Handling Requests From Colleagues
We’ve all had that moment when someone comes by your desk to give you a new task that needs to be completed by tomorrow. Or maybe your designer has been working on a small project for marketing that you weren’t aware of. Even with great planning, you can’t always predict when sudden and time-sensitive work will pop up. Without a clear system of tracking tasks and creating requests, priorities can be pushed aside, leaving teams disengaged and overwhelmed.
Instead of being the target of anyone who stops by for a ‘quick question’, follow these quick tips for handling requests from colleagues.
Establish a system for requests
At work, a request is a to-do from member of your team or organisation, which isn’t project or activity that has already been allocated to you. These can often be little tasks that seem easy, such as changing your company’s social media cover photos. But many requests lack the details required for effective work, and can lead you off track or waste your time.
Instead, create a better system for sending, receiving and tracking requests. Start by thinking about what information is most useful when making requests of your team members. For example, you might want to identify the aim, stakeholders and timeline.
Announce this template to your team by sharing it online for everyone to access. Make sure you explain why you’re doing this and how it’ll improve productivity and prioritisation. This can also be empowering for those of you who feel obliged to take on every task requested.
How to know if it’s working
As with many new activities, you should have clear targets and a way to know if you’ve achieved them. Here is what to look out for:
- Work is being completed faster
- Less deadlines are missed
- Everyone knows exactly what they’re working on and why
- Your team isn’t overwhelmed with busy work
- There’s no duplicate work
- Everyone understands expectations
- There are less in-person and email requests
Setting up a system for requests might seem like it’ll take extra time and energy to do. But in the long run, getting the details up front will save you time and enable you to work better and more productively.
Knowing your work is truly a priority will help you stay more engaged – and not subject to whoever walks by your desk.