Four Time Management Strategies For Your Business to Adopt

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One of the biggest problems that individuals face, and that companies big and small must deal with as a result, is how to manage their time when on the clock. In a perfect world, everybody would work at peak efficiency all hours of the day, but that simply isn’t possible, not only due to innate human nature, but because many businesses lack the kind of tools and infrastructure that can help their employees work more efficiently and ensure accountability company-wide.

The question of how to track time is a major dilemma for the U.S. economy. Not only are issues like stress and lack of sleep causing billions of dollars in lost productivity for companies each year, but asking employees to properly recall their working hours or to complete menial tasks by hand lead to higher payrolls and decreased happiness, sales and creativity. Most small businesses are too fragile to risk wasting valuable money, time and resources on the issue of time management.

For many businesses, this issue is systemic, and will require adopting different strategies for the way their employees monitor their time as well as how companies ask them to complete their daily, weekly or monthly tasks. See below for four strategies that can lead to a more efficient workplace.

Take punching in out of your employees’ hands

Asking employees to manually track their own hours is a recipe for disaster. Workers are often not “very accurate” in filling out their time sheets, especially if asked to do so more than a few times per week. But asking employees to stop what they’re doing so they can record their hours takes them away from doing what you hired them to do and in effect makes them part-time accountants. An automated system, utilizing RFID, barcode or biometric technology, such as a fingerprint, is accurate, reliable and way more efficient.

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Another reason to move to a secure system powered by biometrics is that it eliminates the possibility for buddy punching. This practice, in which a co-worker clocks in (or out) for a colleague who is not at the office, is remarkably common: The American Payroll Association says it affects 75 percent of companies, and that employees steal roughly 4.5 hours per week. Other forms of time fraudulence punching in or out earlier than scheduled, adding additional time on a timesheet or not punching out for unpaid breaks. An automated system makes these discrepancies disappear, creating a more honest and regulated payroll.

Encourage team members to analyze how they’re using their time

After taking the responsibility for tracking and managing their payroll hours off their hands, you can encourage workers to figure out how they are using their time at the office, and whether they could be doing so more effectively. The Harvard Business Review Staff suggests asking individuals to write down their activities and break them down into broad categories, such as “core responsibilities,” “administrative tasks,” crises” and “free time.” This will help you visualize your work day and perhaps give you a sense of how you spend your day matches up with what you want to accomplish.


Related Article: IMPROVING SMALL BUSINESS WITH TIME AND ATTENDANCE SYSTEMS

The next step is to use an online time-tracking tool or app to dig deeper into your workflow: How much time is spent on each of your broad categories? If you see that too much time is spent on administrative tasks or free time, it’s time to reallocate to the categories that are more important and helpful to actually achieving your goals in your position.

Businessman checking watch in office by clock

Do away with manual processes when possible

The manual processes involved with punching in and out have already been exposed as time wasters, but there are other common responsibilities at many businesses that are still done manually despite evidence that more technologically savvy methods are more effective. A few examples include:

Inventory management: If you’ve got inventory in a warehouse but no inventory management system, your employees likely spend time blindly looking for items that have long been out of stock — though not according to your spreadsheets or other manual system. A barcode-based inventory management system helps companies like Amazon stay on top of orders, and even helps workers plan the most efficient route through the warehouse when picking up items for a shipment.

Fixed asset management: The long-term pieces of property used in the production of income are too costly to afford misplacing or otherwise being rendered unusable. A management system that tracks who last checked out an asset (such as a laptop or vehicle), when that asset is due for maintenance or disposal or how to depreciate it for tax purposes saves hours during audits.

Payroll calculation: As time-consuming as it is for employees to fill out timesheets, it’s even more of a nightmare for HR reps who have to collect, calculate and update payroll records each month. The time wasted correcting inevitable errors alone makes an automated time clock system a must-have for companies with more than a handful of employees.

Deemphasize constant email and frequent meetings

It’s important to communicate with your peers, colleagues and employees, but recognize when you need to back off and simply let them work. Office meetings are cited as the number one time waster by workers, and even senior executives feel that meetings should be reduced by at least one per week.

Another common time suck is email: The BBC found that British workers spent an incredible amount of time answering emails. Keeping up correspondence is necessary, but it’s also a distraction that doesn’t always yield the results . This type of busy work is another prime example of how people are hired to do one job but end up accruing ancillary tasks that take away from their focus. Consider having notification-free stretches at the office when employees can simply focus on getting work done.

Everyone is always looking to become more efficient with their time while working. Yet only 27 percent of companies polled in the 2016 State of Small Business Report plan to invest in tools to improve employee productivity this year. There are many ways for both individuals and entire organizations to improve their time management and most of them involve embracing technological advances in the workplace. We let technology change the way we communicate, travel and express ourselves; time management is simply another frontier that more successful companies find themselves braving every day.

How could using a dedicated time management system help your business to run more efficiently? 

Brian Sutter

Brian Sutter

Director of Marketing at Wasp Barcode
Brian Sutter is the Director of Marketing at Wasp, responsible for the development and execution of the company’s marketing strategy. His role encompasses brand management, direct and channel marketing, public relations, advertising, and social media. He also writes and speaks on topics related to helping small business owners grow their business and improve operational efficiency.
Brian Sutter
Brian Sutter
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