Sharing information is one of the most powerful capabilities of today’s technology. Today, good time management software can make it easy to share information utilizing a variety of different tools. For example, when a manager needs to provide a team with information regarding the time allotted for a project, a good tool will allow them to either print up timesheets and give them to specific people or, if they wish, to utilize tools such as email and other shared resources to provide information. This can diffuse some unpleasant situations and, in the end, it generally serves to increase the level of productivity that employees enjoy in the workplace.
One of the most vital concerns with shared information is format. Even with in a large company, the various departments involved with the company probably do not use the exact same software and, in some cases, they may even use different operating systems. Using almost universally accessible formats such as PDF, HTML or CSV, information can be seamlessly shared between departments and can be made instantly accessible to the individuals who need it the most.
Any time management tool should be able to work across different technologies to provide the information required by the various departments. If it cannot, that time management tool may actually become something of a time sink itself, detracting from the time that could be better utilized towards the project and forcing management and other individuals to allocate time to communicating through the difficulties presented by the technology they are using.
Ease of Use
Another important thing to keep in mind about a time management tool is that it absolutely has to be easy to use. If it is not easy to use, people will stop using it and that will create communications problems. These communications problems can easily derail a project that is progressing smoothly otherwise.
The easier something is to use, the easier it will be for everybody required to use that software to incorporated into their workday. As a report by Tech Republic reveals, not addressing these differences in the way that people work can result in serious problems. These problems may emanate from very simple things. For example, one person on a team may – with nearly Pythagorean precision – take a break at a specific time every single morning. If another member of the team is expecting work to be turned in at that time, this seemingly minor difference in work style could result in a significant bottleneck in the production process.
When a time management tool is easy to use, it’s easy for people to communicate the different ways that they work, the different times that they will be available and so forth. This can help to reduce conflicts dramatically. By not setting up a situation where those conflicts are inevitable in the first place, all of the time required to resolve those conflicts is effectively freed up to deal with production.
Open Mindedness and New Tools
Particularly among people who have been doing their job for a very long time, it’s likely that there will be conventions present that they will be very hesitant to part with. For example, somebody who has been a manager for 20 years may very well still use a day planner type tool to budget their time. These can be great and they can be very effective ways of managing time for some people. The problem arises because these devices do not have any inherent way to communicate information with other workers.
This is how situations such as people expecting someone to turn in work when that person has a meeting arise. These types of communication glitches can result in significant wasting of time. Ideally, people who utilize older ways of tracking their time need to embrace newer ways of doing so, so that everybody is in the loop and so that everybody’s time is accounted for.
The easier a time management tool is to use the more likely it will be that people who are not accustomed to using such tools will adopt them willingly, even gladly. Part of making people open-minded to new ideas is showing them the benefits of utilizing those ideas and, sometimes, those new tools. If a manager can pull this off, it’s likely that they will be able to get the person involved in the new time management tool to the point where that person will come to depend on it the way they depended upon their older tools.
It’s imperative that people see the benefits of a time management tool. Provided a good time management tool is being utilize, however, it should not be terribly difficult to communicate those benefits. In the end, it’s much easier to enter something once, have it communicated to everybody who needs to know about it and to not have to worry about it anymore. This means there’s no need to call anyone, email anyone, visit anyone’s office or do anything else to communicate that someone may be available or unavailable during a given block of time.
Fast Sharing Means Efficiency
When information related to time management can be shared instantly, it means that efficiency is invariably increased. Because people are immediately aware of when something changes, they don’t have to guess as to whether or not something has changed that they need to be aware of. If there is a change, all they have to do is check their schedule and they will see what has been moved around, rescheduled and so forth.
When this sharing becomes part of corporate culture, it becomes much easier for everybody to know what everybody else is doing. Far from being invasive, this helps people communicate when they have a need – such as needing to be away from work for a given day – in a much easier fashion and in a way that ensures that everybody who needs to know this information is informed in advance, eliminating some of the most common causes of problems with time management and communication.