What is efficiency in the modern age?
In general, the efficiency is measurable ability to use minimal and not wasted resources such as time, material energy, money to produce maximal output (service, product, etc.) in a certain period of time.
Efficiency means to things in the right way, with minimal waste of resources.
Efficiency vs. Effectiveness
“Efficiency is doing things right, while effectiveness is doing the right things.”
Trends in efficiency measurement
Fourth Industrial Revolution brigs significant characteristics that we can take into account in maximization business efficiency:
- New technologies
- Data mining
- Data processing and analytics
- Artificial intelligence
- Business intelligence
- Powerful hardware
- Machine learning
- Internet of Things (IoT)
All of those topics have one same characteristic:
Time reduction due to efficiency maximization
In a new generation of businesses, the fact that time is a crucial resource. In that case, such resources are strategically planned, evaluated, controlled, and measured.
Why time is relevant in getting excellent efficiency?
Time is one of the key business resources, especially in any service industry. Service companies actually sell time or employed people. Therefore, on the top of the list of company controlling (sector) should be time consumption and analytics.
Top time-management challenges for executives
As executive or manager of the company you usually face some challenges:
1. Overwhelming – complexity in a new business environment
Do you have enough time for the strategic development of your business?
- the transformation of business models
- changing local regulations
- COVID19 issues
- business globalization
- specific and frequent stakeholder requirements
2. Losing of control
How do you control business operations and productivity? Did you implement a dashboard for KPI valuation and KPI tracking without consuming a lot of time?
3. Digitalization and new technologies demands
Stakeholders always except that company follow new trends in technology. On the other side implementation of some tools could consume significant time.
According to our research, the executive of Service Company uses more than 15 digital tools on a daily basis. The point is executives should use software and apps minimally; they need just results from apps and proposed solutions from their team members.
4. Low energy
Reconsider energy wasters and check your eating habits. Consume more fruit and vegetables during a day. Get short exercise in the working day.
5. Stress, minimal social live and lot of deadlines
Required time management skills for executives
Prepare and implement long term time management strategy
In the overall strategy of your company, the time management strategy should be mandatorily implemented, especially if the company is selling services.
Selling of services is actually selling time. So, considering that time is essential company input and output, you need careful management of this crucial resource. The implementation and controlling of this curtail resource should be done with time management software.
The questions that should be settled in strategy are:
- What is the quantity of aggregated total working time of your employees in hours for next 5 years? Make forecasts per year considering the number of employees and their working time.
- What is the expected annual billable time in hours for the next 5 years? Make forecasts per year.
- What is the wished hourly rate?
- What is your company revenue on the basis on the previous assumption?
- Is the projected revenue in line with management’s expectations?
Define short term plans and goals in term of time management
After strategy preparation, the management can prepare an action plan and rules to reach forecasted indicators. The goals should be settled on a bi-annually basis and timely evaluated.
Track the time utilization of your team per task, clients, and projects.
Get excellent dashboard with time-based KPIs reports from the relevant tool
Having an accurate, timely and well-designed Dashboard is a must!
Setting goals is pointless if your team is not organised and employees are unclear of their role in the company or who they should turn for help. A strong organization that includes both delegated duties and workspace organization is crucial to effective time management for managers.
Good communication and good organization are closely related when it comes to making the most of your employee’s time.
As for the workspace organization, messiness has no place in business. Every minute you spend looking for a misplaced file is a wasted minute and it could have been better spent.
As a manager, it’s your duty to evaluate who on your team is suitable for what task and to assign the responsibilities that go with it. Effective delegation will help to set up your team members to work confidently and effectively.
Failure to take the lead and delegate tasks will only waste time for both you and your team.
By thoroughly delegating various tasks and ensuring your team has everything they need to complete those tasks, you will be less needed by team members when it comes to getting things done.
Good communication can make or break any relationship — personal or business.
As a manager, it is important to take time to listen and clearly communicate with your team and clients, even when you are struggling with time management.
Be sure to communicate on a regular basis with your team members to ensure that they’re working in the right direction that has been clearly set.
A manager that certainly and regularly communicates with team members and customers is more likely to grow their business. Be sure to make the most of your time with thoughtful communication.
Do the right things in the right time
If you were building a car, you wouldn’t start by trying to install the sound system before the frame was in place, would you?
Firstly you need to decide what main tasks you need to finish before moving on to the next. These might be small tasks like replying to a mail from regular customer or they could be larger, such as finalizing the plans for a new marketing strategy.
The point is, make sure you learn to prioritize the most significant tasks of each day, to determine how long you will need to complete them and when they should be completed.
Each one of us has multiple tasks they need to do almost at once. For example, when you receive a notification on your phone and jump into your email, even if you have previously worked on an important project. This will have bad influence on your concentration and force you to devote more time trying to catch up.
Instead, set aside specific periods in the day to check and reply to emails. By focusing on one task at a time, you’ll finish the project sooner and give it your full attention.
Control priorities of your team
Even if we think we devote a solid eight hours a day to the core tasks of our business, research shows that’s not usually the case. You should consider setting aside one day with your team where employees could track what they do and how much time they spend doing it and then set priorities.
This exercise can help your employees to make the most of their time. It can be helpful to you in the long-run to determine what is working and what to avoid.
Take a brake – do something for yourself
Burnout is a state of chronic stress that happens when you are trying to devote every second of the day to work. The result is that, you’ll soon be exhausted, feel inefficient and without motivation. However, this does not happen suddenly. Our body and mind give us warnings, so learn to recognize this syndrome before it’s too late and schedule downtime.
Scheduling downtime, step back and breathe, this is very important. A few breaks throughout the work day can put you in the right mindset for making the most of your time. Encourage your employees to take breaks and don’t forget to take them yourself.
Managing a time per different categories
The main questions are:
- How much billable hours your team members spend for each client, task and project?
- List of employees with its utilization rate (billable hours in total hours)
- What is employee cost per hour?
- What is deviation in real time spent comparing to budgeted time per tasks
- Who are employees with overtime work?
- Is overtime work consequence of unproductivity or increased realistic project requirement?
- Do you have timesheet template filled for each employee?
The main questions are:
- Which projects consume significant time?
- How much time is spent on top 20 projects?
- What is cost of project and what is cost per hour in project?
- What is billing rate of projects (total fee divided by billable hours?
- How many people is engaged for one project?
The main questions are:
- Which clients are the most profitable?
- Which clients are not profitable?
- What is time utilization per client?
- How many billable hours are spent per client?
- What is hourly rate per client (total fee divided by total billable hours)
- What is cost rate per client (total cost divided by total billable hours)
The main questions are:
- What is structure of time consumption per general activities (business development, administration, sales, work on projects, compliance, HR etc..)?
- What is structure of time consumption per detailed tasks?
- Movement of above structure during the time?
The main questions are:
- Which are the most expensive service line?
- What is total time consumption per service line?
- What is profit per service line?
The main questions are:
- What is structure of time consumption per department?
- Which departments are the really profit center?
P.S. The most appropriate way for maximization of efficiency is relevant time management for each category. On order to get excellent results the executive shoud implement some type of detailed timesheets system.
How can you manage timesheet of your team?
Define type of timesheet template you prefer to manage an enterprise time
Recommended type of timesheet is comprehensive employee timesheet. In this way the management can filter required data per specific period, client, projects etc.
Define what fields to fill in timesheet template
An Employee may input just basic data into timesheet template such as working task, client and number of hours. The advantage of this solution is that is simple and does not consume significant time for employee (Estimated 3-5 minutes per day).
Another solution is that employee inputs more data into timesheet template such as:
- description of working task,
- specific project or service,
- selection if the activity is internal or external,
- annual holiday or days off,
- selection if the time is billable or not,
- billable rate,
The advantage of this solution is the management may get excellent reports and indicators about time consumption per projects, clients with time utilization, billable rates, etc.
A disadvantage of this solution is that consumes more time for data entry by employee (Estimated 5-10 minutes per day).
Define the possibility of timesheet delegation and approval
The employee may fill his daily or weekly timesheet template which is an excellent mechanism for advanced control of planned time. Each morning, the manager is able to check the planned engagement of his team per projects and client and make valuable reorganization in order to maximize team efficiency.
Such plans helps management to discover who has free time or who is overloaded. Therefore, we can say that time planning in timesheet templates can be used for remote work efficiently.
Define how to sum all data into useful dashboard and reports
Time entries are recorded in relevant databases suitable for extract excellent indicators. Make pivot tables or use automatized on-line timesheet template tools.
Select your timesheet template
In this text, we presented different types of timesheet templates for download. Such templates are very simple and can be easily modified, but require manual data processing and getting the reports through pivot tables. In case you need more automation in timesheet template process, try Time Analytics online platform.
Timesheet template download
How to automatize timesheets for employees, clients and projects
Time analytics platform automatically generation of timesheets and relevant indicators per each of above categories.
Compare your figures in time analytics
- Actual time vs. budgeted time in timesheet template
- Actual time vs. last period in timesheet template
- The industry benchmark in timesheet template
Automatize your staff timesheets
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