Chief Time Officer: A Standalone Role?

Time being the omnipresent limitation, is it crucial to optimise it too?

We kill time. We save time. We rob and get robbed of time. We lose time, and then we have all the time in the world. But none of us is powerful enough to stop the march of time or slow it down.

Even Benjamin Franklin has often dwelled on how the lost time never comes back, on how losing time is equivalent to losing money. Well, all of this stands as relevant today, for time is what life is made up of.

Even from a business perspective, time has paved itself a position that is almighty and affected by none. Rather, affects the surrounding functions. In fact, it has often led to unwonted repercussions when unwatchful. Given companies are now fountainheads to several newly-named titles- growth, people, information- we wonder if a Chief Time Officer position should also be on agencies' docket.

Sumanto Chattopadhyay, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, 82.5 Communications believes that a time officer would be of particular relevance in a creative company such as his—which has just two assets, time and talent. “Creative people have a tendency to approach every new assignment with equal gusto without being mindful of the value of the time expended on it in proportion to its profit potential. That is the nature of the creative mind.”

For him, a designated person will help rationalise the schedules of senior creative leaders and, in a sense, save them from themselves. “Since we are a client-driven business, the time officer would also need to take a firm stand with clients who may overburden the agency because of poor time management on their part leading to last-minute briefs,” he says. 

However, Prabhkiran Singh, Founder and CEO, Bewakoof, asserts that managing time appropriately is an individual responsibility. “There is no universal guidebook for managing time. Different people manage time differently and this heterogeneous & liberal ecosystem often results in higher outputs. Institutional supervision of time can easily translate into micro-management but when done correctly, I see why some may deem it beneficial. Since the value of time is relative to its utilisation for tasks and the quality of outputs of the said tasks, it becomes difficult to be tracked as well as money can be,” he shares. 

Even Ayesha Chenoy, Founder, RepIndia agrees that keeping time and managing it is an intrinsic part of absolutely any job, and being good at a job is about managing your time, “I don’t believe it’s something that one can effectively track through a ‘time officer’ (may turn out to be a colossal waste of time ). And to be honest we do manage time - just like we manage finances, whether that is through understanding achievable deadlines, or work-life balance. We are all in fact time officers!”

But are there really any operational or commercial benefits that a time cop can offer, we seek…

Chief Time Officers can play an important role in streamlining the processes and workflow, thereby saving the company from an over-expenditure of time, human power, infrastructure and money (employee compensation & infrastructure costs). This stands relevant given the new norms of working from home and the need to streamline all teams under one workplace management system, that understands every aspect of both time and cost

Richa Singh, CEO & Co-founder, Blogchatter admits the numerous benefits of a Chief Time Officer, given it can make the sudden complexities of work structures less conflicting. “Instructions and priorities which have always had a weird relationship can find an organic flow - making time consumed even further streamlined. Business focus activity will suddenly see better-thriving leading to greater revenues and even profits,” she adds. 

What Will It Take For Organisations To Make This Happen?

Having a Chief Time Officer at front of the mind can mean different things but it eventually comes down to having a well-run business, believe experts. A standalone position can lead to better growth of the platform, predict profitability from existing clients and ensure happy employees as they are working at the right level of utilisation.

Jonna Vyasulu, Chief Marketing Officer, Voiro marks that the role of a Chief Time Officer would require a one horizon view across people, processes, products, services and customers in order to dice time into the most efficient allocation to have the company operating at optimal levels. “A Chief Time Officer would have to work cross-functionally, using tech and ensure that an organisation’s time is used effectively. To drive a lean thinking and agile strategy to allocate resources and plan for the unexpected so that the risk of reactive, fire fighting measures are mitigated and the company begins to think of time as a key component of business - in the way they design proposals, the experiences they offer customers and of course in the way they retain and hire talent,” she comments.

While there are numerous technologies that can automate and improve processes, having an executive who is slicing time using a collective approach would definitely add value to the future of work. Of course, this may vary as per the nature of business and organisational culture & requirements.