Teamwork and implementing strategies to improve employee productivity have become a red-hot topic. This is particularly important for small businesses that have fewer employees than large corporations. With such limited human resources, every single member of the team matters.

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Effective work management can save the day and help create unified, engaged, and thus, highly productive teams. It ensures consistency of quality of deliverables and timeline of delivery. The good news is that you’re not alone in your struggle to optimize work management. Adopting the right processes and technology will make your task much easier. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through the ways your business can benefit from appropriate management of work. You’ll also learn some valuable tips that will help you increase the effectiveness of your work management process and thereby, the productivity of your team.

Let’s start with the basics.

What is work management and why is it important?

Work management defined 

Work management is the process of defining, planning, scheduling, and tracking work activities. 

It’s a wide concept that comes to embrace the following six aspects of business management:

  • Project management related to work and deadline assignment and coordination and delivering the product (of the project) to the client
  • Time management that involves dividing and allocating tasks to employees based on their work capacity
  • Resource management including creating and distributing all tangible and intangible company resources
  • Process management related to the efficient use of resources in business processes.
  • Customer relationship management focusing on communication with current and potential customers
  • Business intelligence, or implementing technology for data collection and analysis

The purpose of work management is to enable an organization to respond effectively to changing business conditions by ensuring that essential activities are completed on time, within budgeted resources, and with the required level of quality.

Work management aims to improve organizational performance by ensuring that employees have the information they need about their assigned projects and tasks so that they can plan their time accordingly. 

Opting for integrating a work management system supports effective project management and task management by providing tools for creating schedules, tracking progress against those schedules and budgets, communicating status updates to stakeholders, and reviewing forecasts versus actual results.

Benefits of work management

Here are some of the advantages effective management of work brings to businesses:

Increased productivity 

In fact, enhanced team productivity is an immediate outcome of implementing effective management of work. Efficient work management ensures that all team members are on the same page, know what to do next, and have access to all relevant information needed to complete their tasks. This saves time and reduces errors caused by misinformation or confusion about priorities.

Improved collaboration

Collaboration and teamwork are identified as essential by three-quarters of workers. When everyone has access to the same information at any given time, there's no need for multiple emails or meetings — just send out an update or assign someone new responsibilities. This also helps ensure that everyone's voice is heard during decision-making processes, which leads to better overall outcomes.

Increased efficiency 

Work management also reduces errors in processes that lead to rework or additional costs. Errors can occur when employees do not have all the information they need to complete their tasks or if they are not given clear instructions on how to do their job. This can result in wasted time and resources if the error is not caught before it is too late.

Employee Satisfaction

With enhanced efficiency, communication, and collaboration, work management increases employees’ satisfaction with the company and the processes in it. This translates into greater engagement and productivity, which in turn, improves customer satisfaction. 

Reduced costs

Work management allows organizations to cut down on expenses by eliminating unnecessary steps or automating certain tasks with technology solutions such as automation or workflow systems or mobile apps that help employees complete tasks faster and more efficiently with fewer mistakes than if they were doing them manually.
Knowing the benefits of implementing effective work management, let’s look at some tips to improve the work management process.

1.   Create a good work breakdown structure

The work breakdown should be detailed enough to be actionable. A good work breakdown structure provides a clear and understandable plan for how the project will be implemented based on what will be done to complete the project.

  • Break down work into manageable chunks: The more granular the WBS is, the better it will reflect reality and make it easier for you to understand what needs to be done and how much time it will take.
  • Align the deliverables: The deliverables should align with one another and with the overall purpose or objectives of your organization’s strategy. 
  • Make sure the work breakdown is clear and understandable to all: Everyone needs to have access to current versions of your WBS so they know what they should be doing next and how their part fits in with all operations across the organization. 
  • Make sure the work breakdown includes all necessary pieces: This means that each task can be clearly linked to another task, as well as to objectives, outcomes, and deliverables. If you have any holes in your plan or anything left out of your WBS, you may end up with unexpected delays or cost overruns.
  • Update the work breakdown in real-time to reflect changes in project scope or expectations: Make sure that you update your WBS as often as needed so that it reflects your current understanding of what needs to be accomplished on this particular project.

Pro tip:
Implementing a business management solution can do a long way in helping you plan your WBS. This allows you to manage successful projects, highly productive teams, and thriving businesses.

Having clearly laid out all required tasks and steps in the WBS, it’s time for the next tip you need to apply.

2.   Clearly specify roles and responsibilities

The clear identification of roles and responsibilities among your team members is critical for ensuring smooth and effective operations. What is the best way to approach this? Here’s a list of important steps to take.

  • Define roles and responsibilities
  • Communicate roles and responsibilities effectively so that everyone in the team knows exactly what role they’re assigned, what they’re responsible for, and who they have to report to
  • Set clear expectations
  • Have the right people given the right roles
  • Delegate work effectively
  •  Make sure each team member has a job that they are good at

3.   Set realistic deadlines

Deadlines are a critical parameter of managing work and team productivity. To be able to identify a realistic and feasible timeline, apply the following steps:

  • Have a conversation with the team before setting a deadline
  • Keep deadlines realistic and achievable
  • Set deadlines at the beginning of a project and make sure to adjust them accordingly in case of any delays and other unplanned-for changes required. Let the team know about any changes
  • Make sure everyone has enough time to do their jobs well and let them know how much time they have to complete each task, so they don’t feel rushed
  • Set a realistic deadline for each task. Don’t underestimate or overestimate the amount of time it will take to do a task
  • Share your timeline with the team and client ahead of time
  • Set up milestones, so you know if the project is on track

Pro tip:

Opt for a solution that facilitates your effort. Gantt charts offer transparency and clear visualization of all activities in time and their planned duration. This feature is integrated into business management systems like Caflou to help you keep all tasks and deadlines organized and easily accessible for everyone in the team. 

It’s time for the next hack that’s closely connected with task and schedule planning.

4.   Implement effective workload management

Workload management is a process of planning and managing workloads. It’s a continuous process that requires striking the optimum balance between the workload and resourcing available to the team. 

How can you do it right?

  • Assess your employees’ capacity to complete the tasks that need to be completed
  • Ensure that workload is distributed fairly across the team
  • Manage workload by identifying the tasks required to complete a job
  • Follow up on the progress of the task and adjust workload if necessary to equalize workload across your team and achieve your goals 
  • Conduct regular reviews of the team’s workload and capacity for completion within deadlines
  • Example of effective/ineffective workload management

Pro tip:
Use workload management software to manage workload. Caflou, for example, enables you to use capacity planning reports to plan workload and optimize the utilization of the capacity of your team. You can track the workload of every employee and ensure even distribution of tasks in line with their current tasks and free capacity

In addition, using the team's economic report, you can evaluate the contribution of each team member to your revenue.

Efficient workload management helps avoid overloading, prevent employee burnout, and ultimately, increase team productivity.

5.   Enhance communication and feedback

Effective communication is the bond that solidifies your team and ensures that all data, tasks, updates, and other important information are reliably conveyed to all team members. Encouraging feedback can significantly enhance the performance and quality of your product. 

To avoid employee disconnect and improve engagement, you need to:

  • Communicate regularly with your team
  • Give lots of feedback to your team members
  • Make sure to have team members check in with you on the progress of the work they do
  • Make sure your team members understand what they have to do and when they have to do it
  • Make sure your team members know how to contact you
  • Share and discuss results with your employees
  • Encourage feedback from the employee regarding their strengths and weaknesses

Pro tip:
Make sure that communication is consistent and effective through integrating multiple business functions and communications on a single platform. A business management system like Caflou offers in-project or in-taskk communication via comments and mentions, email integration, or a video-conferencing tool along with managing cash flows, project, task, and workflows. In this way, nobody will be left behind. 

Empowering your team with a common platform and a means to stay connected will help them stay on track with all tasks, updates, and progress, increasing their productivity.

6.   Leadership

Leadership is a key factor in the effective management of work. Leaders need to understand their level of responsibility.

  • Communicate your goal, strategy, and progress
  • Provide recognition
  • Provide training and support
  • Lead by example
  • Focus on strengths
  • Evaluate the impact of changes
  • Base decisions on the best interests of the whole team

Pro tip:
Although it may sound tricky for a small business, a company's culture is considered an important factor for employment decisions by more than three-quarters of workers. It’s directly connected with employee engagement and productivity. In fact, the aspects of culture that employees perceive most strongly are mission or value statement, recognition or celebrations, and approach to employee performance. 

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These are the areas you have to focus on. Understand and build the culture of your organization. Set your company’s mission and values and make them clear to each member of your team. Establish a culture of recognition of employee achievement and implement it in an objective and fair manner.

7.   Evaluating Performance

Performance evaluation should be a continuous process ultimately aimed to improve your team's performance and productivity.

  • Evaluate performance objectively based on the job description. Make sure to avoid bias in performance evaluation
  • Monitor the overall quality of work
    • Does the work match the job description?
    • Was it done in a cost-effective manner and on time? A business management solution with finance management and economical performance features, such as Caflou, lets you track progress and provides details of essential parameters like time spent on every task, profitability of a project, task or even a person, and incoming and outgoing cash flows related to the particular project or task. Comparing those with the plan will give you a specific and true idea of the efficiency of your employee performance.
    • Make sure that the performance evaluation is well explained to each employee. Have an honest conversation with the employee about their work. Ask if they are satisfied with the quality of their work. Provide a list of specific examples to back up your judgment
  • Incorporate employee surveys to boost team productivity. Employee surveys can provide valuable insights into employees’ attitudes and can help you identify potential strategies to improve their engagement and productivity. Here are the steps to a successful employee survey:
    • Set the goals of your survey: You may want to know more about the attitudes of your team toward your company management, organization, or operations
    • Ensure the participation of your employees by providing anonymity and multiple channels to submit their feedback
    • Assess the results objectively to be able to take advantage of the information your employees have provided

Pro tip:
Whether you’re evaluating employee performance or conducting an employee survey, it’s essential to turn the insights you gain into actionable steps for improvement. To take full benefit from the data collected and increase team productivity, suggest particular measures to be taken and outline a plan for improvement. 

Implementing a full-fledged business management system enables you to make data-driven decisions instead of feeling your way and trying to find the best solution blindfolded. This is a sure shot at improving your work management and employee performance.

Ready to scale and thrive?

Work management is the foundation for success for any organization. It’s a broad concept that embraces all aspects of managing business operations. Effective management of work contributes to ensuring timely and high-quality deliverables through efficient use of all human and material resources.

The above easy-to-implement work management hacks will help you increase team productivity. The best news is that the business management tools that can help you achieve that are here. If implemented correctly, they can streamline every aspect of your operations and empower you and your team with a smarter way of work. 

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