Staffing Management

Task Management 101: Advantages and Best Practices for Hourly Staff

By Jana Reserva

Jul. 7, 2023


  • Task management breaks down projects into smaller, more manageable duties.

  • Shift-based workforces can use task management to ensure daily work gets done efficiently and on time. 

  • Utilizing a checklist app makes tasks more manageable for shift workers.

Task management is the process of breaking down your operations or projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. It goes down to the granular level to identify every action item needed to run a productive shift or complete a project successfully.

In principle, you’re probably doing task management daily. An example would be going to work. Going to work involves smaller activities such as dressing up, making coffee, and commuting to the workplace. Task management functions in the same way. 

In organizations, task management helps managers and teams prioritize tasks, track progress, boost productivity, and ensure that things get done on time. However, while task management is closely tied to project management, they are different. Project management takes a 30,000 ft look at a project as a whole, whereas task management zooms in and deals with delegating and tracking specific jobs. 

Task management for shift-based businesses

Typically, task management is associated with white-collar organizations that run simultaneous projects, such as advertising agencies or software development companies. Such organizations usually work on long-running projects or implementations, using task management to assign and track action items. 

However, task management is also vital for hourly employees in industries like retail and hospitality. For these shift-based operations, task management defines what recurring tasks need to get done during every shift; this increases team productivity and accountability.

To successfully manage tasks, here are factors you need to consider carefully:

  • TimeWhen assigning tasks, ensure they align correctly with your schedule. For instance, stocking up on table essentials such as sugar packets and condiments is usually done before the restaurant opens and not in the middle of the day.
  • Resources – Take inventory of the things needed to accomplish a particular task. Consider tangibles such as supplies and tools and intangibles such as certifications or specific skills.
  • DependenciesAre there any prerequisites to performing specific tasks? For instance, nurse handoffs are crucial from one shift to the next as they transfer vital and specific patient care information. Another example of dependency would be manager or supervisor sign-offs.

The goal of task management for hourly teams is to ensure productive shifts. The best way to do this is through a checklist system categorized by team and location. Take a look at this example:

Opening duties for restaurant FOH:

    • Set up tables and chairs
    • Sanitize surfaces and windows
    • Empty trash bins
    • Clean bathrooms
    • Arrange table napkins and other table placements
    • Restock tabletop essentials or condiment area with sugar packets, ketchup, salt, etc.
    • Stock bar with glassware and drinks

While the tasks seem part of a routine, they can easily fall through the cracks. Having specific to-do lists helps your team stay organized and focused on the tasks they must accomplish during the day. 

Why should you prioritize task management?

Want the short answer? Because it ensures things get done. At the end of the day, every organization wants an efficient and productive workforce – proper task management is one of the most effective ways to achieve this. 

Some dismiss task management because their daily operations remain fairly consistent. However, for some businesses, even a slight misstep can cause significant operational problems or even health and safety concerns. Task management shields your team from this kind of risk.

Here are some of the major reasons why task management is a must for hourly teams:

Increased productivity

Task management drives focus within teams, laying out precisely what needs to get done on a daily basis. Things like task checklists and due times ensure employees stay on top of their duties.

Autonomy and accountability

Task management gives your employees autonomy over their tasks. Because they know what they need to accomplish, they can manage their time better and focus on doing their tasks well even when managers are not around. 

Effective task management also signifies trust, and employees appreciate that. By handing off daily checklists to employees, they know it is up to them to complete these tasks on time and up to standard – and because it creates a paper trail, failure to finish tasks can easily be addressed. 

Better workflow

Teams work better when there are clear directions. Operations run smoothly when each employee knows their tasks on a granular level. Don’t mistake this for micromanaging. It’s about setting specific tasks and expectations for your team. 

Instructing your team to go ahead and have a productive shift is easy. But how do they do that exactly? This is where task management comes in. Think of task management as mapping out the necessary steps for achieving a successful shift. 

More visibility

Tracking shift responsibilities with software-based task management gives managers a glimpse into frontline operations. With checklists and due times assigned across an organization, managers can easily confirm that important work is getting done, who’s completing the work, and what time.

Improved prioritization

Task management enables you to allocate your resources better and prioritize tasks accordingly. Because everything is laid out, it’s easy to identify which tasks are more urgent than others. As a result, you can focus on what matters without overwhelming your employees.

Good customer service

Higher efficiency naturally leads to better customer service. When tasks are managed effectively, customers notice – it’s easy to sense if your operations are chaotic or your employees seem lost. Forgetting simple duties like restocking a particular shelf, cleaning a bathroom, or updating a menu can lead to poor customer experience. Task management keeps you from repeatedly making these kinds of mistakes. 

Best practices for task management

Task management seems like a straightforward process where you create a list of tasks for your employees per team, shift, and location. However, it may involve many moving parts, especially if you’re managing a midsize to enterprise-level hourly workforce. 

Here are some best practices to help task management work for you:

Use a task management software

Post-its and whiteboards are not cut for efficient task management. It’s best to utilize software designed to organize tasks, provide real-time task status alerts, and give you data and analytics on how your team is accomplishing tasks.  

Task management software keeps track of every task in each shift and notifies managers upon task completion. It also promotes transparency as everyone sees the same sets of tasks and has visibility on action items ticked off the list.

Track progress

More than completing things on time, a considerable part of task management is tracking completion. It’s important to see when tasks get done in real-time in order to stay on top of daily operations. Moreover, tracking completion helps you see where and when work is taking too long, what’s causing the delay, and how to address the inefficiency.

Evaluate your task management strategy

Just like performance management, task management should be an ongoing process. Day-to-day tasks can be repetitive but can change over time, especially when organizational shifts and market changes occur. 

For instance, demand will likely influence your team’s tasks. So consider when it will likely peak and ensure that your to-do lists are adequate to meet that uptick in demand. 

Meanwhile, revisiting your task management strategy allows you to pivot quickly in case of unprecedented market changes that will cause a significant shift in your operations. For instance, the disruption of COVID-19 caused in most workforces. 

Tie it in with the rest of  your workforce management

Task management shouldn’t be a siloed process. It would be best to integrate it with other areas of workforce management, such as employee scheduling.

Over time, task management will give you a wealth of data that can aid in optimizing schedules, tracking skills, and making critical workforce decisions.  

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Finding the right software for task management

Task management is no easy feat, but a reliable software system can simplify it.’s task management is the ideal solution for hourly workers. You can use it to create checklists lists for various teams and track real-time completion rates. task checklist mobile view

Task management features are even better when synced with employee scheduling, time and attendance, and human resources. Employees can clock in, check their schedules, complete tasks, and get paid through a single app.

To learn more about’s task management platform and how it ties in with other solutions, book a call today. 

Jana Reserva is a content manager for

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