The Impact of Time Management on Employee Engagement and Satisfaction


  The Impact of Time Management on Employee Engagement and Satisfaction

Trying to juggle work, family life and a social life is hard - it takes time and effort. So how do you make the best of your precious schedule? One answer lies in managing time effectively. Most people are pretty good at handling conversations with friends on Facebook or catching up on emails during lunchtime, but they might miss out on some opportunities to manage their schedules more effectively. This article provides some helpful advice for improving one's efficiency and productivity in the workplace through tactical time management

With such many pressures coming from all sides, it is no wonder that many employees feel unfulfilled by their jobs. According to the Gallup polls (2009), only 30% of employees are engaged in the workplace and this percentage has been falling steadily since 2001. The remaining 70% are either actively disengaged or just 'checked out'. Almost half of the workforce is unhappy with their jobs, which can lead to a large turnover rate, increased absenteeism and general discontent among workers. So what can be done about it?

Some people think that leading a more balanced life will increase their engagement at work. But research shows that having enough sleep, making time for family and friends and exercise does not help much (Adkins & McNamara 2008: 11). In fact, spending too much time away from the office can be detrimental to an employee's performance. Having unstructured time at work is not only bad for productivity, it is also a sign of disengagement (Gagne & Deci 2005: 587). It takes effort to resist the temptation to slack off during this time.

Time management is a useful tool in staying productive and engaged in the workplace. Research has shown that it is possible to improve one's 'time management self-efficacy' (Tobias 2010: 141). Self-efficacy refers to one's ability to use available resources to manage both work and personal tasks effectively. A person with high self-efficacy tends to be more productive and believe that they can complete necessary tasks, even if they are difficult. For example, a person with a high level of self-efficacy would be more likely to say that they always meet their deadlines. By improving one's time-management skills, this positive belief is reinforced (Gagne & Deci 2005: 594).

One way of improving one's self-efficacy is through training programmes which target a particular skill. For example, programs which teach people how to prioritise and deal better with interruptions can improve one's work performance (Tobias 2010: 141). Another effective way of boosting self-efficacy is to encourage employees to set goals and reflect on how they achieved them (Gagne & Deci 2005: 594). This can be done through weekly or monthly progress reports which allow workers to analyse their time management skills and pinpoint areas for improvement.

Another benefit of time management is a boost in job satisfaction. Because workplace stress tends to drive people away from their jobs, the more productive workers are, the less stress there will be. If you have more time for yourself, you will also be happier. Time management does not only improve how much time people have but also redistributes it more evenly throughout the week (Tobias 2010: 145).

In summary, time management can be used to improve one's productivity and increase the overall satisfaction of a workplace. Further research is required to determine which approaches work better for particular situations and how best to communicate this information to workers. While this may not be a cure-all for the problem of staff disengagement, it could help businesses to improve overall employee satisfaction which is beneficial both in terms of morale and productivity.

Author: Mervyn Spong, BA Psychology (Hons), PGDP Honours , Manager Academic Resource Centre (MARC), Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, Australia (mervyn spong) ; [corresponding author]
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