How to address poor time management with employees

Wednesday July 10, 2019

“There just aren’t enough hours in the day!”

“Something more important came up”

“I don’t have time right now. I’ll do it later”

Sound familiar? If employees are providing these common excuses when you ask them for an update on a task or project, you may need to address their time management.

Upon hearing that the work is not complete, or not even started, your instant reaction might very well be to tut, sigh or scold them for not doing what you had asked. It is an annoying situation after all, and could be holding up other important work. But as natural as this reaction may feel, it won’t immediately solve the problem. You are still without the work and the likelihood is that if you don’t address this situation it will be a recurring one.

Ironically you might feel as though you don’t have the time for such an intervention. But leading by example will not only solve the problem going forwards, but also foster trust and respect from your workforce.

Getting to the root of the problem

Although the employee has said that they didn’t have the time to do what was asked of them, there could be various reasons behind this that prevented the work from being completed on time. You’ll want to ask them why they didn’t have the time, in order to better understand and decide on your next steps.

Five common causes of deadline delays

1. They are not prioritising their workload
Time management requires structure and discipline. It could be that they are procrastinating or unsure of how to prioritise their tasks in the most efficient way.

2.They are distracted by co-workers
Colleagues who are friends can distract each other with non-work-related chatter. Or co-workers asking them for help could be getting in the way of their own tasks. This can cause problems with focus and concentration.

3.They honestly don’t have the time
A heavy workload can cause problems with productivity and efficiency. Whilst work is piling up, the employee could also be suffering from stress.

4.They are ill-equipped to complete the work
Out-of-date systems and manual processes can double the time needed to complete a task.

5.They are unskilled or lethargic
And not the right person for the job.

Taking the time to rectify

Each of these examples requires its own remedy. After sitting down with an employee and asking them some questions about their workday, the direction that you need to take may become quite clear.

Reviewing seating plans and systems can be a great way to improve efficiencies for the whole team, and could be a good place to start. Time management training with regular support afterwards can be very effective. And, of course, dealing with unproductive employees is an absolute priority for you.

If you would like to discuss how to improve efficiencies for your workforce, introduce time management training to your team, or implement a performance improvement plan for an individual, get in touch with your local HR Dept today.

Preventing People Problems

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