ feature extends the functionality of the time tracker so you can capture and compare data from a wfh environment to the office. That way, you can help support sustainable productivity on an individual basis, based on what the numbers tell you.
Using employee time software in such a way will ensure your employees are always focused and ready to get to work. They will not only be faster, but they’ll also be happier.
Improve your Team’s Time Management Today
It’s up to you to get your team in shape and help everyone to be as productive as possible and selective with how they use their time.
But you don’t have to undertake this challenge alone.
Among the many advantages work time tracking software has to offer, it will most certainly help you improve your team’s time management skills by tracking your progress, giving you informative data and keeping your team on its track to ultimate efficiency.