Wasted time is a major obsession in personal and professional blogs. There is an general feeling that the tools and technologies that promise to save us time, actually waste time. Many of these strategies focus on the individual and are really more about self discipline. But what can a manager do to implement changes that will actually work across an entire enterprise? And how can this be done without creating greater headaches and wasting more time? Here are 5 tips to get started:
1.) Have More Meetings!
OK, not exactly. Don’t have more meetings, but implement a shorter meeting policy. Right now the norm for a meeting is 1 hour, but there’s no reason make that the default. Make all meeting a half hour or event 15 minutes with the option for extensions if there’s a good reason. And, yes, if you need more shorter meetings, so be it! Isn’t it better to focus fewer people on specific agendas and make those meetings productive for everyone involved?
2.) Email Bookends
Make it a policy that no one is expected to reply to an email in less that 2 hours but should definitely reply in less than 8 hours. Make the bookends whatever you want but the message is clear: email is for communication that requires a response but not an immediate response. Immediate responses should be handled in person or on the telephone.
3.) Open and Closed Office Hours
Create a system where everyone must have consistent and posted open office hours. This means that anyone can stop in for a question or chat…but only during that time. This will ensure that quick questions and chats can take place but not randomly interrupting work.
4.) Utilize Forms
Forms a great way to collect information from people and gather input without a meeting. If you want to get opinions, create a set of questions and comment fields and send it out. Google Forms are quick to set up and free. It’s also a great way to get information from co-workers in other geographies as well as from those that don’t feel comfortable giving feedback in a meeting.
5.) Realize That Everyone’s Different
You should really manage by performance and not through a perception of time wasted. Some people work well with interruptions. As a manager, you should make sure that those interruptions don’t dictate your work environment. So give people room to multitask, but also give people room to think.
Looking for more information on this topic?
Email Usage/Penetrations • EmailStatCounter
A Pace Not Dictated by Electrons • University of California
Disruption and Recovery of Computing Tasks • Microsoft Research
‘Infomania’ worse than marijuana • BBC News
Meetings in America • Verizon Business
State of Meetings Today • EffectiveMeetings
Why & How Your Employees are Wasting Time at Work • Salary.com
Time Management Statistics • Key Organization Systyems