In order to get the most out of their employees, small business owners need to take responsibility for creating a productive working environment.
Managing employees’ time requires small business owners to understand the ‘big picture’ of all the different tasks and workflows that must be performed, how they are related to each other, how much time and effort is required to execute them, and which employee is responsible for what. As a starting point, small business owners should make sure that employees start and leave work on time, and do not take more or longer breaks than necessary during the course of the day. This requires discipline and maturity on the part of the employee, and a firm hand on the part of the small business owner to discipline employees and not be taken advantage of or lied to.
To boost productivity, small business owners can introduce standard ways of performing certain tasks which the small business owner is confident are efficient and effective. They can also keep up with the latest technology trends and be willing to invest in gadgets and software that help employees get work done more quickly and easily. Training employees and giving them opportunities to deepen their skills.
Time sheets are another way to monitor employee productivity and to encourage employees to be more self-aware. The disadvantages of timesheets are the time spent completing and analysing them, and the potential for fraud which undermines the reliability of the data collected.
To avoid being labelled as hypocrites, small business owners should lead by example and demonstrate to their employees that they are capable of managing their own time.
Simple time management and productivity strategies small business owners can adopt include:
• Prioritising a set of non-negotiable ‘must-do’ tasks for the week and each working day.
• Focusing on doing one thing at a time and not multi-tasking.
• Cutting down on non-essential meetings, and opting for e-mail and telephonic communication instead of meeting face-to-face (depending on the circumstances).
• Delegating where appropriate.