How businesses can save costs and unlock the potential of their middle management

By Warsha Joshi, Managing Director, Platinum VA

Frontline managers or middle management play a pivotal role in planning, organizing, leading and coordinating resources. Just as strong leaders are invaluable in setting the organization’s vision, strong managers are required to communicate and operationalize that vision.

However, these changing times present many challenges for businesses, particularly middle management where the pressure to perform increases, with the expectation to do more for less.

Take for instance the different roles present within an organisation. A retail manager is responsible for more than $50 million in annual sales, while a banking manager will need to ensure the satisfaction of more than seven million customers in one year.  With so much responsibility and increasing pressure, it is imperative that these managers focus on driving growth and improving productivity. However, this is not always the case.

The average professional in the UAE spends a lot of time at the office. According to Morgan McKinley Working Hours Survey UAE, almost a quarter (24%) of professionals work an extra ten hours per week, and more than half (53%) of those working beyond their contracted hours do not feel their productivity is increased as a result of the extra time spent in the office. But what happens during the nine hours that are spent at the office? While every job includes some tasks that are not part of the job description, there’s a discrepancy between job titles and what workers spend their time doing at the office.

Enterprises today – both large and small – spend significant amounts of time, resources, and money on manual administrative work, from arranging flights to using emails to booking appointments, to filing an IT request for example. But these daily administrative tasks create shocking productivity losses to organizations as a whole. Not only is this trend causing managers to be less productive, but is constraining an organization’s ability to access one of the most crucial avenues to business growth – innovation.

It’s clear that organizations need to change their approach to administrative tasks to innovate and grow.

Business growth starts with the effective delegation and the secret weapon in the business world, the Virtual Executive Assistant (VEA). Technology has made hiring a VEA service provider a helpful solution to enhance productivity, efficiency, and help with overall time management for any business. SME’s and frontline managers that quickly adopt this progressive assistance into their business stand the greatest chance of achieving smooth operation and long-term success with the highest probability of sustainable growth.

Businesses need to look at driving efficiencies by automating administrative tasks and outsourcing support services. Five essential keys that managers at enterprises- both large and small need to implement:

  • Identify low-value tasks – Knowing exactly what is required will help Managers to build momentum. Review daily activities and decide which ones can be delegated or outsourced to. With seven out of ten professionals in the UAE reported to be working longer than they plan to[1]; there are several expendable tasks and administrative activities that could be dispensed.
  • Drop, Delegate or re-evaluate – Sort tasks/activities into three categories: Drop, Delegate or Re-Evaluate. Identify low-value tasks that can be dropped without any negative effects. Identity mid-level tasks that can be delegated with minimal effort, and lastly identify tasks and activity that need to be restructured.
  • Delegate and prioritize – Delegation is the most challenging part – but is ultimately rewarding. Delegating tasks to a virtual executive assistant can be seamless, freeing up time for strategic initiatives.
  • Allocate freed-up time – Determine how best to use the time saved in driving productivity for the business.
  • Commit to the plan – An important step is to share plans with colleagues, mentors or other senior employees to ensure that managers commit to the plan, sets internal targets and strive to achieve them. A system in place that tracks performance throughout will help managers measure their activities.

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