Why Bangladeshis need to appreciate time
To a young professional like me, Bangladesh is a dreamland. With GDP growth constantly around 6%, the development of infrastructure (in terms of both transport and information) still in progress, and a mass of foreign business models to replicate from, there hasn’t been a better time in Bangladesh for someone with an entrepreneurial mindset. The people of this country have distinctive tastes that demand unique solutions. However, in my short time working here, I have noticed a lack of appreciation for a key asset: Time.
There are four key areas where, I feel, Dhaka businesses can specifically improve when it comes to effectively managing time.
Often, we see a new company launching the next revolutionary product or service in Bangladesh, with trendy features and even trendier endorsements. However, does the general public really need this product for now? Are there clear signs that this product would solve a key challenge in people’s lives? Unfortunately, Market Research does not receive the attention that it deserves in the capital. In a rush to be the first-mover in a market, businesses can sacrifice the necessary amount of research required to tailor a product to the buyers. Even with the most budget-heavy marketing campaigns in place, a product that doesn’t serve a purpose cannot survive for too long.
Once a product is in place, the different promotion functions (public relations, digital marketing, offline activations, print media, television, and more) are also often given mere days to come up with a long-term strategy for a brand. Again, this type of thinking takes time – In Dhaka, all efforts are rarely taken care of under a single roof, and it requires a great level of synchronization between all parties involved to ensure that a brand’s message stays consistent. It is never a bad thing to expect ‘more’ from a vendor, but providing extremely limited time can lead to diminishing returns.
Given the state of Dhaka’s traffic, it is easy to understand why so many people are late to meetings (I have been guilty of this several times as well). Nevertheless, there are several steps that we (CEOs and employees alike) can all take to not waste time.
When you arrange a meeting, check and double-check to ensure that it is still on. Arrive a little early if you want to make a good impression. Most importantly, if you know in advance that you will be late, notify the other party. There are many emergencies and issues that pop up all the time; if you remember to simply let the other party know that there will be a delay, they can use their time more effectively as well.
Internally, using simple calendar apps such as Google Calendar or project management software such as Wunderlist can keep employees on their toes while serving as a checklist for what needs to be done. Embracing technology in the form of VoIP can make communication cost-effective and highly informative. After an online meeting, everyone can get right back to work rather than dread a 90-minute commute back in the blistering heat.
All these efforts, when combined, can help any company handle a higher workload.
The inefficiency in managing preparation time and operation time often leads to a lot of work hours being spent on covering potholes. This valuable time costs a company the opportunity to grow. Many institutions have mandatory training events, but when time is allocated specifically for employees to improve a part of their skill-set or work on an outlandish idea, it can lead to remarkable benefits. To get to this point, though, it requires that all operations are straightened out first to deal with existing workflows.
Respect for time
Perhaps the most important factor to consider is valuing someone else’s time. Each person has a life of their own; family responsibilities, ambitions, and relaxation time are all important factors in a healthy employee’s life. Overtime work should be for emergencies and exceptions, not for daily functioning.
Let your vendors, clients, and employees unwind during the weekends and after office hours. Show them that you value their time by taking steps to waste none of it. You will only be met with a happier and more productive work atmosphere.
I have seen such inefficiencies in action and have been a part of them as well, but I can see Bangladeshi enterprises being more successful than ever if we all begin managing the value of the one asset that we can never restock.