3 Factors of Time Allocation

By The Numbers

A tremendous contributor to a workplace culture is management’s viewpoint on time. Managers send a very loud message to those who work for them based on the way they treat their employees when it comes to time. To develop a workplace culture of high performance the manager must give careful consideration to three aspects of the way they spend their time and how they impact the way their employees spend time.

The three key factors in time allocation are relatively simple. Read them below the picture.

Be on time for meetings.

When the manager shows up late for an appointment the manager is telling the employees at the manager’s time is more valuable than the employee’s time. Although this may seem to the manager to be true it is not a message that a manager should send if it is expected employees will value their time.

On the contrary, being early to a meeting often allows a manager to have some relationship building time with others arriving to the meeting early. Many managers find this to be the most valuable time of any day as the relaxed atmosphere a pre-meeting setting offers provides for a less guarded conversation.

Another result of a lack of promptness to the start of a scheduled meeting is that others will quickly learn the starting time is not a real-time. Eventually a majority of employees will begin to come late for a meeting. This further reduces productivity of the entire workplace.

Make sure that what is being worked on has ROI.

One of the biggest peeves in the workplace is busywork. Front-line employees are very quick to perceive what constitutes busywork and what tasks are within the scope of accomplishing the vision for their organization. If they are conscientious, and you better hope they are, they will resent the time they have to spend doing things for which they see no perceived value.

Judy, a merchandise planner for Kmart, had a policy that she would not begin a project given to the department as a whole until several others had submitted their first drafts.

“My work is always turned in on time,” she said, “but I learned a long time ago that the way they first want something done will be changed. I just wait until a final format has been defined before I get started.”

This may seem like an unusual policy but while others are working on the first draft Judy is able to get additional work done making her one of the most productive team members in the department.

Managers need to evaluate every task before handing it over to the front-line employees to ensure the time they spend will be well spent.

Make sure you are not creating “red-tape” and other barriers.

The third aspect of making sure that time is well spent is a take a hard look at processes and procedures. With new technology, experts agree, that if you are doing something today the same way you did five years ago you are not being as productive as possible. Lack of use of technology is only part of the barriers to effective use of time.

Business leaders love to “fix” problems by developing policies and procedures. Although they may seem wise at the time they often inhibit time usage - today and years into the future. Most often these “fixes” involve some sort of approval process.

An anonymous company had developed detailed approval processes that became extremely cumbersome. Employees had to negotiate several forms in order to procure a pencil, leave work early, go to meetings outside of the office and many other aspects of their jobs. The forms themselves were not a problem as they were good for record-keeping. The problem was they had to be signed by upper management beforehand. This eliminated employees from taking advantage of time sensitive opportunities and distracted management from their main responsibilities.


By mastering these three aspects of a team’s time, a manager is able to rapidly increase productivity. Once a team perceives their time is valued by the entire organization they develop a psychological perception that time is to be cherished and honored, lessening the likelihood of missed deadlines and lost productivity.

© 2007 Max Impact Corporation