Now that we are all making our way back into the office or hybrid working there are a few things that I want to address this year.
One key thing that we have learnt during the pandemic is the impact on mental health that our work has. One aspect of this is the mental load that we put upon ourselves and the people we manage.
As Head of Delivery here are my 5 key things that I want to explore this year to help myself and the team manage workflow.
Pre-pandemic we would have one or two client meetings per day. We are now having many more meetings because we can ‘fit’ them in because no travel is required.
I would like to look at meeting etiquette. Shortening calls/meetings to 15 or 45 mins would allow breathing room between these calls and managing some of the actions on my to do list. This would also buy time for other team members to do the same.
Where possible I try to book time slots into my calendar where concentrated work is possible without the interruptions of calls.
Two: Task prioritisation
I’ve jokingly said to myself recently. “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow”. This doesn’t mean that I become chief procrastinator, it is merely me assessing and evaluating each of the tasks that I undertake and making sure that I am addressing them in the correct way and not feeling the pressure to get it done simply because it exists..
It’s vital to plan and manage goals and tasks appropriately. These need to be clear and defined – If they are vague they will feel unachievable.
We need to ask ourselves – “when is good, good enough”. We often want to provide true excellence but that can come at the price of deadlines and budgets.
One thing we can learn in managing our mental load is to understand when extra effort stops improving work in a meaningful way. We need to assess the product against KPIs, get input from other team members and ultimately the client.
Three: Workload management
Being Head of Delivery and managing multiple clients/projects can at times be tricky. Finding the right balance between giving team members enough notice of a new project about to start vs not overwhelming them with information too early is paramount to having successful projects and a happy team.
This involves evaluating who needs to be involved in project planning and the sales process. To evaluate, I go through a set of questions that seem really simple but it helps to avoid the knee jerk reaction of getting everyone involved:
Do I need questions answered right now to allow me to plan/prepare for this project?
Do I have enough information to schedule people efficiently and produce a project plan to manage expectations of the client?
Who is the right person to give me the information I need?
Often this can be kept within the management team, but sometimes something is so specialist that we need to bring in others earlier in the process.
The other thing to consider is the impact of asking someone to task switch. It is important to evaluate the impact of asking someone to stop what they are doing to pick up something else because there will inevitably be some downtime and frustration during that process and this will impact the completion of both tasks.
Consistency in how projects are managed takes away a lot of the planning time per project. Obviously, all projects vary but being consistent in how you set them up, documentation, scheduling and communication approaches helps to manage the expectation of the team and also clients.
Five: Downtime & variety
The final topic I want to focus on this year is to introduce more variety into our schedules. As an agency, this can be hard to manage but ensuring that people work on varied projects reduces repetition and fatigue and it allows for people to stretch themselves both creatively and technically.
It is also important that we include time for personal development and achieving professional goals. Allowing time for this within our schedules can also improve the way we feel about work. The key thing with this is making sure we are proactive about what we need to achieve so we get the most out of it.
We spend a large proportion of our lives at work so I want to ensure my team and I get the most out of it!
For support in managing your projects get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org