A manager surveying the workplace might notice that one employee has stalled out before a computer screen teeming with haphazardly attached sticky notes, seemingly immobilized by an unorganized to-do list. Another employee may be chuckling over a text message, swiveling back and forth leisurely in a work chair. Meanwhile, the company president is fuming because another client has been lost because of missed deadlines. These examples illustrate the importance of time management for employees. Productivity and workplace morale can flounder because of time-management problems, but explaining the importance of time management to employees can help create buy-in for changed policies and efficiency tips.
Missed deadlines, lack of productivity and low-quality work can result from time-management problems in the workplace. Excessive socializing, disorganized assigning of responsibilities and projects, and unproductive meetings are also hallmarks of time management problems in the workplace. Time-management problems might also include problems prioritizing customer need and procrastination during sensitive decision-making periods.
One of the reasons time management remains so crucial for employees is that productivity suffers. Increased awareness and self-discipline can help increase effectiveness by 20 percent in some cases, according to ACCEL Team Development. Employees who manage their time wisely can take on more clients, submit more quality work, drive higher profits and contribute more positively to the overall company mission.
Time management also plays an important role in teamwork. Employees who struggle with time-management skills may rely on other coworkers to help meet deadlines or regularly disappoint team members and managers. This can create resentment over time, since employees better skilled in time management may feel that they’re unfairly picking up slack for poor team players. These overburdened employers may eventually find work elsewhere to avoid accumulating their coworkers' responsibilities, leading to a depleted task force comprised of less-effective workers. On the other hand, workplaces that incorporate time-management skills celebrate teamwork as an effective way to get work done faster, smarter and better.
Productivity and teamwork are closely associated with morale. Time-management can have a considerable effect on morale. Employees with strong time-management skills feel challenged by their work, but not overwhelmed with feelings that they have more assignments than time permits. Enthusiastic, committed employees contribute to overall productivity and efficiency. Employees who feel overburdened may lose confidence in their ability to contribute to the company and give up. This can result in poor work quality, ineffective employees and drooping workplace morale.
Managers can increase time management skills for employees by first assessing each workers’ responsibilities and current time use. For example, workers can track how much time they spend each day in phone calls, responding to emails, attending in-person meetings or entering data into the company’s records. After tracking time spent on specified work tasks and activities, managers should then meet with employees to identify time-wasters and brainstorm for ways to increase efficiency. For example, one employee may find that checking and responding to emails throughout the day decreases productivity. A better solution may be to handle email twice daily: in the morning and in the evening. Companies can also decide to hire outside time-management experts to share techniques with workers.