Time Management is a Skill to Sharpen

Field service supervisors are often pulled in various directions. Between emails, client phone calls, meetings and feeling like they are constantly “putting out fires” for their direct reports, how can anyone ever feel like they’re managing their time well?

Time management is often a skill that many employees lack, especially in a service-based industry, but there are ways to help improve that skill.

The daily activities of many field service managers are often convoluted with trivial tasks that don’t yield the results the business is looking for. The way they spend their time isn’t intentional.

Of course, that phone call that manager Joe had with his client is important but was the 20 minutes he spent explaining to Mrs. Jones about their service something that is going to directly impact his company and team’s gross profit? Maybe…maybe not.

Was there something his direct reports could have done to avoid this phone call? Perhaps. And that’s why being intentional with proactive activities wrapping this around time management is so crucial to businesses.

Many of us use various tricks and techniques with time management. There have been hundreds of time management systems and programs created and taught but there has not been one focused on the specific activities that can make a frontline service manager great.

Many field service supervisors believe their #1 job as a manager is to be there for their direct reports, but we believe there are activities that will yield far better results.

20-60-20™: A Unique Program to Improve Time Management

As a field service supervisor, improving your direct reports and making them great at their position is your number one goal. So how can you do that with limited time?

Easy – implement the 20-60-20™ program into your supervisor’s routine and the difference will be extraordinary.

The 20-60-20™ program is designed to not only improve your supervisor’s time management but allows them to become more intentional with their activities, building trust with their direct reports and leading to increased production, employee happiness and customer satisfaction (and believe it or not talent acquisition!).

By becoming more intentional on how your supervisor spends their time, they will discover that they start spending less time doing “stuff” and more time making a difference with their direct reports.

What is the 20-60-20™ program?

The 20-60-20™ program is a unique way to prioritize a field service supervisors time into three crucial categories; data, interaction and “stuff.” Our 20-60-20™ program will help prioritize the most important tasks that a supervisor needs to accomplish, on a given day, week, month and quarter to be the most effective manager for their team.

Although many field service supervisors believe that being available to support their team is the most effective use of their time, this is reactive, and we want to change the mindset of the manager to being proactive.  To this end, we believe the greatest impact they can have on their team is the consistent interaction with them, yielding measurable return on investment.  By devoting a majority of their time to their team, any “fires” that need to be put out by management will diminish and in return, the relationships between manager and employee will greatly improve increasing productivity, morale and more.

Here’s how a field service supervisor’s time should be divided according to the 20-60-20™ program:

20% – Data

60% – Interaction

20% – “Stuff”

So, if the front-line manger is spending all of his/her time managing their team and they are working a 40-hour work week, 8 hours should be spent gathering, organizing and analyzing DATA, 24 hours should be devoted to proactive INTERACTION with a supervisor’s direct reports, and 8 hours on miscellaneous “STUFF” like emails, meetings, phone calls, interruptions, etc.

By following this formula, field service supervisors can be intentional with their work week, knowing where they are going, who they are going to be with on their team and what they want to improve with each teammate during their visits.

By investing his or her team, the employees will build a greater level of trust with their supervisor which ripples into other factors such as employee happiness, customer satisfaction, increased employee referrals and productivity.

20% – Data

The first 20 represents that 20 percent of a manager’s time should be devoted to reviewing (which includes gathering, organizing, and analyzing) data. During this time, the supervisor should be reviewing any pertinent data that is relevant to their direct reports and finding opportunities to create intentional activities to improve them.

Data can vary from company to company, but in essence it should be information that can be used to help his/her direct reports improve their current skillset. Examples of data can include production reports, chemical usage, Skills Inventory™, a supervisor’s observations, etc.  By reviewing an employee’s data, a supervisor can better determine how to spend their interaction time with the employee in order to find the greatest opportunities for improvement.

60% – Interaction

As mentioned previously, the biggest impact a field service supervisor can make on his/her direct reports is through consistent interaction, which is why 60 percent of a manager’s time should be devoted to interaction. Interaction with direct reports can be done in a number of ways and settings. From coffee shops and restaurants to meeting rooms and outside field locations, any type of time spent with a direct report can be considered interaction, this includes team settings.

By spending the bulk of their weekly time interacting with their direct reports, not only will their team improve in several key areas, but the supervisor will also learn from their team. For instance, during their interaction, a manager may notice an easier, more effective technique that another employee has been utilizing that may also benefit the entire team. So, he/she is able to take what they learned from the employee and implement it with the rest of the team to help improve productivity on a particular service.

Although 60 percent of a supervisor’s time should be spent interacting with his or her team, it shouldn’t feel like a micromanaging session. Instead, these interactions should be more of a learning experience as well as a relationship building exercise between employee and managers.

20% – Stuff

In addition to spending time with direct reports and reviewing data, the other 20% of a manager’s time will be spent on “stuff.” “Stuff” are miscellaneous tasks and items that don’t necessarily help reach goals or growth but is still expected for a supervisor’s position. Some examples may be meetings, going through emails, phone calls with clients, etc.

Although initially a manager may feel like they spend the bulk of their time on “stuff,” by utilizing the 20-60-20™ program, the majority of items that fall into this category may slowly dissipate as the direct reports start showing improvement.

Give Your Frontline Field Service Manager the Tools to Succeed

By implementing the 20-60-20™ program for your field service supervisors, not only will their time management improve but the positive effects of the program will ripple throughout the business.

By increasing the interaction of supervisors and direct reports through intentional activities, your business will see an increase in productivity, improved employee happiness and satisfaction, higher customer satisfaction ratings, and so much more.

To learn more about how the 20-60-20™ program can help your field service supervisors and business, fill out the contact form below.

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