Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Time Management - An important business tool

Time needs management as we do not seem to have enough time to do everything we want to. It is great to be busy but critical to be productive.

A multi-tasking employee is never a diminishing asset to an organisation. And it is time management that churns out this skill in an employee. “Time management makes an employee more productive, helps him/her reach his/her goal at a faster pace, and most importantly, gives a feeling of contentment and joy,” confirms Arun Rao, VP-HR, Applabs.

It also helps employees to maintain a work-life balance which is of paramount importance in today’s stressful environment. Optimum utilisation of available time and reducing procrastination are some of the areas that professionals focus on for maximum results. “We encourage our employees to set realistic goals and prioritise them. It is important that they decipher the relevance of the goal setting, handling interruptions and find the most effective means to complete their work,” says Nishikant Kadam, vice president-HR, CBay Systems.

So do employees feel they are organised enough when it comes to managing time? Professionals understand that it is imperative for them to relax and recoup after a hard day’s work. From multi-tasking to prioritisation, employees are looking to hone these necessary skills and move steadily up the corporate ladder – while maintaining a life beyond work. At CBay Systems, where TAT (Turn around Time) is a critical factor for the delivery of services, employees plan and adhere to pre-decided schedules - ensuring they optimally utilise their time during work. During such times, managers or other senior members in the teams support them by mentoring at regular intervals or through workshops.

Similarly at Pangea3, lawyers and engineers are extremely focused on how much time they spend doing a particular task, thereby, achieving maximum efficiency. They know that efficiency not only results in timely production and delivery of work, but also results in substantial quality improvement. “Our people feel organised and believe that they manage their time well because as an organisation we are laser-focused on efficiency and time management,” avers Sanjay Kamlani, Co-CEO, Pangea3.

While most people use the ubiquitous post-it or paper for a To-Do list, an increasingly growing corporate population deploys effective time management tools such TMIs Time Manager toolkit, or electronic ones like Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes, the calendar and To Do features on mobile phones, PDAs, SmartPhones and Blackberry devices.

Says Kamlani, “We teach and apply Six Sigma tools and methodologies to enable our employees to achieve efficiency in everything they do. We also teach project management and groom our professionals in the requisite skills in order to ensure that all activities are performed in time.”
While a lot of people come in with the mindset that their environment does not allow them to manage their time well, a large number of them see a paradigm shift after the training sessions, and realise their own contribution to ineffective time management. In addition to their own attitudes, people express a need for tools/techniques that will help them prioritise and multi-task better. Another often expressed need is the ability to organise themselves, their tasks, and work areas.

According to Subhasish Das Gupta, group VP-HR and administration (Indian Subcontinent), VLCC, “It is a combination of seamless and clear-cut work management, prioritising, aid tools, and then if required workshops and trainings to enhance the skills.”

Keeping this in mind, organisations are taking initiatives to help employees manage their time. Many companies, now waking up to the powers of time management, have become conscious of imparting its benefits to its employees. It starts at the grass root level with proper communication and seamless work allocation. Furthermore, many professionals, management gurus are being roped in to impart training and help employees improve their time skills.

Applabs encourages its employees to practice certain techniques such as 80/20 rule which states that 80 per cent of the reward comes from 20 per cent of the effort. The trick is to identify the 20 per cent that matters. The company also practices the ‘6Ds’ time management model (Don't do it, delay it, deflect it, delegate it, do it imperfectly and do it).

Yes, more and more corporates are realising the essence of time now. With increased competition, accountability and constant timeline pressures, top honchos now feel that it is an integral business tool to drive employees’ performance.

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