When I owned my vending company my managers would often come to me and say they didn’t have enough time to do their work. The first thing I would do with them is ask them to start tracking their time. Not just generally how they spend their time. I asked them to keep a diary for four weeks with an entry every fifteen minutes.
I know this is a real pain in the neck. I know that your managers are likely going to push back really hard on this issue. I know that if you make them do it you and they will learn some really important lessons.
It’s amazing how much of our time is just wasted.
I do this exercise myself every once in a while and I’m always amazed at how much time I waste and how I’ve allowed bad habits to creep into my life. These habits might not be life threatening. They do keep me from doing things I think are important but not urgent.
You really want your employees to work around 40 hours.
Too many times we think that when someone works lots of hours they’re being really valuable to the team. I hate to let you in on this secret, you’re wrong. The more hours your employees work, the sloppier the work is likely to get and the more mistakes they’re going to make.
One of the biggest costs I see in any company is when we have to do things over again. Employees who are too tired to pay attention to what they’re doing often cause this. Rests are good and being efficient is good. Measuring your time helps you realize where you’re wasting time. Wasted time always turns into mistakes.
You’re helping your employees make their job easier.
I advise people I work with to work very hard in making their employees jobs easier. When you make the job easier for your employees you’re making them happier and more efficient. I can promise you that happy employees who like what they do always do a better job than employees who are unhappy.
If your employees are working too many hours it’s almost a guarantee that they’re unhappy with their life. Having them track their time will be a first step of learning for both you and your employee. They might just get a little happier because of it.
Data almost always helps.
One of my favorite questions is, “How do you know this is true?” Too many times I’ve asked why something is true and I get a blank stare. It isn’t because the person I’m talking with is trying to be wise, it’s because they don’t know. They have an opinion and often that opinion is not backed up by the facts.
If you suspect your people can be more efficient at their job you need data to help convince them this is true. Having your people track their time can help you know how you can help them make their job easier and your company more profitable. Give it a try, you might like with what you learn.
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