Unfortunately, many employees are not as productive as they can be with the time they have available to them. This doesn’t mean that employees are intentionally wasting time. Too often, they are not working as efficiently as they could be because they aren’t truly aware of how they’re spending their time.
You might ask yourself, “How can this be? How can an employee not know how he or she is spending his or her time?” The reality, however, is that although employees might think they are spending 80% or 90% of their time on their primary job function, it’s really much less. A surprising amount of time is spent on activities like e-mail, instant messaging, and administrative tasks.
By implementing a detailed time-tracking system, managers and employees can reap the following benefits:
As noted above, employees are often surprised to see how much of their time is spent on core job function activities compared with more administrative or communication tasks.
This isn’t to say that such tasks are not necessary for successful job performance, but too much time spent in meetings, on e-mail, or talking to colleagues can often cause inefficiencies.
Focusing on True Value-Add Activities
By addressing areas of inefficiency, employees can focus a greater portion of their time on true value-add activities. For example, a software developer can spend more time coding, and a copywriter can spend more time writing.
Not only are these the revenue-generating activities, but they also represent the activities employees likely prefer engaging in.
Better Long-Term Time Management
Detailed time tracking doesn’t need to be a permanent activity. After a couple of weeks, employees should start to see patterns and identify areas for improvement. They will be more conscious of the sources of wasted time and seek to eliminate inefficiencies.
To some employees, management-imposed time tracking might seem like micromanagement, but that’s not the purpose. Managers can help get employee buy-in by explaining that the benefits are for employees in terms of identifying inefficiencies, focusing time on valued-add activities, and developing effective time management strategies.
How are your staff spending their time? You may not know, and they may not either. It might be time to find out.