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3 June 2020
Employee Motivation

TOP 5 LOCKDOWN CHALLENGES – Effective Time Management


A 5 week series for business leaders needing to transform their business towards the “new norm”

Challenge 4 – Effective Time Management

How do we help out team ensure they’re managing their time productively?  Establishing a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities is important to employees. My previous blog in this series, I highlighted how to use the 3x3x3 technique to keep each team member focused on their priorities on a daily basis.

Teams that work remotely, while also responding to a new business challenge, may struggle to maintain productivity.  This can prove especially frustrating for people in the roles that are interdependent on each other, and other areas of the business.

I believe the secret to productivity, regardless of the current pressures of the outside world, lies in giving employees structure, routine and focus.  They need a map to navigate the interdependencies that exist between individuals and team.  Their work routine needs to provide flexibility to make working from home really practical for both the business and its employees.  

There are many techniques that can be adopted, and continued for the future, not just during lockdown.  Here are three simple tips that are easy to implement in a short space of time.

Commit to your in-office schedule and routine

Keep regular meetings, that would normally happen in the office, on the schedule. However, don’t hesitate to bring people together for video conferences when needed, if needs must, outside of the normal meeting schedule.  Without the normal day to day interaction the team is used to when working in the same office, they may sometimes not be communicating as effectively when working remotely.  A videoconference may be needed occasionally to thrash out specific issues.

Helping employees create a workspace at home

Make sure your teams workspace in the home works for everyone they’re living with (spouse, kids etc).  Offer them ideas of how to succeed, such as:

  • Working out their routine between the other people in the house, so they’re not all clashing on conference calls at the same time.
  • Minimise disruptions using flexible work schedules if that’s possible.  Their work may not necessarily have to fit the 9-5 scenario.
  • Agree timings and work schedules amongst everyone the employee has to share the space with.
  • Introduce Do Not Disturb signs, to allow periods of concentration.

The 55-Minute Sprint Solution

One key solution which will enable the team member to break their day into small bite size, manageable tasks, is the 55 minute sprint solution.

A solid To Do list needs to be drafted at the beginning of the working day. It’s useful to put an estimated time required against each task, then block together tasks that will roughly take 55 minutes.

Set a timer, and get stuck into the work. When the alarm goes off, it’s time to take a 5-10 minute break and re-energise.  Grab a coffee, take a short walk round the garden, breath, stretch – whatever it takes, to stand up and get away from the screen, rest your eyes and switch off – just for a few minutes.  

When you get back to your desk, tick off the tasks you’ve achieved, feel good about it, then set the alarm and get stuck into the next task.  Repeat.

By the end of the day, you may be surprised at just how much you’ve managed to achieve.  As the days go by it’s worth comparing your results when you work in 55 minute sprints versus when you don’t, and see how much more productive you are.


Working From Home & Winning Survey

Try the Working from Home & Winning Survey, to get better insight of how your team are really feeling.   The Free “Working from Home & Winning” survey gives you a quick and easy tool to get anonymous feedback from your employees working from home. It takes just 3 simple steps to set the survey up, share with your team, and receive  a summary report, in a very short space of time. 

Next week’s blog will address the fifth, and final challenge of this series, and possibly the most important – Maintaining Fun & EnergyYou’ll find some great tips and guidance to keep team energy high, and support teamwork when working remotely (although it should apply equally when we’re not having to be socially distancing and back in the work place!).