When employees begin to complain that they do not have enough time to get their work done on a daily basis, it can be challenging to know whether this is a true capacity problem, or if it is more of a utilization one. Specifically:
Do we need to hire more people, or can we help the people we have to be more productive in order to complete their daily workloads?
In a tight economy, hiring is not always easy, and training new people can be a daunting task. In a down economy (or even in general) there may not be enough funds to hire additional personnel. Regardless, it is always good practice to diagnose the problem before prescribing the solution. So how to go about evaluating whether the issue is capacity or utilization?
1. Train your workforce on Time Management Tips – yes, everyone’s “heard it before,” however continued focus on this topic will help etch the concepts into the brain, and let your employees know that you are serious.
- AJC has a NEW 1-hour Lunch and Learn training available on this topic. Contact us today!
2. Establish daily “bookends” – 5 minutes set aside for individuals to write down and Prioritize tasks for that day or the week. If possible, do this before distractions encroach – in the car or standing in the office vestibule with a notepad/paper before getting to your desk (be sure your manager is okay with this first!)
3. Track how time is spent for a “typical” week (i.e. no conferences or vacations) – and it is OKAY to go low tech. I had a client who was concerned about their employees’ abilities to get desk work done, so they completed this exercise. Turns out many Individual Contributors spent up to 16 hours in meetings, most of which were optional. Their managers cut some and divided delegates to others, and everyone gained more time.
4. Hold SHORT Standing Daily Huddles to Group Prioritize – 5-to-15-minute consistent morning huddles in person or conference call with 3 topics, round robin:
- State what was completed the previous day
- Articulate the top 1-3 items to complete that day
- Ask for help needed including roadblocks requiring attention
If the work or project is REALLY critical or time sensitive – regroup in a huddle at the end of each day as well.
5. Get a Professional Needs Assessment to assess what is truly taking peoples’ time or holding them back. When AJC does these, results are presented in the aggregate, and no individual is singled out by name – so interviewees are comfortable being candid. The Assessment will uncover opportunities for improved processes, communication, redundant work that can be eliminated, or other areas where time can be found in even the “busiest” workload schedules.
By the way, did you know that AJC now offers Change Management services to complement our Project Management and Process Improvement work?