Today, we’re going to talk a critical aspect of your business: work management. It is a critical aspect of managing your business, and there is a huge difference between managing your own time and that of a team of individuals. If some people can suffer from stress related to managing their heavy work schedule, just think about having to be responsible for managing your team’s time and performance as well.
Fortunately, technological advances these days are directly proportional to the challenges we’re facing. Currently, there are a number of methods and systems that can provide you with a more precise level of control over your work management requirements, while helping you to avoid any possible mistakes during the process. While the implementation of a labor management system can often be complicated, there no doubt about its contribution to modernizing a company’s management.
A Machiavellian system, even now
Studies regarding work management systems have been going on for centuries. In his seminal political treatise, The Prince, the Italian diplomat and political theorist Niccolo Machiavelli argued that fear was the most efficient way of getting workers to carry out their tasks quickly. The curious thing is that, more than 400 years later, some organizations still use this strategy.
Antonio César Amaru Maximiano, a professor and researcher at the University of São Paulo, notes the contemporary recurrence of micromanagement. In his book, The General Theory of Administration: from the Urban Revolution to the Digital Revolution, Professor Maximiano takes a close look at organizations and leaders that employ coercion and who, even now, use their stature and position of influence to pressure employees into submission. Insecurity and inability to deal with conflict is often the cause of leadership of this nature. Naturally, management models such as this cause employees to fear for their jobs and financial security, leading to stagnation, both of the individual and the company as a whole.
The evolution in the way people worked in the 20th century
Though we began today’s post talking about Machiavelli, the truth is that much of what constitutes modern work management practices appeared in the twentieth century. It was during that time that organizations were forced to undergo a profound transformation in their culture, as management strategy was radically altered.
We can divide this transformation into three different periods:
1. The Classical Industrial Era
Up to the mid-1950s, industrialization grew at a vertiginous pace throughout large parts of the world. It was during this period that organizations adopted a bureaucratic organizational model, known by its pyramidal, centralizing structure.
At the time, companies assigned job positions in a fixed and definitive manner with the aim of obtaining the maximum possible output from each worker. In other words, employees were trained to perform one set task or function, to wring the most productivity and profit out of each worker. Management almost always saw employees merely as a supply of raw labor, needed to operate machinery.
2. The Neoclassical Industrial Age
After World War II, a period began that lasted from 1950 to 1990, in which profound changes in the workplace and daily life started to appear at a rapid clip. Commercial transactions which had once been local, became regional, while regional transactions became international. These changes led to a significant increase in the level of competition between companies.
During this period, organizations started to focus more on encouraging innovation, a strategy that had the two-fold advantage of defending companies’ existing market niches while simultaneously increasing their reach vis-à-vis competitors. Therefore, technological development provided the conditions for companies to produce a variety of products and services on a large scale. The result: the classical model became obsolete.
3. Information Age
In the 1990s, evolution in the corporate sphere began to proceed even more rapidly, spurred by the increasing reach and influence of the internet. Economies, which were already international, became global. Companies had to place greater importance on human and intellectual capital. Before then, the production of wealth was largely based on the manufacture and exploitation of natural resources.
Beginning in that era, another profound shift occurred, in that the employees themselves, their knowledge and their skills, became the typical corporation’s most important asset. The most important job that managers have today is finding out how to successfully use those assets in the most productive and useful way possible.
This paradigm shift is playing out in a number of ways, but one of the critical concepts that has arisen is that the more information you share with the people who work with you, the better prepared they will be to execute their tasks to the best of their ability.
>> Recommended Reading: Why the concept of ownership must be part of your company
Work management models
Running in parallel to the changes that the last century has wrought, work management models have also evolved. The first dates to 1903 and became known as “Classical Administration.” The Frenchman Henri Fayol created the fundamentals of modern management methodology.
These work management models focused on operational efficiency and effectiveness in industrial management. They looked for ways in which to eliminate losses and waste in industries, as such losses were a principal element in product pricing.
Working contemporaneously, the American mechanical engineer Frederick Taylor studied how to increase productivity by lowering costs and expanding profit margins, in order to face growing competition in every market.
>> Recommended Reading: Eight reasons why you should replace email with management software
The importance of adapting to change
Since then, the evolution of the market and management has occurred at an accelerated pace. Today, it is increasingly necessary for organizations to examine their operations continuously, as only flexible and nimble structures will be capable of responding rapidly to change.
In this context, some factors have become critical to success. One of the most important is organizational transparency.
Work management models can also deal with offsite employees
The new models of work management must ally the needs of the company to those of its employees. For example, not many companies currently work with virtual teams. Many organizations have concluded that as long as tasks are delivered, a physical office presence is less than important.
A study by the American company Gallup states that the share of people working remotely four to five times a week grew from 24% (in 2012) to 31% (in 2016).
However, it’s also important to keep in mind that working remotely requires a lot of discipline. In most cases, a delivery control system should be utilized to measure employee productivity or any other KPI that is relevant to the team.
The era of systems
Since we’ve already referred to work management systems, it is worth writing a bit more about them. They are tools that are used to facilitate the complex task of managing personnel and their goals, and as a means to link the company’s strategy to the actual execution of projects. Such systems must also take into consideration the fact that there are two types of work in companies: specific projects and day-to-day operational activities.
Operational work consists of a sequence of repetitive processes. It is the opposite of a project, which is a set of temporary activities which are carried out in groups and are aimed at delivering a specific product, service or result.
Faced with the need to keep track of and control all activities within the professional environment – to produce quality deliverables on time, keep staff motivated and ensure the acquisition of new customers, while simultaneously maintaining existing ones -, the number of demands that need to be monitored requires work management systems that are capable of dealing with a significant level of complexity. A proficient system can help companies plan, organize and exercise efficient management, through the use of functionalities like:
- Controlling the time invested in each task
- Estimating delivery times
- Forecasting deadlines and budget overruns
- Budget management
- Formalization of task requests
- Granting of access permission levels
- Performance graphs
- Team Dashboard
- Management reports
The best work management system for your company
Runrun.it is an excellent example of a highly capable job management system. It allows you to lead your team with greater agility, transparency, and dynamism, ensuring the production of the highest quality deliverables for your customers.
With Runrun.it, you can manage tasks and projects, obtain performance indicators, control cost management on a client-by-client basis, promote integrated and formalized communications within your team, engage employees and much more.