Work management is the practice of organizing, prioritizing, and executing work across individuals and teams. With the rise of remote and hybrid work environments, work management has become more critical than ever for businesses who want to maximize productivity. Without a system in place, work can quickly become disorganized, deadlines can be missed, and teams can become frustrated and disengaged.
Implementing an effective work management strategy provides structure, transparency, and insight into how work gets done. It improves efficiency, collaboration, and output. Perhaps most importantly, good work management reduces wasted time and prevents employee burnout.
This introductory guide will cover:
- What work management is
- The benefits of work management
- The risks of poor work management
- Work management strategies and best practices
- How software like Teamwork.com facilitate work management
- Projections and statistics on the impact of work management
What is Work Management?
Work management refers to the processes, systems, and tools used by organizations to oversee, organize, and optimize the way work gets done. The core components of work management include:
This involves creating, assigning, tracking, and managing tasks across individuals and teams. Tasks range from one-time simple actions to larger multifaceted projects.
More complex than individual tasks, projects bring together multiple connected tasks, resources, and stakeholders. Project management focuses on planning, organizing, and managing resources to complete projects on time and on budget.
Workflow management looks at tasks and projects from a high-level process perspective. It focuses on handoffs between teams, mapping process bottlenecks, and optimizing cycle times.
This estimates available hours and resources across teams. Capacity planning ensures teams are properly resourced for their workload and helps balance workloads between teams.
Dashboards and Reporting
Dashboards, reports, and analytics provide real-time visibility into work. They help managers understand status, progress, and blockers.
Messaging, document sharing, video conferencing, and other collaboration tools connect teams and facilitate information sharing.
Combined, these components of work management create an integrated system for managing and optimizing work execution. Well-designed work management improves team productivity, accountability, and agility.
The Benefits of Work Management
Why is work management worth the investment? What are the practical benefits for organizations?
1. Increased Efficiency
Work management brings order to chaos. With task tracking, teams have clarity on what needs to get done. Workflow automation reduces manual processes. Dashboards provide visibility into workload and capacity levels across the organization.
The result is less time wasted on disjointed work and non-productive meetings. Teams spend time focused on the right priorities.
According to one study, companies with mature work management systems increase productivity by over 25%. Their teams work faster and smarter.
2. Improved Collaboration
Work management breaks down silos between teams. Project management tools connect cross-functional resources working towards shared goals. Individuals see who is responsible for which pieces. Conversations happen in context.
The increased transparency and alignment improves collaboration and handoffs between teams. One survey found that effective work management improves team collaboration by over 30%.
3. Higher Quality Outputs
With work management, tasks get prioritized based on importance. Teams focus their efforts on projects that matter most to the business. Random peripheral work that delivering little value gets filtered out.
Work also gets executed faster without delays from bottlenecks or blockers. Outputs don’t sit waiting in someone’s overloaded queue.
The result is higher quality work delivered faster on the projects that impact the business.
4. Increased Visibility
Traditionally, managers rely on status update meetings to understand what their teams are working on. The reality is people forget things and leave key details out.
With work management, all projects and tasks get captured in a system accessible to managers. Dashboards draw from this real-time data to give simple rolled-up views of status and progress.
Managers gain visibility into who is doing what and where teams might be blocked. They can course-correct in real-time when projects go off-track.
According to ClearCompany, over 85% of managers say work management software improves their team’s visibility.
5. Better Resource Planning
Resource planning is notoriously difficult with scattered work. People get over or under utilized. Projects stall waiting for access to key people.
In work management systems, managers assign resources to tasks and get visibility into utilization rates across their teams. This allows them to rebalance workloads and pull in additional resources when projects demand it.
Well-managed resource planning prevents employee burnout and ensures initiatives don’t get derailed due to lack of staffing.
6. Increased Accountability
Work management makes it clear who owns what. When task completion dates slip people are naturally held more accountable.
Public commitments also drive task completion. According to one study, just making a commitment public increases follow-through by over 75%.
Between increased clarity and public commitments, work management drives faster task completion and increased follow-through.
7. Continuous Improvement
Many work management tools provide reporting on cycle times for task and project completion. Organizations can benchmark their throughput metrics and see how they improve over time.
This allows you to pinpoint process bottlenecks and target them for improvement. As teams get more mature, work gets executed faster.
8. Remote Work Enablement
Work management has become especially critical over the past few years as teams shift to remote and hybrid work models.
With employees working across multiple locations, work management provides clarity and alignment. Everyone understands priorities and dependencies without needing constant check-in meetings.
Studies show that effective work management improves remote team collaboration by over 40%.
The benefits of work management are substantial. Organizations that implement modern platforms see significant gains in productivity, efficiency, and output quality. The ROI makes adoption well worth the effort.
The Risks of Poor Work Management
On the flip side, what happens when organizations neglect work management? What are the consequences of disjointed, ad-hoc work execution?
1. Wasted Time
Without structured work plans and schedules, employees spend excessive time figuring out what to do next. They get stuck waiting on responses from colleagues. Meetings spiral off-track covering non-critical topics.
According to one study, knowledge workers waste over 2 hours per day on disorganized work. Employees spend time on low-value work that doesn’t drive the business forward.
2. Missed Deadlines
Unstructured work makes it easy to miscalculate timelines and underestimate work effort. Employees take on too much, leading to missed deadlines downstream.
Suddenly the deadline for a major project gets missed because precursor tasks weren’t completed on time. Stakeholders don’t have visibility into critical path dependencies.
Missed deadlines damage your reputation with customers and partners. They also lower employee morale.
3. Frustration & Burnout
Disjointed work causes frustration. Employees receive mixed messages on priorities as managers juggle competing demands. Workers take on too much as they try to manage informal requests.
Everyone is stressed, overworked, and unsure what to focus on next. Employee burnout becomes rampant. Disengaged workers deliver lower quality outputs.
4. Lack of Visibility
With no centralized system tracking work, managers have limited insight into what their teams are doing day-to-day. They don’t know who is over or under utilized.
Instead they get vague status updates in meetings. Employees forget to mention critical details. Managers never have the full picture into projects and resource constraints.
5. Weaker Collaboration
Collaboration suffers without a shared system to discuss work in progress. Employees default back to using email, spreadsheets, chat tools, and other siloed solutions.
Handoffs between teams happen through fragmented channels. Misalignments emerge as messages get scattered.
Weaker collaboration leads to subpar work outputs as teams lose sync. Managers constantly fight fires.
The risks of disorganized work are massive. Absenteeism rises. Employees disengage. Turnover increases. Ultimately, the business suffers from disjointed, reactive work.
The Financial Costs of Poor Work Management
In addition to the operational risks, poor work management also carries significant financial costs depending on the size of the organization:
For small companies (1-10 employees):
- Losing just 2 hours per week of productivity per employee due to poor work management equates to over $15,000 in lost salary costs annually, which can be a major hit for a small business.
- Having an employee turnover due to frustration with disorganized work can cost over $10,000 in recruiting and training a replacement. High turnover can threaten the viability of a small company.
For mid-size companies (10-50 employees):
- Weak collaboration and misalignment from poor work management can cost mid-size companies over $250,000 in lost productivity every year.
- Missed deadlines from ineffective workflows lead to penalties that can surpass $100,000 annually for a mid-size business.
For large companies (50-250 employees):
- Increased project delivery timeframes can cost $500,000 or more annually in lagging innovations and missed opportunities for large companies.
- The collective time wasted in redundant emails and meetings due to fragmented systems exceeds $350,000 per year based on average salaries.
For enterprises (over 250 employees):
- Enterprise organizations lose well over $2 million per year from the cascading impacts of disorganized work execution, failed cross-functional collaboration, and high employee turnover.
- Burnout-related turnover among knowledge workers costs enterprises over $10 million annually when factoring in departure, recruiting, and onboarding costs.
Key Statistics on the Impact of Work Management
Multiple research studies quantify the tangible benefits of work management for organizations. Key statistics include:
- 25% – Companies with mature work management systems experience over 25% greater productivity according to one study. Their teams work smarter.
- 30% – Employees at companies with effective work management report over 30% better collaboration. Workflows become more streamlined.
- 17% – Knowledge workers waste approximately 17% of their time each week due to poor work management. That’s nearly one day wasted out of every five day workweek.
- 40% – Work management improves collaboration for remote teams by an average of 40% based on survey data. This is critical given the shift to distributed teams.
- 20% – Employees say Good work management makes them 20% less likely to leave their current job. The structure reduces burnout and disengagement.
- 75% – Just making commitments publicly, rather than privately, increases follow-through by over 75%. Work management tools drive accountability through visibility.
- 15% – Enterprises using work management tools experience 15% faster project completion times on average. Work gets done faster.
The data confirms that organizations invest time in work management see significant returns through increased productivity, efficiency, visibility, and quality. Teams execute work faster and with less wasted effort.
Proven Work Management Strategies
Work management maturity doesn’t happen overnight. Like any major business system, it requires changes to processes, behaviors, and technology.
Based on industry best practices, here are 5 proven strategies for implementing stronger work management:
1. Get Executive Buy-In
Any organizational change requires executive sponsorship to succeed. Make the business case for work management and secure buy-in from senior leaders. Have them advocate the program and reinforce messaging.
2. Map Out Processes
Document your current work execution processes. Look for areas of overlap, confusion, and inefficiency. Define streamlined future-state workflows.
3. Standardize Tools
Consolidate on standard communication and collaboration platforms rather than siloed niche tools. Ensure everyone uses the sanctioned tools.
4. Train Employees
People need guidance on the desired work management behaviors and processes. Roll out formal training and provide job aids on how to use the new tools.
5. Start with Small Changes
Don’t overhaul everything at once. That will overwhelm people. Focus first on changing 1-2 behaviors like how meetings get scheduled or how tasks get assigned.
With the right strategy focused on processes, people, and technology, organizations can transform the way work gets done. Employees will be more productive, managers will have more visibility, and teams will deliver higher quality work.
How Teamwork.com Enables Effective Work Management
To successfully adopt work management, organizations need the right enabling technology. Teamwork.com provides a complete work management platform tailored to the needs of modern businesses.
With Teamwork, you get:
> Task Management
Quickly create, assign, and group tasks. Add due dates, set priorities, attach files, and track status in real-time.
> Project Management
Plan out complex projects end-to-end. Schedule resources, map dependencies, and track performance against goals.
> Kanban Boards
Visually map out workflows and focus on getting work done over rigid project plans. Limit work-in-progress for greater throughput.
> Gantt Charts
Plan out projects on an interactive timeline. See task dependencies and identify the critical path. Adjust schedules as needed.
> Time Tracking
Automatically track time spent on tasks and projects. Get insights into where efforts get deployed.
Define project budgets, track costs against budgets, and monitor spending in real-time to control expenses.
Monitor key metrics and work status on real-time customizable dashboards. Drill into details.
View individual and team calendars to check availability and schedule meetings when everyone can attend.
Generate reports to analyze cycle times, productivity, capacity utilization, and backlog throughput.
> Mobile Apps
Stay connected from anywhere. Move work forward whether you are in office or on the go.
The combination of these features provides end-to-end support for managing work execution across departments and teams. Everything is centralized in one platform accessible from desktop or mobile.
Teamwork drives real results:
- 25% faster team task throughput
- 30% reduced time spent in meetings
- 45% of teams hitting their deadlines more frequently
Over 15,000 organizations and more than 7 million users trust Teamwork to optimize their work execution. Adopting Teamwork provides the technology foundation for work management success.
Work Management Projections and Trends
Work management has become a strategic imperative for organizations adapting to modern working environments. Some projections on where work management is headed:
- 80% of companies will adopt dedicated work management systems by 2025, up from under 50% today.
- Knowledge workers will recapture over 1 hour per day through improved work management, unlocking significant productivity gains.
- Teams with mature work management will experience 25-50% faster project delivery speeds allowing them to bring innovations to market quicker.
The Impact of Delaying Work Management
What happens to organizations that put off improving work management? That continue relying on email and manual processes without a centralized system?
The risks are substantial:
- 20% or more of employee time gets wasted on low-value work. Salary costs rise without commensurate benefits.
- 35% longer project delivery timeframes means getting key innovations to market slower.
- 25% higher employee turnover from frustration and burnout leads to sizable recruiting and onboarding costs. Knowledge walks out the door.
- Teams report 30-40% weaker collaboration between siloed departments, hurting output quality.
- Over 50 hours per employee gets spent each year on redundant communications. Companies pay a significant price for excessive emails and meetings.
- 15% lower customer satisfaction scores arise from late deliveries and subpar outputs. Revenue suffers.
- 30% decline in meeting productivity as scattered tools and information obstruct decision-making.
Delaying work management improvements until “next year” entails real costs. The risks only grow as teams become more distributed and dynamic. The time is now for organizations to invest in work management discipline.
Implementing structured work management has become essential for organizations to thrive in the modern working world.
The cost of disjointed, messy work execution keeps rising. Employees burn out. Turnover climbs. Project delivery falls behind.
Conversely, investing in work management drives tangible benefits:
- Employees work smarter and maximize productive time.
- Managers gain clearer visibility into work status.
- Cross-functional collaboration improves.
- Projects get completed faster with less overtime required.
- Employee morale and retention go up.
Effective work management is no longer just a “nice-to-have.” It’s a prerequisite for attracting talent, delighting customers, and accelerating growth in competitive markets.
By making work management a priority now, organizations can build a foundation for agility, innovation, and resilience going forward. The time for action is at hand.