There is no doubt that one can be an excellent employee without actually being able to stick to a daily workplace schedule. As a manager or employer, you may feel that your employees will be more productive if they are working within the parameters of a daily work schedule. However, actually getting these employees to stick to a specific schedule may seem like an insurmountable feat, as if you were trying to climb Mt. Everest. Making a decision to help your employees find ways to stick to a daily schedule will be better for everyone in the workplace, in the long run. Not only will you see an increase in productivity, you’ll also find that because of the organizational aspect of keeping a schedule, the environment will become more positive. Any time you can increase productivity and make your workplace environment more positive for you and your employees, it’s a win-win situation. If you’d like to help your employees stick to a schedule, consider some of the following ways to assist them in acclimating to a daily routine.
1. Suggest the Use of Time Blocking
Sometimes people refrain from using schedules because they’ve tried them and the process failed and hindered their productivity. As a manager, you can suggest the use of time blocking to help your employees become more productive by sticking to a schedule. When an individual finds the right method that works for them, it becomes easier to stick to a schedule. With time blocking, your employees can set aside time each day to perform specific tasks.
For example, depending on the volume of emails received and their importance, employees can schedule 1 – 2 hours in the morning to review, respond and handle any work related to those emails. If your employees are tasked with writing reports, suggest that they block out a few hours to gather pertinent information to be included and then write during that time period. If your employees have team meetings for current projects they’re working on, consider having them scheduled for one or two days in week. This way Wednesdays and Fridays, for example can be reserved for “meeting” days. That will help them to be more productive through time blocking. When your employees see a rise in their productivity level, it’s a no-brainer that they’ll be more apt to stick to this type of time block scheduling.
2. Unify Scheduling on One Calendar
When scheduling becomes convoluted and the method is too intricate, people want to avoid the process and then unproductivity reigns in the workplace. As an employer you can suggest that your employees unify their scheduling on one calendar, like Google Calendar or one of these other calendar apps that can sync up and be viewed on all mobile devices. When your employees see the ease with which they can keep appointments and meetings because everything is scheduled on one calendar, they will be more likely to stick to their schedule. They won’t forget work assignments that have been tasked for a certain part of the day or miss team meetings because they are using one unifying calendar. If your employees are sales reps and spend a good portion of their time on the road and work from home at various times during the day, they should consider adding both personal and professional appointments to the same calendar. This will save any confusion, overlap or missed appointments—which mean employees stick to their schedule.
3. Provide an Incentive Program
Most people enjoy participating in incentive programs where they are incentivized for completing a task or following a requirement. If you have excellent employees who simply are not sticking to a schedule, implement an incentive program. Sometimes simply adding a bonus or reward for good behavior can motivate people to follow directions and then continue to progress with the directives as they see positive results.
For example, let your employees know that for those individuals who start to create and follow a daily schedule, they will be added to the list of incentive program participants. In order to make things interesting, you can then track the productivity level of each employee as it relates to how well they are following their daily schedule. At the end of each quarter, the employee with the most improved productivity level will receive a reward. This type of incentive program is a surefire way to keep your employees focused on sticking to their schedules.
4. Implement a Mentoring Program
People view mentoring programs in different ways. They agree with them, see no point in them or are completely indifferent to their benefits. However, as an employer who is trying to help the employees stick to a schedule, implementing a mentoring program can be just what some employees need. This mentoring program would be specifically geared toward helping employees who don’t stick to a schedule, to see the benefit of following one. In order to be successful in opening their mindset, each offending employee would need to be paired with a mentoring employee who has been successful in sticking to a schedule. There are a variety of factors to consider when pairing the mentor and mentee, such as compatibility, personality, tolerance level and skillset.
The mentoring employee would work with the mentee to share how sticking to a schedule has greatly improved their own workplace productivity level. We all love to see facts before becoming a believer. The mentor needs to provide specific examples of how their productivity level increased. When the mentee can see the value in sticking to a schedule, he or she will be more apt to start following one to increase their own daily workplace productivity level.
5. Conduct a Lunch and Learn Event
You might not have enough successful “schedule keepers” in your office to be able to start a mentoring program. If that’s the case, consider scheduling a lunch and learn event where you can share with all of your employees, the benefits of sticking to a schedule. Now, the way you run the event will depend on your specific workplace environment and how many employees you have. For example, you might want to meet with all your employees at once if you have 25 or less people in your company. If you have more than that number of employees—and you don’t have a large enough meeting room to hold the event—you’ll probably need to schedule a few different sessions.
Basically, different departments or teams will meet with you to review the benefits of creating and keeping a daily workplace schedule. If you run the event(s) correctly, you will be able to expand your employees’ mindsets so that they will want to actually start sticking with a daily work schedule. They’ll see the value in doing so as it starts to increase their workplace productivity level.
Getting your employees to start sticking to a schedule will become an easier task if you follow some of ideas suggested in this article. Time blocking will increase your employees’ productivity level and show them the value in sticking to a schedule. When you suggest the use of a unified schedule on one calendar, this will cultivate efficiency in the workplace as well. Utilizing an incentive program, mentoring program and conducting lunch and learn events will provide your employees with motivation and guidance to become more organized by adhering to a daily schedule.
Have you ever tried to get your excellent employees to start sticking to a schedule? How did that process work out for you?