Best Practices Of Resource Scheduling For Enhanced Team Productivity

Posted on Nov 15 2018 - 8:21am by Aakash

Hard work doesn’t necessarily add up to productivity. It is a popular myth that squeezing more hours out of your staff leads to robust productivity scales. But nothing could be further from the truth. Essentially, workforce efficiency lies in how much work your employees can complete in the time frame they’re given without actually bearing the brunt of over-utilisation.

A direct result of misaligned priorities is a scenario wherein critical work is left undone while timelines get pushed. Your employees are then forced into a frantic scramble in the nth hour. On the other hand, making the workplace all about the effort-hour ratio results in staff going about their work mechanically, which risks an imminent burnout down the line. Given that neither scenario bodes well for your firm, allocating your team optimal project schedules and logically spreading out tasks lets them go the extra mile.

From making sure you’re hiring the right fit to continually coming up with innovative employee engagement measures that nurture talent, there’s always room for a  newer process that can maximise potential, and resource scheduling is one such measure that lets you invest in robust productivity scales. Only when you know your staff’s schedules will you structure work around their capabilities, thus ensuring that they’re not slacking off when on the clock. In other words, optimally allocated schedules keep your employees sufficiently challenged without pushing them too hard. So here are tips to go about achieving the right balance –

Complete visibility of the schedule 

Clouded visibility is much like driving a car through unfavorable weather conditions- you’re at the distinct disadvantage of not knowing what lies ahead. The question of visibility comes into play when you want to confirm your staff’s availability before assigning deliverables. After all, once the right resources for the percentage of time required has been allocated, you need to structure schedules such that optimal levels of utilisation are maintained amongst your employees.

In the planning landscape, the unconditional visibility rendered by an intuitive resource scheduling tool gives you a high-level Gantt chart of project and team schedules. Given that schedules account for busy and free times in a calendar, your ability to derive insights concerning how and where your employees are occupied will then be based on your staff’s location, current and future availabilities as well as their competencies which guarantees that they can truly commit.

Once you release work schedules, you’ll avoid a tight squeeze between tasks to ensure disruptions are minimised. Moreover, you avoid micromanaging your employees which lets them take complete work within realistic timelines.

Seamless channels of communication and collaboration

Projects run into issues, sooner or later. Your staff’s productivity is hampered in the process of escalating issues to concerned personnel. Delayed responses slow down the project turnaround, resulting in a slump as your staff await feedback.

Instead, collaborative channels let teams exchange information in a free-flow, allowing them to reorganise their tasks with the new knowledge gained. Besides improving accessibility to raw data, schedules factor in your resources’ extenuating circumstances which can be communicated in real-time.

The reduction in response and wait times is drastically reduced even if concerns are communicated indirectly.  What’s more, tasks stay on track when the right people receive push-notifications indicating that there’s work they need to attend to.

Unambiguous list of priorities

Given how plans change, it’s always a good idea to explore a priority route different from the original packaging list. This ensures that your teams don’t lose sight of important tasks while ensuring the change doesn’t introduce a lapse in workforce productivity.

Simply put, forecasting schedule projections lets you generate different permutations for planned and actual effort hours. You can then re-route schedules after factoring in absences, non-core work, upskilling and training times, such that the time left between tasks are optimally utilised. Plus, you can make sure that no particular member of staff is idling on the bench when they’re free, or conversely, being overworked.

Plan to achieve a holistic balance

Injecting a breathing space between tasks prevents work from piling up in the last minute.  But what really evokes workplace enthusiasm are the team-building events you have in place to keep your staff engaged.

When all’s said and done, you need to celebrate minor and major victories with a little workplace downtime. It all boils down to everyone wanting something fun to look forward to after putting in weeks or months of hard work. And this is possible only when you have schedules that are planned and leveled against work done.

Once you know the majority of your team is free, you can fulfill gaps between core work with educational workshops, company retreats, excursions and activities that interest your staff. They can not only see who else shares similar interests but also places them in a position of leadership to coordinate the activity breakdown,i.e explaining rules, picking players etc. Given that no two leadership styles are alike, you’ll instantly recognize your team’s competitive spirit and ascertain how well they work together.

Performance-based incentivisation

And finally, how do you promote quality work? By giving your staff a golden star for demonstrable productivity.

Resource scheduling gives you an account of milestone completion timelines and project task progress statuses. This way, your employees won’t have to wait for year-end appraisals to know how their performances compared against the action items they were assigned.

Instead, if you refer to project briefs, you will be in a position to correlate team performance against the work within projects completed till date. Consequently, you can reward your staff with personalised benefits to motivate them to continue bringing their best to the table.

While monetary promotions count,  it helps to have morale-boosters such as a weekly wall of fame to give employees recognition for their efforts. As your teams receive instant gratification concerning their performance, their colleagues are encouraged to follow suit. A reward-based system also ensures transparency and conveys the message that promotions are granted on merit alone as opposed to favouritism.

In a nutshell, scientifically scheduling your resources lets you achieve an exactness between different project components, including skill-matches, staff availability and demand-based deployments.

Itching to align your firm’s estimated revenue against employee productivity?  Use these measures to avoid being short-changed of workforce efficiency and longevity!

About the Author

Aakash Gupta heads the Business consulting wing of Saviom Software. As a firm advocate of the best practices for proactive project portfolio management and resource management, he has several publications in the space to his credit. Follow his work, here.