Work Routine

Updated August 15, 2022

Achieving high productivity is the centrepiece of every organization's strategic planning. Establishing a proper work routine is crucial to ensuring productivity among employees. 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 organization and tips for improving work routine management.

What is work routine management?

Work routine management refers to actions designed to assist employees to perform their work well. They are pre-established rituals that need to happen regularly 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.

Related: Create a 30-60-90 Day Plan for Your New Job

Benefits of work routine management

Here are the benefits that accrue to an organization that makes work routine management part of its culture:

Standardized processes

A key benefit of work routine management is standardizing of processes at the workplace. When processes are standardized, each person performs work according to the current best practice. Standardizing also eliminates ambiguities and adds discipline to the company's culture.

Read more: How to Learn More About a Company's Culture

Consistent results

Work routine management allows an organization to get consistent results. When work is consistent, there is a higher likelihood of achieving quality and increasing customer satisfaction. In addition, if standardized 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.

Reduce stress

A 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 reduce 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.

Increased productivity

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 organizations from attaining their objectives.

Saves time

Work routine saves time as the processes become more ritualized and streamlined. As employees learn the rhythm, they become more efficient as they know what to expect at every step.

Inculcates habits

Work routines 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.

Streamlines problem-solving

Work routine management does not solve all problems. However, it makes it easier to identify and solve workplace problems because you know the current state. You can also draw an ideal state and work towards achieving it.

Allows organizations to scale rapidly

Work routine management makes it easy for organizations to get the same results every time, making rapid scaling an achievable feat. One-off processes and routine uncertainty steepen 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 being done by everyone else.

Read more: Tips for successfully navigating your first day at a new job

Encourages employee ownership

Employees are the people involved in the creation of ritualizing work routines. Thus, they become invested to ensure it reflects the best approach. Employee ownership of processes means they don't have to be policed all the time.

Allows management team to 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 organization's strategic goals. Leaders are removed from firefighting roles that may affect the long-term goal of the organization such as shareholder return or business expansion.

Encourages creativity

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 organization. Work routine provides a template for measuring how an employee has performed over a given period. The entire organization can also evaluate how these work routines are impacting individual performance and vice versa.

Read more: How Employee Performance Is Measured and Why It's Important

Tips for improving work routine management

Here are tips for improving work routine management:

Define projects

Projects are unique, time-bound undertakings geared towards achieving a particular set of objectives. Defining projects is key in establishing and adhering to a work routine. Approaching work through defined projects ensures tasks are assigned to the right persons and appropriate resources are 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 an inability to achieve project goals.

Standardize processes

When all processes follow similar rules, it enhances trust and cohesion among team members during the accomplishment of tasks. Standardizing 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.

Categorize operational routines

This strategy entails grouping similar procedures and activities and dedicating blocks of time to implement all affiliated activities. Categorizing operational routines helps in focusing efforts on similar activities for a longer time, hence increasing performance levels in carrying out daily work.

Measure performance

In order to entrench work routine, it is vital to measure project performance at the individual, group and corporate levels. 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 disorganizations and challenges in performing different routines.

Delegate tasks

Performing tasks correctly within scheduled time is a hallmark of work routine management. Centralizing work risks work overload and the 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 skill set to perform the tasks. Procedure priority refers to the delegation of duties that do not need specialized 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 manager's uncertainty in delegating tasks in the future.

Divide work schedule based on priorities

Dividing employees' work schedules using 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 prioritized over those with a longer deadline. You may also divide tasks based on resource allocation and resource impact allowing tasks with a greater impact to get 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 organize 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 organization's culture, fosters greater collaboration and motivates employees.

Related: How To Make Work Schedules (With Tips To Make Your Own)

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