iTask – Empowering Employees by Using Task Lists

Having worked and managed a Subway® restaurant for more than three years I have found advantage for a business operating on a regular routine to use a task list.

The hospitality industry is one that can be easily impacted by seasonality, which also means that the priorities of staff should change over time. However, a stagnant task list will become out-dated long before the flaws can be resolved. There are many costs associated with a task list that is not continuously appropriate, including: misdirection, stress, and lower rates of efficiency. This of course ends with a dissatisfied customer.

During my time as an employee and as a manager I have witnessed how an out-dated task list can harm employees and cost a business.

I noticed that having an out-dated task list to guide the business operations can cost employers much more than expected. Here are some examples based on my own experience.


The cost of individual distress

Although employees tend to become accustomed to tasks that are fundamental for the business operation, an out-dated task list does not provide a useful tool for staff who need direction and can actually be counterproductive in these cases.

At Subway®, my main responsibility was monitoring employee performance and making sure all tasks were completed in a time frame. I have been working in the same store now for three years, and during this time the customer flow has changed (a result of new offices and apartments having been developed in the area), the task list however, has not been updated. Lunch is now a far busier time for staff, and as a result the evening staff are continuously left to makeup for incomplete tasks like turning on the coffee machines due to this change in customer activity.

This has put unnecessary pressure of the evening staff, and one that they cannot communicate effectively to managers, as they are only present in-store during the day shifts. The result of this is that the staff turnover rates have increased, and staff request not to work night shifts as there is a known burden.

With iTask, my store will be able to balance tasks better as the store inevitably goes through times of change. The manager or owner will be able to set tasks according to these periods of demand. It will also give the owner a better understanding of task delegation in order for them to fairly spread the workload over the entire team of staff. This would make the workplace fairer and ultimately see less staff turnover.


The cost of broken relationships

Seasonality has huge impacts on the hospitality industry, and the allocation of tasks will vary over time in response to the changes in demand. I have seen many employees argue about their responsibilities and duties, because the task list is out-dated and ambiguous. In this type of situation, as a supervisor, I have to put everything aside to resolve the dispute before the overall performance of the store is affected. Over time, an out-dated and ambiguous task list that does not provide relevant instructions reduces productivity, damages trust, morale and results in disputes that are voiced and unvoiced, leading to a toxic work environment.


The cost of strained organisational resources

An out-dated task list not only lengthens the amount of time spent resolving disputes, but also increases difficulties with recruitment and retention.

Almost all employees at my Subway® restaurant are university students. It is common for these staff to feel stresses related to financial worries, exam and coursework pressure, and balancing all of this with their other personal commitments.

This stress is difficult to leave at the door when they come in to work and many students are disappointed by the toxic work environment that is a result of inefficient staff direction and unfair task delegation that occurs as a result of the out-dated task list. It is common to see these staff members choose to work somewhere else. In the long term, our store struggles to maintain a sustainable workplace with a content and reliable roster of staff.

Customer complaints about service and atmosphere which are frequent can be related directly to the dissatisfaction of staff brought on by unnecessary workplace stress as well as a roster which features staff who are being constantly trained due to the high rate of employee turnover.

iTask is the solution

These common problems can be solved by using StakOne’s iTask application which provides an advanced capacity to organise and prioritise dynamic task lists in the workplace. The iTask platform allows store owners to change upcoming task list anytime, anywhere with click of a button. This will ensure the list displayed on iTask is an up-to-date, relevant and unambiguous tool for fair and improved workplace conditions.

More than just a checklist, the iTask platform, can assign jobs to individual staff roles, effectively streamlining the workplace. The task lists provide guidance to new members as well as experienced employees by showing them tasks that need to be accomplished at a given time. These will reduce the opportunities for miscommunication of tasks and hence create a more confident and efficient work environment.

Relevant data can be collected through the iTask platform and presented in a simple way for storeowners to more accurately predict the flow of work processes. This will increase the level of flexibility for storeowners to make adjustment to work practices and procedures. iTask embraces change and the evolving nature of workplaces that are effected by seasonal changes, and allows these businesses to allocate resources efficiently, in order to keep staff and customers satisfied.






Yanny is a fourth-year student, studying a combined degree of Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Commerce at the Australian National University (ANU). She has been a supervisor in a Subway restaurant in the ACT for more than three years. Yanny has joined StakOne as a Marketing intern.