6 Ways to Become An Accountable Teammate

6 Ways to Become An Accountable Teammate

People work much more effectively as a team when compared to working as a group of individuals. However, in order for teamwork to be effective, each member of the team must do their part. If just one member of the team falters, it can adversely affect the whole group, and projects can be delayed or even worse.

One way to help ensure that all team members are participating is for all team members to accept accountability for their roles. Once team members are accountable, they know they’re responsible for certain tasks while the rest of the team understands their and others’ roles in the group.

This leads to the question of how you can become an accountable teammate, and this article looks to answer that question.

1. Work Efficiently

As a member of a team, individuals have the responsibility of ensuring they’re working efficiently and effectively. Otherwise, tasks might be delayed or not completed to the required standards. However, a lot of people may not be working efficiently without being aware of it.

To help you ensure you’re working efficiency, you can use time tracking software like the PK4 TimeTracker to monitor how much time you’re spending on particular tasks. The results are often surprising, with people finding out that they’re spending a lot of their time on unproductive jobs. Knowing this information then allows you to make adjustments to get your productivity back on track. 

2. Avoid Excuses

If you’re responsible for something that goes wrong – own it. Hold your hand up, acknowledge that you’re at fault and look to rectify the issue as soon as possible. One of the worst things you can do is to make excuses, and you should definitely avoid blaming other people.

You should also ensure you make people aware of the situation as soon as possible. You might find it tempting to keep it quiet in the hope it’ll work out, but this is only likely to make the matter worse. Instead, speak up about any project delays straight away so you can use teamwork with your colleagues, enabling you to fix the problem as soon as possible.

3. Embrace Failure

As a famous Scotsman once quipped, even the best-made plans can go wrong. This won’t necessarily be your fault or anybody else’s, while at other times the reason for the failure might be down to you. Don’t shirk away from such failures. Instead, you should embrace them. While failure obviously has its downsides, it can also be treated as an opportunity.

Once you embrace a failure, you can then own it and deal with it. Embracing a failure also helps you do one of the best things you can do in such a situation, which is to learn from it. When you are embracing your failures, working to correct them and learning from them, you become an accountable member of the team.

4. Declare Your Responsibilities

For teamwork to be effective, it’s important that everybody know who is responsible for what. That way, if something is behind schedule or gets done badly, people know who to turn to. If nobody is accepting responsibility for the role then there’s nobody to turn to, potentially making it very difficult to accept the situation.

To be an accountable teammate, you should declare your responsibility upfront so everybody knows who to speak to should they need to. This can also benefit you because people know who to approach to help prevent a problem from happening, if needed. Not only should you declare your responsibilities, but your teammates should do also.

5. Set Targets

All team members should set themselves targets that help ensure they deliver what is needed, and on time. You should also share your targets with your teammates so everybody knows what is expected of each other as well as themselves.

Another advantage of setting targets is that it helps the team as a unit tell if they’re being realistic and will contribute to successful project management. Setting targets together as a team gives everybody the opportunity to speak out if they feel the plan is flawed in any way.

6. Provide Regular Updates

Providing regular updates on your progress helps to ensure everything is going according to plan. Not only will providing updates help let your teammates know you’re on target, but it’s also an opportunity for you to update yourself. If something isn’t to specification or if it’s running late, then regular updates allow you to fix issues before they become a serious problem.

Providing regular updates will also help make it clear to others what your role is, thus ensuring you maximize your accountability and provide a strong teamwork ethic. Of course, the rest of the team should also provide regular updates making project management easier.

Become an Accountable Team Member and Enhance Your Career

Being an accountable team member provides various benefits to your team by helping to ensure projects are completed successfully. Perhaps even better is that accepting accountability is beneficial for you.

Accepting accountability will help make you a valuable team member, meaning you provide a positive contribution. Being adept at teamwork and contributing will likely be noticed and, hopefully, rewarded with promotions and positions that will help to further your career.

What’s more is that becoming accountable isn’t necessarily difficult, and it can even help to make your job easier. Make sure you’re spending your time effectively, embrace failure so you can learn from it, be open about your responsibilities, and do what you can to contribute to overall project management. Don’t forget that you should expect the same from your teammates also.

If you have any other tips on becoming an accountable team member, do share it with us in the comments. Would love to hear from you.

Photo by StockSnap on Pixabay

 

10 Creative Ways to Save Time

10 Creative Ways to Save Time

Time is the most precious commodity we have, mostly because we have so little of it. Even the wealthiest of people can’t buy more time, and we can’t replace time that has been lost. This makes it important to make as much of your time as possible because wasted time is time that you will never get back again.

The chances are that all of us are wasting time in some ways, even if we don’t realize it. Take watching TV shows, for example.

Now, watching a TV show is not necessarily a waste of time per se – we all need our downtime. But how much time have you spent watching intros that you’ve already seen numerous times before? Last week, Netflix revealed that in the 5 years since introduction, the Skip Intro button had cumulatively saved it’s users a 195 years! 

Here, we look at ten creative ways to help you avoid wasting your precious time.

1. Time Tracking

Many of us will be wasting time without even realizing it or not realizing how much we are spending on unproductive tasks. However, investing in time tracking software like the PK4 TimeTracker can help you recognize where your time is being spent. Using time tracking tools makes it easier to know how to make adjustments to your day so you become more productive in project management.

2. Avoid Multitasking

Many people believe doing more than one thing at once is a great way to get more done to save time. However, quite the opposite is usually true. Indeed, studies have shown that we can lose up to 40% of our productivity if we try multitasking. Instead, it’s best to focus on one thing at a time, moving on to the next task as soon as the previous task is done.

3. Make the Most of Waiting Time

We all need to wait sometimes. Whether it’s in a waiting room for an interview or on a train on the way to work, there are moments when we are essentially doing nothing productive. However, you can even use these moments to get something done. Some tasks can be completed with a laptop or even a smartphone, leaving you free for other tasks later on.

4. Delegate

Many tasks are time-consuming and unproductive, but they still need to be done. If you have such tasks on your itinerary, you could consider delegating accountability to somebody else. Delegating unproductive tasks will give you more time to focus on what matter most, boosting your productivity overall and making for good project management.

5. Avoid Pointless Meetings

A common issue that affects team management is calling meetings for no good reason. For example, some will want to call meetings to distribute work management reports that could otherwise be shared and discussed by email. If you are called to a meeting that you feel isn’t necessary, politely decline if you can. It’s important to be tactful because refusing to go to too many meetings could give the wrong impression, but it’s something to consider when you’re busy.

6. Learn To Say NO

Learning to say no is one of the most important skills to master when it comes to time management. Too many people will gladly disturb you when you’re already doing something, hindering your performance in the process. When it comes to team management, it’s important to draw lines and say no when people are disrupting your working day. It’s OK to allocate some time in the day to other people, but they need to know to leave you alone when you’re working. This includes friends and family as well as colleagues and employees.

7. Plan Your Day

Planning your day ahead will help give your performance a boost. You will be able to see what needs to be done and when, making it easy to identify potential issues before you get started. Making to-do-lists will help you plan your day, while you can also use online calendars with staff and colleagues so they know what you have planned.

8. Prioritize Your Tasks

A key tip to effective product management is to focus on your most important and most productive work priorities, and tools like the timeboxing technique will help you achieve this. Make sure to do the most important and most productive first, leaving the rest for last. Even better, delegate the least important tasks to give you more time to focus on important things, including essential downtime.

9. Automate

Many menial tasks will take a long time, but one of the advantages of menial tasks is that you can automate many of them. Some tasks like processing emails and replying with messages can be automated, potentially reducing wasted time and boosting your productivity. Another advantage of using automation tools is that they give you access to feedback data, which can empower you to make impactful decisions.

10. Look After Yourself

Taking accountability for your well-being is one of the most important time management skills you could learn. Eat well, sleep well, get a reasonable amount of exercise and give yourself time to relax. When you look after yourself, you are better prepared to handle whatever comes at you, making you more efficient. You will get through tasks quickly and accurately, helping to save time overall.

Summary

This is just a small selection of creative ways you can save time. In many cases, we aren’t even aware of how much time we are wasting, and time tracker tools can help highlight areas for improvement. Planning your day and avoiding unnecessary tasks and meetings can also help, while automation tools are also beneficial. But, perhaps most importantly of all, make sure to look after yourself so you’re firing on all cylinders.

If you have other effective ways to save time, do share it with us in the comments. Would love to hear from you.

Photo by Gerd Altmann on Pixabay

Manage Projects Efficiently and Get Paid Faster

Manage Projects Efficiently and Get Paid Faster

Late payments can play havoc with a company’s cash flow. Such disruption can result in shortages meaning there’s a lack of funds to reinvestment in the company or even difficulties paying bills and staff. Regardless, studies have shown that around 64% of small companies have experienced not being paid on invoices for 60 days or longer.

There are various reasons for late payments from clients. One reason is the client lacking funds themselves, while another potential reason is a lack of organization. The company doing the work is also sometimes at fault, such as delayed delivery, quality issues, or administrative problems. 

One way to ensure that you’re paid for projects on time is to run the project as efficiently as possible.

Define the Project Before Starting

One way to help ensure you get paid on time is to define the project before starting. You need to define the scope of the task, which materials are needed, how long it will take, and who will be working on the project.

By defining the project fully, you can give an accurate quote and completion deadline, meaning the client is less likely to have anything to contest when paying. Defining the project will also help ensure you get paid fairly for your work and have everything you need to do the job. 

Track Your Team

Manpower is one of the most important ingredients of just about any project. Your staff’s experience and skills are necessary to get the job done and even the most advanced technology cannot replace most human tasks. However, as important as manpower is for getting a project finished, it is also one of the most expensive aspects. Manpower can also be one of the most difficult variables to manage.

However, solutions like PK4 Tech’s time tracking software can help to make it much easier for you to track and manage your team. For example, the technology can let you know where an employee is at a particular time, what they have been working on, and how long they have spent on certain tasks.

This ability to monitor employees in such a way is beneficial for numerous reasons, including:

  • Error Reduction: It can be very easy to make errors when timesheets are created. People are unlikely to remember all the details of their working week, especially if they have been busy. Time tracking software will help to eliminate errors by tracking your employees’ actions for you. 
  • Improved Billing: Time trackers make it easier to track the amount of time working for clients. The software also makes it easier for you to send reports to your clients to keep up with the work being done and monitor the progress of the project themselves. With everything documented, clients are less likely to have a reason to delay their payments.
  • Monitor Productivity: The average employee will spend around 51% of their working day on unproductive tasks. It’s not necessarily their fault; people just won’t always realize how much time certain tasks are taking. With time tracking software, you can monitor how long employees are spending on tasks, helping you identify where they could be spending their time better.
  • Easy Processing: Processing timesheets can be a time-consuming and menial task for managers, meaning more important tasks are pushed aside. However, time-tracking software makes it much simpler for managers to approve timesheets. Instead of using paper sheets, managers instead have all the details they need on the screen in front of them. The software makes it easy to accept or reject timesheets at the touch of a button, and let employees know why their timesheet was rejected.
  • Budget Monitoring: It can be easy to go over budget if you’re not monitoring your expenses, but time tracking software makes it easy for you. With the right software, you can get the information you need at a glance, helping you make important decisions. 

Time tracking can help you manage your project more efficiently in numerous ways. In addition to the benefits already mentioned, the software can also produce comprehensive reports that give you the information you need to make impactful decisions. Not only that, but time-tracking software can also integrate with other systems, helping you get more value from them. Overall, the software can help you identify the most productive ways to work, while reducing errors and streamlining your processes. Your clients are more likely to pay on time with an efficiently managed process.

5 Tips For Measuring Your Employees’ Time And Productivity Levels

5 Tips For Measuring Your Employees’ Time And Productivity Levels

We all want to be productive, but productivity isn’t something you can enforce on others. The productivity of your employees will depend on many factors that you won’t be able to control – like their health, motivation, unforeseen events, etc.

Some things you do have control over, though. You can help your employees stay productive by paying attention to their work environment and putting effective workflows and systems in place. And you can measure their output to see what needs improving.

Measuring time and productivity can get tricky since every employee has a unique personality and working style. It takes a skilled manager who’s objective and insightful to decide if a team member is effective, struggling, or overly thorough.

Here are a few individual productivity guidelines to get you inspired:

1. Track your employees’ time

If you’re not already tracking your employees’ time, you really should. Not necessarily to question their choices, but rather to understand how your employees respond to tasks and challenges.

A significant part of workplace management is tracking your employees’ work and break time, as well as diving deeper into how much time they logged for each project and task.

You can also look into how many breaks your employees are taking, paid time off or sick leave, as well as absenteeism or whether your employees get to work on time.

You can easily accomplish this with a Time Tracker, where you have the option to approve your employee’s time entries and have a bird’s eye view of how your team is performing.

2. Track tasks and set clear objectives

Evaluating your employees on the number of hours worked may seem straightforward, but it’s not the best indicator for productivity. You also need to check how well they’ve performed on the tasks you’ve assigned them.

Did they understand the goals? Did some of them fail to meet deadlines or do you have employees who regularly overdeliver? What tasks took most of their time and why? Keep task difficulty in mind when deciding if your employee was effective.

Time Tracker also has the option of creating tasks and projects where your employees can check in, so you can easily correlate the difficulty of a task with the time spent on it.

3. Evaluate client satisfaction

You may have superstar employees who seem to blaze through assignments faster than most of their coworkers. Before you congratulate them, it wouldn’t hurt to get a little suspicious of their performance. They may be fast, but are they really doing a stellar job?

What better way to find out than ask the end recipient of their work – your client? You can send a quick survey, email, or call your clients to make sure they’re satisfied. Ask them to rate your employee’s services, handling time, etc., and see how they respond.

Any negative feedback should be cause for alarm and a clear sign that your employees value quantity over quality. This brings us to our next point:

4. Place value on work quality

An employee’s ability to get things done depends largely on their ability to focus and take their time with the task at hand. Unfortunately, many workers confess to being burnt out and perpetually behind at work. Taking their time is often not an option.

As a leader, you need to ask yourself – is the company culture sending the right message? Do you push your workers to meet impossible quotas, and are they perhaps working at an unsustainable rhythm?

Or are some employees simply struggling because they’re not a good fit for the job? Managers should put their detective cap on and investigate all the possible reasons why the quality of a product or service may suffer and address them immediately.

It may be that your employees need to get better at time management, or that you should set better work priorities – or both. Whatever the reason, there’s always room for improvement.

5. Set a good example

Lastly, don’t just measure your employee’s time and productivity. Start with measuring your own. All the decisions you make throughout a workday as a manager can have ripple effects on your team’s work.

Can you improve your work environment? Are you good at delegating tasks you struggle with? What about self-care and taking time off? The more you investigate your own productivity dips, the more you’ll have an idea about what your team members are dealing with. 

So track and measure as many of these factors as you can, and do it frequently. Only then will you have a clear idea of how to improve, and how to appreciate the people who are a great asset to your company. 

Is Your Team Slacking? Fix These 7 Time Wasters

Is Your Team Slacking? Fix These 7 Time Wasters

We all know that staying 100% focused at work is virtually impossible. You might have the most motivated employees, and they’ll still need to disconnect from time to time. 

But what happens if disconnection becomes the norm in your company? If your productivity levels are plunging, you might want to check what your employees are doing with their time.

Your team may be slacking for various reasons. You may be a tolerant boss or manager, and you’ve let their relaxed behavior get…well, too relaxed. Or maybe your workers are stressed out and constantly working – just working on the wrong things. 

Address these 7 most common time wasters in the workplace and see your team’s productivity improve dramatically:

Excessive Time Off

Breaks are a human need, but when they don’t get monitored in the workplace, some employees can easily take advantage of the company’s lack of break policies. 

While bathroom breaks are okay, watercooler breaks that spark group gossip are not. Neither are lunch breaks that extend way over the allotted time. But, you know, what doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get managed.

While hanging a “No congregating at the water cooler” sign may sound like a good idea, you could choose an easier route and simply start tracking breaks.

A tool like our Time Tracker is great for monitoring breaks and also has an option for automatic breaks for those companies that enforce 15-minute coffee/tea breaks every few hours.

Workplace Interruptions

Interruptions come in many shapes and sizes. Phone or computer notifications, chatty coworkers, eventful open space offices, impromptu meetings – all these are the enemy of continuous focus in the workplace. 

Losing your train of thought is annoying enough – imagine experiencing this in a professional setting, over and over again.

To fix this, you could offer your employees access to a quiet conference room or office for bursts of productivity. Much like the library, this will become the perfect place for employees who are easily overwhelmed by noise and office commotion.

Endless Email Clutter

Email is one of those things that we check the first thing we wake up. We’re expected to reply within a few hours, and, if our jobs depend on it, even faster. But email is a huge time-waster in the workplace and isn’t always the best means for communication.

Improve your email communication by setting clear rules and processes in place. Also, when possible, allow your employees to stay “unreachable” when they’re working on important tasks.

Annoying Meetings

A whopping 15% of a company’s time is spent on meetings. Frequent meetings are not only a waste of a company’s time and resources – they’re also annoying. Why? Because they conjure up the entire team instead of sticking to the essential people. 

Meetings take too long and are often late to start. Participants can be unprepared, unfocused, and even daydreamers (you know who you are). Don’t even get me started on back-to-back meetings – avoid them at all costs if you don’t want to permanently fry your brain.

Unclear Responsibilities

Another important time sucker in the workplace is confusion. Your employees might be well-intentioned and willing to work, but their enthusiasm will instantly fade if they don’t have a competent manager or leader.

Easy fix – learn to prioritize. Define the most important tasks at the beginning of each workday, and delegate like a pro. Each worker should be assigned a project and task to work on and a timeframe to do it.

You can easily do this in the Time Tracker for Salesforce app and manage your team seamlessly.

Online Distractions

Whether it’s cat videos, Insta stories, full-blown hobbies like video games, or using company time to book your vacation, the internet offers an endless world of online distractions.

These distractions, along with excessive phone use, are perhaps the most universal time wasters, both at home and in the office.

While you can’t really police your team into being productive, you can recognize these distractions for what they are – a form of procrastination. You can fix this by engaging your employees and leveraging their interests and skills, so that they feel useful instead of demotivated. 

Too Many Tools

Technology is supposed to make us more productive, but with all the apps we have to choose from, the opposite is actually true.

Should you hop on Zoom, Skype, Whatsapp, or Google meets for a conference call? What about checking your multiple inboxes, Trello boards, Slack messages, and Google Docs? I can already sense your levels of overwhelming rising. 

SaaS services may be evolving, but many departments have different tools for managing their projects, which makes inter-department communication confusing and difficult. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of having centralized tools for your business.

Productivity may sometimes seem elusive in the workplace, but that’s because you can’t be productive in a perpetually distracting environment. Embrace time tracking, delegate clear tasks, create focus “bubbles,” reduce meetings, and you’ll see more efficient, happier employees.