Heavy workload or inefficient worker? How to spot poor time management skills in the workplace

woman time wasting in the office featured

Time management is a skill that is always required in the workplace.

It is important that both employees and managers are both time efficient so that the business has the best chance of success. However it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what is inherent poor time management and what is an overloaded employee that requires assistance. Similarly, the current office atmosphere can be at fault for cultivating some of these poor time management instances. This is because some expectations that are culturally ingrained are not entirely beneficial for business success but are just implemented as that is the norm. Once the causal factors of poor time management have been established, this can begin to be eliminated from the office environment so that output can be increased. Here are a few examples of poor time management and how they can be alleviated.


Continual lateness is a tell-tale sign of poor time management as this reduces the possible productive hours of the employee. However, when considering what constitutes ‘poor time management’ it is possible that instances such as an employee arriving later than others or leaving earlier could be interpreted as poor behaviour, yet this may not be the case. Sticking to these working hours rigidly could be hindering the productivity of your workforce as some employees may be much more active at different hours than others. Offering a more flexible schedule, could allow for a more effective office thereby omitting poor time management in the workplace.


When distributing work throughout the workplace, it is common that those who are ‘busy’ are often highly regarded this can insinuate they hold importance within the business. Yet this could be an example of poor time management as they may not be prioritising their workload efficiency. It is important that employees have enough jobs throughout the day but this should not be overwhelming.

Overtime is an issue which is again hard to interpret. It could be perceived as positive time management as the employee is giving up their own time to work harder for the benefit of your company. However, this could also be a sign of poor time management as they are not completing their allotted work within their contracted time frame. This can be managed by conversing with this employee to discover whether this overtime is because they are not working effectively during the given working hours. Overtime can show dedication to your business but it should also be monitored to make sure employees are not exploiting these opportunities.

It is crucial that issues relating to time management are quickly eliminated as this could create a slippery slope. If one employee is seen ‘getting away’ with these behaviours, other employees may also slip into these behaviours. To get the best idea of the efficiency of your employees, you need to consider the amount of work they actually achieve instead of surface level indicators such as when they start work or whether they stay late. It can be difficult to spot poor time management however by taking each employee individually and looking deeper into the causes you can create the most productive office environment.

Karen and JohnAbout the authors

Karen Meager and John McLachlan are the co-founders of Monkey Puzzle Training, two of only a handful of NLP Master Trainers in the UK and co-authors to Time Mastery; a number one best-selling book, and Real Leaders for the Real World; an IBA finalist. They are also winners of the Monkey Puzzle award, which they won in May this year: 2018 NLP Awards in the category ‘NLP in Business’

At Monkey Puzzle Training, Karen, John and their team specialise in  developing leaders and supporting them in their personal and professional growth. They take the latest scientific and academic thinking and make it accessible and usable in peoples’ work and everyday life.

Both have successful business backgrounds for over 20 years, are clinically qualified in psychotherapy and hypnotherapy. Karen is an INLPTA certified NLP Master Trainer and a Principal Practitioner Member of the Association for Business Psychology as well as a UKCP registered Psychotherapist (DipNLPt). John is an INLPTA certified NLP Master Trainer, a Master Practitioner of NLP, a Principal Practitioner Member of the Association for Business Psychology, as well as a Therapist and a Clinical Hypnotherapist.

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