Fully optimizing each member of your team is a dream for every business. By calculating utilization rates and determining where every resource can be best used, businesses can supercharge productivity without burning out team members. However, many companies today have increased their teams’ utilization to the next level yet still find themselves unable to reach the goals they have set. So what’s holding them back?
Moving from resource utilization to resource optimization is often a matter of fine tuning teams rather than making sweeping overhauls. And whether you find yourself far off from your goals or nearly there, finding where your teams are lacking and making crucial changes is the key to achieving the next level in resource management and actually optimizing each member of your team.
The following areas may be exactly what you need to focus on to make the move from managing utilization to optimizing your resources:
Creating “Flow Time”
According to studies at the University of California, Irvine, it can take up to 25 minutes to return to full focus on a task after an interruption. Whether this is due to meetings, emails, instant messages, or any other type of attention-grabbing activity, the time lost due to distraction and interruptions is far greater than simply the time spent on that interaction. If you’re wondering why your resources are still not operating at the higher level you’re looking to achieve, take a look at the average schedule for your workers and the amount of communications occurring online. You may find that their workday is peppered with all manner of meetings and online interactions that never leave “flow time,” where a worker can concentrate for long periods of time on a task without interruption. Work to reduce emails and consolidate meetings to improve the amount of flow time and you’ll find that natural productivity will increase.
Advanced Training in Technology
Every member of your team relies on some form of technology. Whether they are managers handling highly complicated processes that coordinate their teams or new hires adjusting to the specific solutions that your organization has used for years, technology informs the way everyday work is handled. However, your resources may be missing out on crucial capabilities, may have grown rusty in how to properly use a piece of technology, or are simply misusing it due to a lack of understanding. In any of these cases, technology that was meant to optimize processes may be underused or even causing slowdowns. As such, it’s in your best interest to survey your teams regarding the technology they use and provide training where needed. The result may be sudden jumps in productivity.
Set a Standard for Non-Billable Time
It may be that the see-saw of billable versus non-billable time has become unpredictable and inconsistent across team members. What is causing this? Is it a lack of projects that create excessive downtime? Is it the result of too many coworkers asking for help in their internal projects? Have office communications and outdated processes overtaken the time that should be spent on clients? In any case, determining just how much time is spent on non-billable work, determining the root causes, and working to weed them out will naturally increase the potential for billable work. However, the opposite applies to this, as well. Your team members need non-billable time. Whether that is for handling internal work needs, communicating with other employees, or simply taking a break from stressful work. Finding the sweet spot in non-billable hours prevents employee burnout and creates guidelines for how every work week should be approached. The result is a utilization rate that your company can realistically, and hopefully consistently, reach.
Each of these areas of focus in refinement can yield great results in getting your teams to the utilization goals that you need to stay consistently profitable and predictably successful.
Making the Most of Your Teams
Where do you need to strengthen your teams? It’s different for every company, but the right path can begin with our free ebook, “Resource Management: What You Need to Succeed.”