I am an outbound engineer who seems to be always the first to arrive and the last to leave work. I have been struggling with my daily tasks ever since I joined this company. The problem is that we are very short handed and our manager not only manages our team but the inside technicians as well.
My scope requires me to run around, visiting clients’ office to help them to fix their internet network. My peers in my team doesn’t really care about what the clients think so they always pile a lot of appointments in a day and don’t turn up at the appointed time. I like to think I am more responsible so I tried not to schedule more than 4 appointments a day, in case, I can’t make those appointments. I also like to take time to explain to the clients what I have done. At the end of the day, I always need to rush back to work to type out my field reports and that always take up at least 2 hours for me. But my manager thinks I am slacking in my work because I have so little appointments scheduled and my tasks kept piling up. Am I doing anything wrong?
Thank you for writing to me and trusting that I can help you.
Your manager seems to be overworked as well, given that he or she have to manage two teams. You are right in saying your clients are very important. Don’t we just hate it when someone promises us to turn up at 3pm and we shifted our schedules around so as to accommodate him coming. It’s a wonder your clients are not jamming up your company’s hotline with complains. Seems to me, you will need to have a one to one talk with your manager and go through with him your daily flow and perhaps seek advice from him on how to manage your appointments better. Your manager might have overlooked that your team is shorthanded. Do try to understand from his point of view as well, whether your team are constantly inadequate or is it just a temporary surge of requirements.
Next is to see how you can group your appointment visits better. I suggest to find out more about each client’s needs when you called them to schedule the visits. This will allow you to have a feel if it is a time consuming job or just a tinkle here and there. Then try to pair 2 heavy jobs, one in the earlier half of the day and the other in the lower half of the day. In between, you can try to see if you can squeeze in another 3 more easier jobs. Once you are comfortable with this arrangement, try to schedule in 1 more easy job. That will bring up your count of appointments from 4 a day to 6 a day.
Instead of waiting at the end of the day to pen down your field reports, why not jot down keywords after each visit to help you remember better when you type out the full report? Taken advice from one of my field engineering friend, he always bring along his iPad and input short points of what he has done. When he is on lunch or tea break, he’ll be taking 15 mins to type in the full report on his notes for the morning appointments. This way, when he reaches office at the end of the day, he will only need to sync his iPad, copy and paste into his actual report format.
Try and let me know if the advices improve your workloads and perhaps create a better understanding between you and your manager.
Good Luck and Thank you!