man holding a meeting in his office about time management

4 Ways to Improve Employee Time Management

Time management in a small business is vital because there is a lot of stress and focus placed on meeting bottom lines, exceeding quotas, and increasing revenue. But do the employees you’re asking to contribute to these goals have enough time to do all that you ask?

It’s your job as a manager or business owner to find out. If your employees are not managing their time efficiently, develop a strategy to help them. It may take more time up front, but everyone will be more productive in the long run.

Here are four tips on how to improve time management in your company:

1. Offer time management training

Train new hires not only on company policies, industry knowledge, and systems management, but also on time management. New hire onboarding is the best time to make it happen because all employees come from different backgrounds and might not be accustomed to the workload they’ll soon be taking on.

The training can cover desk management, balancing work duties, and scheduling meetings. Consider involving seasoned employees by asking them to share examples of what’s worked for them. Even a single takeaway from the training can pay dividends for employee output.

Additionally, consider mandatory time management training once a year for your entire staff. It will serve as an excellent refresher and could help anyone who has been struggling to keep pace, without singling them out.

2. Set clear expectations and timelines

A firm deadline can keep your employees in line. Failing to meet a deadline could signal that an employee didn’t manage their time well or that you, as the manager, set an unreasonable deadline. Either way, someone will learn from the situation.

Let your staff know how long specific tasks should take and which tasks to prioritize. With clear expectations and defined timelines, they should get a feel for how to manage each day.

Flexible timelines, on the other hand, are likely to confuse employees and give them a false sense of relaxation when it comes to getting a project or assignment completed.

3. Assess employee time management with face-to-face meetings

Face-to-face meetings allow you to discuss progress and areas of improvement. If employees have struggled to meet deadlines or have been staying late too often, have an in-depth conversation about time management.

Ask if the workload is too much, if the tasks are too difficult, or if specific factors are causing them to fall behind. Together, you and your employee can figure out a way to organize and prioritize.

If you really want to dive into the issue, conduct a time audit for the employee, which will shine a light on how they’re spending their time. The employee will log the number of hours and minutes spent on each job responsibility, including handling emails, attending meetings, and doing other tasks. Time management issues will likely reveal themselves after two or three weeks of performing the audit.

4. Determine if your processes are helping or hurting productivity

You may think certain systems or processes simplify things, but your staff may disagree. Employees may use some systems more than you do. There is always a learning curve, so be sure the expectations and workloads are adjusted accordingly. Ask for your team members’ opinions about whether the processes are helping or hurting their productivity.

While there should always be an agenda for a meeting, some tend to drag on more than anticipated. After a meeting, the last thing you want is for employees to be thinking about how much time was wasted and what they still need to do. Be respectful of your employees’ time by holding effective, to-the-point meetings. If someone asks a bunch of questions that don’t pertain to the whole team, consider letting everyone else get back to work. Then, handle the inquiries one-on-one.

Employee time tracking

Workful’s employee time tracking technology will show you who is on the clock, who is cutting their hours short, and who is working overtime. The software will calculate overtime pay for you and even allow you to run payroll in minutes. Your time will be spent more wisely when you allow technology to do some of the work for you.