Employees are the most important asset of an organization. They are the ones who bring in the customers. They are the ones who deliver the profits. They are the ones who do most of the work. Yet employee management is an area that most organizations waste enormous amounts of time and money on. Surveys show that managers spend an average of an hour every day checking emails, checking voicemail, and responding to other messages. They spend another hour reading mail. The average person in a typical organization spends 40 hours a week just on email.

The average person in a typical organization spends four hours a week on actual work. Most people think they should spend even less time. The surveys don’t say how much time managers feel they should spend; the only thing they are asked is how much time they spend. But managers also know that if they spend too little time, they are likely to be criticized for not spending enough time. So they try to spend just enough time to avoid criticism.

A manager’s job is to keep the organization running smoothly. She should spend, on average, 14 hours a week on work. That leaves 10 hours a week for everything else: reading mail, checking emails, responding to voicemail, and so on. These administrative tasks consume 20 hours a week. That leaves 4 hours a week for everything else: meetings, performance reviews, training, and so on.

The manager has 4 hours of work time, 20 hours of administrative tasks, and 4 hours of meetings. 4X20=80 hours. 4X4=16 hours. That leaves 40 hours. 40 hours divided by 7 days=20 hours. So the manager should work 20 hours a week. However, these hours are split among multiple tasks and projects, which may not be beneficial to a business. Lucky for you, employee project management software is available to ease the work and improve productivity. Think of the software as an assistant to take care of most of your work and leave you with enough time to do the most critical tasks.

Manage employees online

Whenever someone new starts a job, he or she is assigned to a project. The project leader assigns tasks to the team members, and then monitors their progress. The team shares information, and the leader makes decisions about how to coordinate their efforts. It won’t work if everyone is doing the same thing. The person who does most of the work has to know what’s going on. The person who takes most of the decisions has to know what’s actually going on. And so on.

This division of work between project manager and team is called “functional decomposition,” and it is standard practice for software development. It’s also standard practice in construction. If the team doesn’t know what’s going on, they can’t coordinate their efforts. If someone doesn’t know what to do, they can’t do it. But you can have a different system. Instead of starting with the project manager, start with the team. Do the functional decomposition on the team members.

In the software world, we call it “distributed functional decomposition”. Instead of one person calling the shots for the whole project team, each person is in charge of a small part of it. In construction, we call it “distributed management”. Instead of assigning tasks or making decisions for the entire team, each person is in charge of a small part of it. Distributed management is risky. Distributed functional decomposition is safer. You can’t build anything useful if you don’t do some of the work yourself. But distributed management is more complex than functional decomposition.

Distributed management is hard to standardize. Do your team members need to know what’s going on? Do they need to make decisions? Can they agree on what “what’s going on” means? Or on what’s actually going on? Distributed management is risky. Distributed functional decomposition is safer. You can’t build anything useful if you don’t do some of the work yourself. But distributed management work best when combined with online project management software for business, which automates most of the tasks and ensures team collaboration.