Achieving high productivity is the centrepiece of every organisation's strategic planning. Establishing a proper work routine is crucial to ensuring productivity among employees. A work routine management is an important technique for ensuring operational efficiency is not unduly affected. In this article, find out what work routine management entails, its benefits to an organisation and tips for improving work routine management.
What is work routine management?
Work routine management refers to actions designed to assist employees perform their work well. They are pre-established rituals that need to happen regularly in order to achieve desirable and consistent results. Work routines are a subset of culture that encompasses the values that define a company. The work routine is also a by-product of how managers engage their employees and the acceptable standards tolerated.
Benefits of work routine management
Here are the benefits that accrue to an organisation that makes work routine management part of its culture:
A key benefit of work routine management is standardising of processes at the workplace. When processes are standardised, each person performs work according to the current best practice. Standardising also eliminates ambiguities and adds discipline to company's culture.
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Work routine management allows an organisation to get consistent results. When work is consistent, there is a higher likelihood of achieving quality and increasing customer satisfaction. In addition, if standardised processes produce similar outcomes every time, it becomes easy to predict workflow and results. It is also possible to set baseline metrics for measuring future performance.
Proper work routine stipulates what is expected of every employee. This reduces confusion and uncertainties that arise because of unclear processes and tasks. Clear workflows reduces stress as employees know what to do, how to do it and when to do it. Conversely, routine uncertainty regarding when and how an employee will work may lead to feelings of psychological distress.
It is difficult to improve a process that is not well understood or consistently applied. Work routine management provides an opportunity to improve on previous performance. Employees experiencing reduced stress are more likely to perform better at work. They are also likely to help one another through challenging tasks, further cementing the team spirit.
Focuses on process
Work routine management places focus on the process and not the person. When people do their work according to set routines, it becomes easy to transfer blame from the person to the process. Essentially, it is a process problem and not a people problem that hinders organisations from attaining their objectives.
Work routine saves time as the processes become more ritualised and streamlined. As employees learn the rhythm, they become more efficient as they know what to expect at every step.
Work routine become habits which means employees do not have to choose to do them. They are subconsciously ingrained and so take little effort to remember and follow. When work takes a predictable pattern, there is little room for deviation and unpredictable results.
Work routine management does not solve all problems. However, it makes it easier to identify and solve workplace problems because you know what the current state. You can also draw an ideal state and work towards achieving it.
Allows organisation to scale rapidly
Work routine management makes it easy for organisations to get the same results every time, making rapid scaling an achievable feat. One-off processes and routine uncertainty steepens the scaling curve.
Speeds training and onboarding
When tasks and processes are documented and clearly defined, it becomes easy to train new hires. The onboarding process also becomes seamless, even with different trainers. New hires rapidly adapt to the routine as they see it been done by everyone else.
Encourages employee ownership
Employees are the people involved in creation of ritualising work routine. Thus, they become invested to ensure it reflects the best approach. Employee ownership of processes means they don't have to be policed to all the time.
Allows management team focus on strategic objectives
When employees are truly engaged in the day-to-day work routine, it allows leaders and managers to focus on the organisation's strategic goals. Leaders are removed from firefighting roles that may affect the long-term goal of the organisation such as shareholder return or business expansion.
Work routine management encourages creativity. Employees who are at the forefront of tasks and processes are best placed to provide solutions to emerging problems. Continuous improvement thus becomes part of work routine management culture.
Key to performance measurement
Measuring individual and group performance is essential in every organisation. Work routine provides a template for measuring how an employee has performed over a given period. The entire organisation can also evaluate how work routinization is impacting individual performance and vice versa.
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Tips for improving work routine management
Here are tips for improving work routine management:
Projects are unique, time-bound undertakings geared towards achieving a particular set of objectives. Defining projects is key in establishing and adhering to work routine. Projectised approach to work ensures tasks are assigned to the right persons and resources dedicated to those tasks. Time to accomplish the tasks is also set, and everyone understands that not accomplishing specific tasks may lead to delays and inability to achieve project goals.
When all processes follow similar rules, it enhances trust and cohesion among team members during accomplishment of tasks. Standardising processes also fosters collaboration as similar tasks could be performed by different people familiar with the standard. It becomes easy to fill a role when an employee is off duty for various reasons.
Categorise operational routines
This strategy entails grouping similar procedures and activities and dedicating blocks of time to implement all affiliated activities. Categorising operational routines helps in focusing efforts on similar activities for a longer time, hence increasing performance levels in carrying out daily work.
In order to entrench work routine, it is vital to measure project performance at the individual, group and corporate level. To measure performance, it is advisable to evaluate how tasks are performed and the results achieved from those tasks. Performance measurement also enables a manager to assess disorganisations and challenges in performing different routines.
Performing tasks correctly within scheduled time is a hallmark of work routine management. Centralising work risks work overload and inability to accomplish tasks within the specified time. The solution lies in delegating tasks to employees based on their professional skills and procedure priority.
Professional skills entail delegating tasks to employees with the right skills set to perform the tasks. Procedure priority refers to delegation of duties that do not need specialised skills and can be performed by other people without causing significant issues.
Delegating tasks to employee who lack the skills may lead to negative effects such as inefficiency and non-compliance to operational routines. It may also increase a managers' uncertainty in delegating tasks in the future.
Divide work schedule based on priorities
Dividing employees' work schedule using a clear and objective criteria may improve work routine management and workflow. You may divide the work schedule by separating core activities from non-core activities. Work schedule may also be divided according to time, with tasks having a closer deadline being prioritised over those with a longer deadline. You may also divide tasks based on resource allocation and resource impact where tasks with a greater impact getting more resources.
Leverage tools in work routine management
Take your work routine management to a new level by investing in tools. Tools such as calendars, spreadsheets and log frames help organise work schedules and improve workflow. Tools also promote habits that enhance employees' discipline.
Implement a reward system
Implementing a reward system helps inculcate a routine of habits. A reward is given to an employee or the team that is deemed exemplary in adhering to work routine. A reward system gradually transforms an organisation's culture, fosters greater collaboration and motivates employees.