The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Understanding Assignments

What this handout is about.

The first step in any successful college writing venture is reading the assignment. While this sounds like a simple task, it can be a tough one. This handout will help you unravel your assignment and begin to craft an effective response. Much of the following advice will involve translating typical assignment terms and practices into meaningful clues to the type of writing your instructor expects. See our short video for more tips.

Basic beginnings

Regardless of the assignment, department, or instructor, adopting these two habits will serve you well :

  • Read the assignment carefully as soon as you receive it. Do not put this task off—reading the assignment at the beginning will save you time, stress, and problems later. An assignment can look pretty straightforward at first, particularly if the instructor has provided lots of information. That does not mean it will not take time and effort to complete; you may even have to learn a new skill to complete the assignment.
  • Ask the instructor about anything you do not understand. Do not hesitate to approach your instructor. Instructors would prefer to set you straight before you hand the paper in. That’s also when you will find their feedback most useful.

Assignment formats

Many assignments follow a basic format. Assignments often begin with an overview of the topic, include a central verb or verbs that describe the task, and offer some additional suggestions, questions, or prompts to get you started.

An Overview of Some Kind

The instructor might set the stage with some general discussion of the subject of the assignment, introduce the topic, or remind you of something pertinent that you have discussed in class. For example:

“Throughout history, gerbils have played a key role in politics,” or “In the last few weeks of class, we have focused on the evening wear of the housefly …”

The Task of the Assignment

Pay attention; this part tells you what to do when you write the paper. Look for the key verb or verbs in the sentence. Words like analyze, summarize, or compare direct you to think about your topic in a certain way. Also pay attention to words such as how, what, when, where, and why; these words guide your attention toward specific information. (See the section in this handout titled “Key Terms” for more information.)

“Analyze the effect that gerbils had on the Russian Revolution”, or “Suggest an interpretation of housefly undergarments that differs from Darwin’s.”

Additional Material to Think about

Here you will find some questions to use as springboards as you begin to think about the topic. Instructors usually include these questions as suggestions rather than requirements. Do not feel compelled to answer every question unless the instructor asks you to do so. Pay attention to the order of the questions. Sometimes they suggest the thinking process your instructor imagines you will need to follow to begin thinking about the topic.

“You may wish to consider the differing views held by Communist gerbils vs. Monarchist gerbils, or Can there be such a thing as ‘the housefly garment industry’ or is it just a home-based craft?”

These are the instructor’s comments about writing expectations:

“Be concise”, “Write effectively”, or “Argue furiously.”

Technical Details

These instructions usually indicate format rules or guidelines.

“Your paper must be typed in Palatino font on gray paper and must not exceed 600 pages. It is due on the anniversary of Mao Tse-tung’s death.”

The assignment’s parts may not appear in exactly this order, and each part may be very long or really short. Nonetheless, being aware of this standard pattern can help you understand what your instructor wants you to do.

Interpreting the assignment

Ask yourself a few basic questions as you read and jot down the answers on the assignment sheet:

Why did your instructor ask you to do this particular task?

Who is your audience.

  • What kind of evidence do you need to support your ideas?

What kind of writing style is acceptable?

  • What are the absolute rules of the paper?

Try to look at the question from the point of view of the instructor. Recognize that your instructor has a reason for giving you this assignment and for giving it to you at a particular point in the semester. In every assignment, the instructor has a challenge for you. This challenge could be anything from demonstrating an ability to think clearly to demonstrating an ability to use the library. See the assignment not as a vague suggestion of what to do but as an opportunity to show that you can handle the course material as directed. Paper assignments give you more than a topic to discuss—they ask you to do something with the topic. Keep reminding yourself of that. Be careful to avoid the other extreme as well: do not read more into the assignment than what is there.

Of course, your instructor has given you an assignment so that he or she will be able to assess your understanding of the course material and give you an appropriate grade. But there is more to it than that. Your instructor has tried to design a learning experience of some kind. Your instructor wants you to think about something in a particular way for a particular reason. If you read the course description at the beginning of your syllabus, review the assigned readings, and consider the assignment itself, you may begin to see the plan, purpose, or approach to the subject matter that your instructor has created for you. If you still aren’t sure of the assignment’s goals, try asking the instructor. For help with this, see our handout on getting feedback .

Given your instructor’s efforts, it helps to answer the question: What is my purpose in completing this assignment? Is it to gather research from a variety of outside sources and present a coherent picture? Is it to take material I have been learning in class and apply it to a new situation? Is it to prove a point one way or another? Key words from the assignment can help you figure this out. Look for key terms in the form of active verbs that tell you what to do.

Key Terms: Finding Those Active Verbs

Here are some common key words and definitions to help you think about assignment terms:

Information words Ask you to demonstrate what you know about the subject, such as who, what, when, where, how, and why.

  • define —give the subject’s meaning (according to someone or something). Sometimes you have to give more than one view on the subject’s meaning
  • describe —provide details about the subject by answering question words (such as who, what, when, where, how, and why); you might also give details related to the five senses (what you see, hear, feel, taste, and smell)
  • explain —give reasons why or examples of how something happened
  • illustrate —give descriptive examples of the subject and show how each is connected with the subject
  • summarize —briefly list the important ideas you learned about the subject
  • trace —outline how something has changed or developed from an earlier time to its current form
  • research —gather material from outside sources about the subject, often with the implication or requirement that you will analyze what you have found

Relation words Ask you to demonstrate how things are connected.

  • compare —show how two or more things are similar (and, sometimes, different)
  • contrast —show how two or more things are dissimilar
  • apply—use details that you’ve been given to demonstrate how an idea, theory, or concept works in a particular situation
  • cause —show how one event or series of events made something else happen
  • relate —show or describe the connections between things

Interpretation words Ask you to defend ideas of your own about the subject. Do not see these words as requesting opinion alone (unless the assignment specifically says so), but as requiring opinion that is supported by concrete evidence. Remember examples, principles, definitions, or concepts from class or research and use them in your interpretation.

  • assess —summarize your opinion of the subject and measure it against something
  • prove, justify —give reasons or examples to demonstrate how or why something is the truth
  • evaluate, respond —state your opinion of the subject as good, bad, or some combination of the two, with examples and reasons
  • support —give reasons or evidence for something you believe (be sure to state clearly what it is that you believe)
  • synthesize —put two or more things together that have not been put together in class or in your readings before; do not just summarize one and then the other and say that they are similar or different—you must provide a reason for putting them together that runs all the way through the paper
  • analyze —determine how individual parts create or relate to the whole, figure out how something works, what it might mean, or why it is important
  • argue —take a side and defend it with evidence against the other side

More Clues to Your Purpose As you read the assignment, think about what the teacher does in class:

  • What kinds of textbooks or coursepack did your instructor choose for the course—ones that provide background information, explain theories or perspectives, or argue a point of view?
  • In lecture, does your instructor ask your opinion, try to prove her point of view, or use keywords that show up again in the assignment?
  • What kinds of assignments are typical in this discipline? Social science classes often expect more research. Humanities classes thrive on interpretation and analysis.
  • How do the assignments, readings, and lectures work together in the course? Instructors spend time designing courses, sometimes even arguing with their peers about the most effective course materials. Figuring out the overall design to the course will help you understand what each assignment is meant to achieve.

Now, what about your reader? Most undergraduates think of their audience as the instructor. True, your instructor is a good person to keep in mind as you write. But for the purposes of a good paper, think of your audience as someone like your roommate: smart enough to understand a clear, logical argument, but not someone who already knows exactly what is going on in your particular paper. Remember, even if the instructor knows everything there is to know about your paper topic, he or she still has to read your paper and assess your understanding. In other words, teach the material to your reader.

Aiming a paper at your audience happens in two ways: you make decisions about the tone and the level of information you want to convey.

  • Tone means the “voice” of your paper. Should you be chatty, formal, or objective? Usually you will find some happy medium—you do not want to alienate your reader by sounding condescending or superior, but you do not want to, um, like, totally wig on the man, you know? Eschew ostentatious erudition: some students think the way to sound academic is to use big words. Be careful—you can sound ridiculous, especially if you use the wrong big words.
  • The level of information you use depends on who you think your audience is. If you imagine your audience as your instructor and she already knows everything you have to say, you may find yourself leaving out key information that can cause your argument to be unconvincing and illogical. But you do not have to explain every single word or issue. If you are telling your roommate what happened on your favorite science fiction TV show last night, you do not say, “First a dark-haired white man of average height, wearing a suit and carrying a flashlight, walked into the room. Then a purple alien with fifteen arms and at least three eyes turned around. Then the man smiled slightly. In the background, you could hear a clock ticking. The room was fairly dark and had at least two windows that I saw.” You also do not say, “This guy found some aliens. The end.” Find some balance of useful details that support your main point.

You’ll find a much more detailed discussion of these concepts in our handout on audience .

The Grim Truth

With a few exceptions (including some lab and ethnography reports), you are probably being asked to make an argument. You must convince your audience. It is easy to forget this aim when you are researching and writing; as you become involved in your subject matter, you may become enmeshed in the details and focus on learning or simply telling the information you have found. You need to do more than just repeat what you have read. Your writing should have a point, and you should be able to say it in a sentence. Sometimes instructors call this sentence a “thesis” or a “claim.”

So, if your instructor tells you to write about some aspect of oral hygiene, you do not want to just list: “First, you brush your teeth with a soft brush and some peanut butter. Then, you floss with unwaxed, bologna-flavored string. Finally, gargle with bourbon.” Instead, you could say, “Of all the oral cleaning methods, sandblasting removes the most plaque. Therefore it should be recommended by the American Dental Association.” Or, “From an aesthetic perspective, moldy teeth can be quite charming. However, their joys are short-lived.”

Convincing the reader of your argument is the goal of academic writing. It doesn’t have to say “argument” anywhere in the assignment for you to need one. Look at the assignment and think about what kind of argument you could make about it instead of just seeing it as a checklist of information you have to present. For help with understanding the role of argument in academic writing, see our handout on argument .

What kind of evidence do you need?

There are many kinds of evidence, and what type of evidence will work for your assignment can depend on several factors–the discipline, the parameters of the assignment, and your instructor’s preference. Should you use statistics? Historical examples? Do you need to conduct your own experiment? Can you rely on personal experience? See our handout on evidence for suggestions on how to use evidence appropriately.

Make sure you are clear about this part of the assignment, because your use of evidence will be crucial in writing a successful paper. You are not just learning how to argue; you are learning how to argue with specific types of materials and ideas. Ask your instructor what counts as acceptable evidence. You can also ask a librarian for help. No matter what kind of evidence you use, be sure to cite it correctly—see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial .

You cannot always tell from the assignment just what sort of writing style your instructor expects. The instructor may be really laid back in class but still expect you to sound formal in writing. Or the instructor may be fairly formal in class and ask you to write a reflection paper where you need to use “I” and speak from your own experience.

Try to avoid false associations of a particular field with a style (“art historians like wacky creativity,” or “political scientists are boring and just give facts”) and look instead to the types of readings you have been given in class. No one expects you to write like Plato—just use the readings as a guide for what is standard or preferable to your instructor. When in doubt, ask your instructor about the level of formality she or he expects.

No matter what field you are writing for or what facts you are including, if you do not write so that your reader can understand your main idea, you have wasted your time. So make clarity your main goal. For specific help with style, see our handout on style .

Technical details about the assignment

The technical information you are given in an assignment always seems like the easy part. This section can actually give you lots of little hints about approaching the task. Find out if elements such as page length and citation format (see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial ) are negotiable. Some professors do not have strong preferences as long as you are consistent and fully answer the assignment. Some professors are very specific and will deduct big points for deviations.

Usually, the page length tells you something important: The instructor thinks the size of the paper is appropriate to the assignment’s parameters. In plain English, your instructor is telling you how many pages it should take for you to answer the question as fully as you are expected to. So if an assignment is two pages long, you cannot pad your paper with examples or reword your main idea several times. Hit your one point early, defend it with the clearest example, and finish quickly. If an assignment is ten pages long, you can be more complex in your main points and examples—and if you can only produce five pages for that assignment, you need to see someone for help—as soon as possible.

Tricks that don’t work

Your instructors are not fooled when you:

  • spend more time on the cover page than the essay —graphics, cool binders, and cute titles are no replacement for a well-written paper.
  • use huge fonts, wide margins, or extra spacing to pad the page length —these tricks are immediately obvious to the eye. Most instructors use the same word processor you do. They know what’s possible. Such tactics are especially damning when the instructor has a stack of 60 papers to grade and yours is the only one that low-flying airplane pilots could read.
  • use a paper from another class that covered “sort of similar” material . Again, the instructor has a particular task for you to fulfill in the assignment that usually relates to course material and lectures. Your other paper may not cover this material, and turning in the same paper for more than one course may constitute an Honor Code violation . Ask the instructor—it can’t hurt.
  • get all wacky and “creative” before you answer the question . Showing that you are able to think beyond the boundaries of a simple assignment can be good, but you must do what the assignment calls for first. Again, check with your instructor. A humorous tone can be refreshing for someone grading a stack of papers, but it will not get you a good grade if you have not fulfilled the task.

Critical reading of assignments leads to skills in other types of reading and writing. If you get good at figuring out what the real goals of assignments are, you are going to be better at understanding the goals of all of your classes and fields of study.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Make a Gift

How to give assignments to team members

Last updated on: February 21, 2024

The project has been divided into milestones, goals and objectives broken into tasks, and now it’s time to assign them. But as you open the project management platform, you’re faced with the unflattering process of wording the tasks, and choosing whom to assign them to.

Well, in this article, we offer advice on how to make that jumbled first moment a little clearer. There are actionable tips, learning the difference between allocating and delegating tasks, and suggested criteria on how to choose the best person for the job.

For a more precise overview, here’s a table of contents:

Table of Contents

How do you assign employees tasks?

We normally think that assigning tasks is a time-consuming process that focuses on clearing out task lists to keep the project going. However, task assignment should actually be a more employee-oriented process that requires additional dedication and effort, which yields incredible results. But what do we mean by that?

Properly assigned tasks push your employees, projects, and the overall company forward. Here’s how.

  • They strengthen accountability and trust between managers and employees;
  • They help teach new skills and perfect old ones;
  • They allow employees to get familiar with other teams and avenues of work;
  • It becomes easier to make project estimates;
  • Makes for great bases for performance reviews, etc.

The list could go on, but we’ll stop there for now.

Of course, such long-term benefits don’t come without some proverbial blood and sweat in the planning stage. Let’s take a look at the general ideas on assigning employee tasks, and specific steps you can take.

Motivation comes from knowing the bigger picture

When we talk about the bigger picture in project management, we talk about each team member’s task affecting their peer’s down the line. Since all tasks are usually small pieces of the puzzle, it helps to remind employees how their work contributes. For example:

  • A high-quality draft can make a great foundation for the final version, and it can be completed more quickly.
  • A well-prepared presentation can shave time off unnecessary questions and additional email inquiries.

It comes as no surprise that people work better and are more productive, when they know that their work has an impact on the company level.

And so, when you assign tasks, try to emphasize how they fit in the bigger picture. Simply saying: “ You doing X will help with Y and Z ” and how it reflects on the project as a whole will let an employee know that the task they were assigned is important.

Get your employees excited to commit

Telling people about the bigger picture and showing them what’s possible can only get them so far. It’s enough to ignite the initial spark, but for them to fully commit to the task, you need to define what that task entails.

They should be able to picture how to go about the work, what skills to use, and how to reach the desired result. The clearer the instructions, the more motivated they will be to work.

Simply put, give directions on how the task should be done, and make sure they understand. You can’t read each other’s minds, so it’s important everyone is on the same page.

Ask for task transparency

One of the best practices a company can employ is transparency among coworkers.

This is achieved by having everyone input their tasks for the day in a timesheet. The purpose of timesheets is to get an accurate idea of what everyone is working on at any given time.

When people know who works on what tasks, it’s easier for them to know if a person is available or busy, how far along they are with a task, etc.

So, when you give assignments to employees, label them with deadlines. Alternatively, you can ask for employees’ assessments on how long the work would take them, and use those timeframes.

clocked-in activity screenshot in Team Dashboard

Source: Clockify team timesheet

Timesheets are a great way to keep an eye on tasks and the people doing them. You get to:

  • see who struggles with what (helps assess people’s skill sets);
  • who burns through their workload and is available for additional tasks;
  • whether your time estimates need correction;
  • identify any wasted time.

💡 If your employees are insecure about keeping public records of their tasks, here are a few resources that can help:

  • How to create order in your daily work tasks
  • How to be more efficient with your tasks

Keep a crystal clear timeframe

While we’re discussing timesheets and deadline transparency, it’s important to mention that the times you set for task completions need to be clear-cut.

As we’ve mentioned, the safest way to assign deadlines is to consult the employees. They are better at assessing how long it will take them due to the tasks’ difficulty, overall deadlines, the standards that need to be met, and the skill required to complete it.

When they get a say in how long they should be doing an assignment, people tend to feel more accountable for the whole process. They will do their best to finish in time, since they actively participated in setting the deadline.

Set very clear expectations

Assigning a task should always include your (the supervisor’s) expectations pointed out. For example:

  • Does a logo pitch need as many drafts as possible, or just a few finished pieces?

If you ask a designer to make some drafts for a logo pitch, you must specify the kind of quality you’re looking for. Explain whether you are looking for some sketches and drafts for a brainstorming meeting, or if you want clean, presentable pieces to show.

Additionally:

  • How many pieces should the designer do?
  • Is there a specific color palette they need to follow?
  • How important is the task? Is this the day they finally decide on a logo, or is it still in the brainstorming stage? (decides on the quality of the work itself)

Assigning the task using the above questions, you help the designer understand how much effort precisely they need to invest. They become more motivated with clear instructions, as they know what is expected of them. There’s no fear of having their work criticized for something that wasn’t communicated in the beginning. And on your end, it prevents breached deadlines or subpar results.

Avoid creating dependency by being less involved

It’s not unusual for employees to ask their supervisors for their opinion on a certain task, or their performance.

The problem arises when a supervisor makes themselves too involved with the process. When they feel like the project might fall apart if they don’t have their eyes on every moving part all of the time. And when you have, say, 20 people waiting for that person’s approval, advice, or consultation, the workflow runs into a gridlock.

And wait time is wasted time.

Plus, people lose motivation, patience, and grow frustrated, as they could be doing other things.

So, learn not to jump in every time people call for your aid. Assign reliable people who can address smaller issues, while you handle the big picture. Learn how to expend your own energy where it is needed more.

For example – making a pitch presentation for potential investors keeps getting put off because one person needs you to check a client email they want to send, another wants your signature on a form, and the third wants to ask something about employee feedback that’s coming up.

In order to not be stretched thin, and have your time wasted on menial tasks, here’s where you can start:

How to mitigate the risk of being over-involved when assigning

  • Remember that you match tasks to people

Which means that, by matching the right people with the right tasks, your involvement will be minimal. Take time to carefully choose who gets to do what. What is the point of assigning tasks if they can’t be done without you?

  • Have a 10-point scale to judge the importance of items

How important are certain aspects of your leadership role? Are you absolutely necessary in every meeting, or during every call? Which tasks need your approval, and which ones can be approved by someone under you?

Rank these items on a scale of 0 to 10, based on their importance to you and the project. Top priority tasks should get your undivided attention. And what can be delegated, should be.

  • Analyze your schedule

Your energy and time are needed on a much broader scale. The best way to spot if you’re wasting time being too involved is to look at your schedule. Identify how much time you’ve spent on low-priority items, and assess which issues could’ve been solved without you.

  • Take into account priorities and deadlines

Step in only when absolutely necessary. You are in charge of things getting done on time, by people most qualified for assigned tasks. Determine what your priorities are for each project, and concern yourself only with those issues, unless there is a risk of breaching a deadline.

  • Formulate a list of dependable people

If you know your employees (or team members) well enough, then you should be able to single out those who are more dependable and ready to take on a little more responsibilities. Write out the reasons how they could help by getting involved on low-priority items instead of you. When the time comes, rally them and present them with the idea, keeping in mind that this solution helps push the project forward. When authority is delegated to several people, there’s fewer chances of a hold-up in the workflow.

This also falls into the realm of task delegation , which we’ll get into later.

How do you decide what tasks to assign to which employees?

1. assign based on priority.

Naturally, some tasks will be more important than others. When you break down a project into tasks , spend some time assessing their priority level.

High-priority tasks should be the first on your list to allocate. Whether it’s because they’re time-sensitive, or require more effort and dedication.

Low priority tasks can be allocated as fillers to the first available person.

2. Assign based on employee availability

Another factor to consider when assigning tasks is who is available at the moment.

As the project moves along, new tasks will be added. You will have to allocate new work, but odds are you won’t always be able to pick who you want. Especially if a deadline is approaching, the person with the smallest workload should be your first choice.

Overloading an already busy individual just because they’re more skilled or you have faith in them the most puts an unnecessary strain on them. It’s cause for frustration, poorer results, and decreased productivity.

And as we’ve mentioned, if you have a timesheet with an overview of all the tasks and employees working on them, it’ll be much easier to spot who is free and who isn’t.

3. Assign based on employee skill level

High-priority tasks should go to employees with more experience in a given field or skill. However, you should occasionally give such tasks to other employees as well, to help them grow and become just as dependable. Giving people challenging tasks that can boost their experience is essential to productivity and morale.

Not to mention you get to have multiple high-skilled employees.

Low-priority tasks can be assigned to anyone, despite their experience level. They’re a good opportunity to practice, pick up new skills, or get smaller tasks out of the way to make room for more important ones.

4. Assign based on preference

Last, but not the least, preference can also play a big part in how you assign tasks.

It’s a given that some employees will prefer certain tasks over others. So it could be good to assign tasks at a meeting with the team. As you discuss priorities, deadlines, and availability, ask them which tasks they would like to work on.

If someone shows interest in a specific type of work, they should (with some consideration), be allowed to take it. After all, people are more productive when they’re assigned to something they find new or exciting.

Note: Apply this rule with caution. Letting people do only the tasks they want can stunt their career growth. Getting out of our comfort zones and occasionally doing tasks that we don’t like is how we develop and learn. So, don’t forget to document assignments as you hand them out, to spot these potential issues early on.

Allocating vs delegating tasks

While semantically similar words, delegation and allocation in terms of tasks are two different things.

When you allocate tasks , you are assigning tasks without giving the employees much authority, challenge, or room to grow. It includes you keeping all of the responsibility – writing out the tasks, making deadlines, providing resources, tools, etc. These are usually recurring tasks that can become repetitive.

When you delegate tasks , you allow for some of that responsibility to fizzle out from your fingers. All you think about are the objectives, while letting the employees figure out the details and means to get there.

However, that doesn’t mean delegation is right and the allocation is wrong.

Task allocation has its own place. It is just as important, as a lot of tasks come down to repeated processes that are still vital to the project progress. Task delegation is just a good opportunity for employees to learn, challenge themselves, and assess their skills and performance.

When should you allocate tasks?

Management and BizDev consultant Artem Albul shared his concept on task assignment, which he dubbed an “algorithm”. He emphasized how these criteria are useful only and only when you wish that employees perform the tasks based on your guidelines and instructions (aka allocation).

Here is how Albul broke down the algorithm:

algorithm - assignments

Source: Artem Albul, TWA Consulting

As we can see, task allocation, while the more “controlling” of the two, also gives in-depth instructions and asks for confirmation on task clarity. A lot of it comes down to everyone being on the same page, leaving little to no room for misinterpretation (but also creative freedom).

How should you allocate tasks?

With all that we’ve mentioned in the previous section, here’s how your task allotment could look like, step by step.

  • Break down your project

Detail out the goals, objectives, and some individual tasks (not all, be careful not to start micromanaging). Place the most important deadlines.

  • Prioritize tasks and sort them

It’s important to know what tasks need to be done faster/better, to properly allocate your resources and manpower from the start.

  • Make a list of teams and team members

Assign team leaders (if you don’t have them), and alternatively, ask for their input on individual employees skills, for a more informed decision on who gets what.

  • Schedule a meeting

Make a meeting with the team leads and go through the points above. Assign tasks according to each team’s availability, interest, and skill required to successfully push the project forward.

  • As team leads – assign tasks further down the pipeline
  • Track task completion and make necessary changes along the way

Whether it’s pushing deadlines, reassigning tasks, or shifting around resources. This is perfectly fine and expected, so long as it doesn’t happen on every task you’ve assigned. Then, it is an indicator of poor pre-planning.

  • Offer feedback and write performances

Don’t forget to track the progress and make notes of important details that might help the next task allocation/delegation process. It’s also a useful piece of information for the employees on what they need to improve on.

Allocating tasks is somewhat more complicated than we want it to be. But, this kind of thorough research and preparation will make projects run more smoothly. Employees will also be more satisfied with their work, and there will be less hurdles as deadlines approach.

When should you delegate tasks?

Delegation is a great practice in trust for both the employer/supervisor and the employee. The employer learns how to give away some of their control over the process, while the employee learns how to take more accountability for their work.

This lets you focus on big-picture aspects of your job, since you deal less with assignments that are low-priority for you. You save time and energy, while helping others move up in their careers.

How do you effectively delegate tasks as a leader?

As we’ve mentioned, delegating includes more employee independence. There are some additional components which make this type of task assignment more appealing than allocation, with great opportunities for growth.

Focus on delegating objectives instead of actual tasks

When you delegate, you focus on the objective that needs to be done. You shouldn’t give employees a “color by numbers” instruction on how to complete a task.

Communicate clearly what the end result should be and what expectations you (or the higher-ups) have. Leave the means for reaching that end goal to the employees themselves. Because how you solve a task may be completely different to how they will. And that is perfectly fine, so long as the result is the one you are looking for.

Keep the objectives challenging

When the objectives you’re delegating are too easy, chances are the person will either procrastinate, or feel like you don’t trust them enough. And if they’re too difficult, they get frustrated, anxious, and begin to panic.

It’s a good idea to be aware of an employee’s skill level, so you can gauge how much challenge and responsibility they can take on. For them to be the most productive and achieve great results, they need to enter “the state of Flow”.

Graph - in flow

Source: Optimal Experience , M. Csikszentmihalyi

💡 We’ve discussed the state of Flow in more detail in an article on time organization.

Encourage discussion and feedback

Let employees voice their opinions on the topic.

They should ask anything about the task, the goals, or the overall impact their work will have on the later stages or others’ workflow. It means they are interested in the task, and getting involved.

And if they aren’t asking questions themselves, you can always nudge them into proactivity.

  • Is there something you’d like me to clarify?
  • Do you already have any ideas on how to go about the task?
  • Is the time we agreed upon enough for you?
  • Will you need other resources, tools, or support?
  • Do you see any problems or risks?

Questions like these help them feel valued, their efforts acknowledged, and let them know you care about the task and how well they perform. Just be careful not to overdo it, or you’ll start to look like a micromanager.

Give employees free rein, but offer support

Speaking of micromanaging, delegation means you let people problem-solve their way out on their own. There should be no reason for a manager to step in and control or supervise any step of the process, unless absolutely necessary.

However, what you should do is let them know you’re available for any advice should they feel stuck. Just because employees get authority on a certain task, and are left to their own devices, doesn’t mean the project has to suffer until they pull themselves up.

From time to time, ask them if they need anything from you, and make sure they know you’re there for any kind of support, consultation, or mediation. ANother good practice is to also give them additional learning opportunities – such as training, conferences, courses, etc.

Delegate objectives that move people forward

Choose assignments that boost the skills and employ all of their experiences, instead of something that simply needs to be done. For example:

  • Tasks that require they brush up on their team communication skills;
  • Learning how to allocate smaller tasks;
  • Supervising others’ work and doing quality control;
  • Learning to work with a new tool;
  • Holding a meeting (or more), etc.

Find out which skills your employees may want or need to develop, and then plan your delegations accordingly. You want them to complete the task while having learned something new at the same time.

How to choose who to delegate to

Paul Beesley, senior director and consultant at Beyond Theory proposed a nifty checklist for when you’re choosing an employee to delegate to. It’s meant to simplify and speed up the process.

To successfully complete the delegated task, your chosen employee needs:

S – the skill to perform and complete a task

T – the time to complete the task, and if needed, learn the required skill

A – the authority to handle everything concerning the task

R – the necessary level of responsibility

R – the recognition for successfully completing the task

This list is a set of important criteria that should be covered when you consider who to assign to a specific task. However, depending on your niche, type of service, company size and the project at hand, the criteria are likely to change. And it should accommodate your needs, not the other way around.

Common task delegation mistakes to avoid

With all being said, there are some common mistakes managers and employers make, sometimes without even realizing it.

  • Being too vague concerning deadlines (using: as soon as possible, when you get to it, I need it by yesterday). It creates unnecessary pressure.
  • Being unavailable for questions and concerns. While you shouldn’t micromanage, you should still be present for support if an employee feels stuck. Ignoring them or handing them over to someone else could cause distrust. However, if you are usually swamped with work, set consultation hours each day or week.
  • Having unclear directions. Specifying the allotted time for task completion and expectations should be the bare minimum when delegating tasks.
  • Not providing feedback. No feedback is worse than bad feedback. Employees need to be aware when they’re doing good work, as well. In one company I worked for, the mantra was: “If no one is complaining about your work, that means you’re doing good”. And while it sounds like sound logic, it actually caused a lot of frustration. We were left directionless, and simply “floating” from task to task, never knowing if any of them had a positive impact on our performance.
  • Not listening to employees. Take into account how they feel about a task or the objective. Let them give you feedback and if there are potential problems from the get-go.
  • Assigning other people to the same task. If you notice a person struggling, the first instinct should be to ask them how they’re faring, and if they need any help. Some managers tend to assign other employees to help them without consultation, which leaves a sore taste. The employee will feel even more incompetent and will be less likely to take on a similar task in the future.
  • Assuming people will know what you mean. This is one of the biggest problems. When you’re formulating a task, be as clear as possible about the goals and expectations. Oftentimes managers think that these things are implied, but the truth is – no one is a mind reader. To avoid having information misconstrued or misunderstood, communicate clearly and directly.

There could be more mistakes, especially for every different field and industry. If at all possible, identify the most common ones, made either by you or your peers. Note down all the instances where certain tasks weren’t up to par, and see what you could have changed in your assignment process to fix it. Maybe there wasn’t enough time or resources, you were unclear, or the employee wasn’t ready for such responsibility. Use the same procedure in all future task delegations. It’s the only way to learn and make the process quicker.

To conclude

Task assignment should be a very careful, thought-out process. It’s not just about reaching milestones in time. It’s about helping employees learn new skills, feel more satisfied with their position in the company, strengthen the trust between you and them, and ultimately help you refocus on the big picture.

By following the advice we’ve gathered, you will be on the right track to make some effective, healthy long-term changes to your company.

✉️ Have you found these tips helpful? Is there something we could have covered in more detail? What are your experiences with assigning tasks?

Send your answers, suggestions, and comments to [email protected] and we may include them in this or future posts.

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Marijana Stojanovic is a writer and researcher who specializes in the topics of productivity and time management.

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how to effectively assign tasks to team members to increase productivity?

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Picture this: It's Monday morning, and your team is buzzing with excitement, ready to take on the week. But wait! Who's doing what? Does everyone know their roles and responsibilities? Ah, the perennial challenge of assigning tasks . If this rings a bell, worry not. We've all been there. Have you ever felt the sting of mismatched roles? Like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole? Assigned tasks play a pivotal role in the smooth functioning of any team. And guess what? There are methods and tools that make this process easier. Let’s dive in.

As a leader in the workplace, it is essential to ensure that everyone in the team gets the appropriate amount of work. Sometimes, it's tempting to give an employee more tasks than others, especially if he/she finishes the tasks faster. But keep in mind that as managers, you must be fair. You must learn how to effectively assign tasks to your team members . 

Although it may seem like a simple management function, assigning tasks to your team is actually challenging. As said by Liane Davey, cofounder of 3COze Inc. and author of  You First: Inspire Your Team to Grow Up, Get Along, and Get Stuff Done , You are “juggling multiple interests” in the pursuit of optimal team performance.

Task distribution among various departments might vary from person to person. For efficient delegation, it is vital to consider guidelines while distributing duties to team members.

Tasks that are delegated effectively move your people, projects, and the entire business forward. It increases management and staff trust and accountability, helps in refining and teaching new abilities, enables personnel to become acquainted with various groups and areas of employment, and is an excellent foundation for performance reviews, etc.

How do you assign tasks to your employees? 

Assigning tasks is typically perceived as a time-consuming activity that focuses on removing items from task lists in order to keep the project moving forward. Task assignment, nevertheless, ought to be a more employee-focused procedure that calls for extra commitment and work, which produces excellent outcomes. 

Here are some tips to effectively assign tasks to your employees:

1. Delegate Positively

Don't just throw work at someone and expect them to deliver when they might not be qualified for that particular assignment. Maintain a mindset of doubting every assignment you gave and go over your personnel roster to see whether anyone else is capable of completing it as effectively as you can. They will be more likely to believe that they can do the assignment in the manner that the leader desires if they have a positive outlook. Employees won't feel inspired to start their assignment if you adversely assign them or have doubts about their competence. A little encouragement will make their day happier and encourage them to confidently do the tasks given to them.

2. Set Clear Goals and Objectives

To understand how your team performs, you should set clear goals and objectives before entrusting them with any responsibilities. When goals and objectives are not defined, it'll be harder for your team to see the big picture and perform tasks in a particular manner. 

3. Assign the Right Task to the Right Employee

This is the key to productivity. Who has the most expertise and experience should be given priority, but don't give that individual too much work. You should also think about who needs to develop their sense of responsibility. Also, take into account the passage of time and their eagerness to seize the opportunity. To do this, the manager should create a delegation plan that considers the various skill sets of each employee and assign tasks that are properly suited to each individual. On the other hand, when a task requires an extraordinary employee and there is a talent shortage, the leaders themselves should do the assignment in an emergency or without a workforce.

4. Obtain Inputs from Your Team and Set Up Meetings if Possible

Get suggestions from your team on what should be modified, who you could include, and how outcomes should be defined. Engage with the specific managers of the sub-teams if you are in charge of a large team or organization. A meeting with the entire team is necessary before assigning tasks to team members. You may obtain a clear picture of who is responsible for what and how purposefully they can do the assignment. Getting suggestions from your team members ensures that each of them will contribute to the task's accomplishment.

5. Conduct Training and Supervision

A project's completion necessitates the blending of various delegation techniques, a high degree of team member commitment, and effective planning and execution. It is essential to teach the team members and meet with the team every day in order to produce a skilled workforce. The training includes free access to resources for developing skills, such as courses from Upskillist ,  Udemy , or  Coursera . Following the training phase, the work must be supervised by a professional to ensure that the team learned from the training provided. Before and throughout the task assignment and execution among several team members, training and supervision are equally crucial.

6. Communicate Constantly

It doesn't mean that when you're done delegating the tasks, everything's good. No, it doesn't work that way. Constant communication is also the key to unlocking productivity. You need to collaborate with your team . Professionals at work must keep a close watch on their team members to learn about any challenges or issues they may be having.  For the task to be completed and the status of each team member to be tracked, communication is essential. Following up on tasks you assign to your employees helps them manage pressure and boost job productivity since problems like stress and pressure may tangle them and slow them down. Employee burnout is a result of micromanagement, which is not a good concept. It is best to let staff go free by following up casually.

7. Know who to Handover Authorization and Control

Decentralized power relieves employers of job management. Make sure to provide your staff some authority when you delegate tasks to them using management apps such as Trello , Asana , Edworking , Slack , and the like. Employees become empowered and responsible for completing tasks as a result of the control transfer. Giving them too little authority can cause issues because they lose interest in their work while giving them too much control might overwhelm them and cause them to forget basic responsibilities. The key to the team's success is giving each member the authority they rightfully deserve while also soliciting input.

8. After the project, assess the results

Ask yourself how you as the manager could support the success of your team members more effectively. Give constructive criticism and accept it in return.

The most vital phase in job completion is assigning tasks to team members. Due to the frequent mistakes made while delegating duties, it is imperative to use management tools when giving your team responsibilities. Project management solutions provide better work allocations by incorporating features like marketing automation. Employee development and time tracking are made easier by the task assignment guidelines, which also help keep workers interested. 

Allocating Vs. Delegating Tasks 

Now that you've learned about some tips to properly assign tasks, you may also have questions like, "what's the difference between allocating and delegating tasks?" 

As stated by Abhinav in a published article on LinkedIn, "The imbalance of responsibility and accountability is the main difference between Delegation and Allocation." What does it mean? Delegation gives a real opportunity for your team to upskill, grow, and develop. Allocating tasks is merely assigning tasks without the goal of helping your team grow.

Although assigning tasks has its merits, delegating tasks offers significant advantages in terms of employee growth and engagement. Because delegation when done well delivers diversity and other intrinsic motivational incentives that make work so much more meaningful, it will be even more rewarding for the manager and team members.

Task Tips and Best Practices 

In order to accomplish our objectives and SMART goals, we define a particular number of tasks that we must do each day. We frequently take on more than we can handle in the fight to remain at the top of our game and maintain our competitive edge.

Even while everything appears to be of the utmost importance, something is off in your struggle to finish everything while maintaining your composure. Some of us have a lengthy list of things we want to get done before a given age or period. Others devote so much effort to honing a particular skill that by the time it shines, it is no longer relevant.

Time management and balancing workload are not just skills of project managers or superiors. In reality, these abilities should be embraced at every level, particularly when working in a team. Research by Cornerstone found that when workers believe they don't have enough time in the day to do their jobs, work overload reduces productivity by 68%. What tips and best practices should you do so you don't only allocate tasks but delegate them effectively?

1. Prioritize. Make a to-do list according to the order of priority

Even if to-do lists are classic, they are still more efficient and effective than ever. People used to keep handwritten notes for ideas and tasks back in the day.  There are smart to-do lists apps and software that provide notifications and reminders prior to the task's due date. 

2. Maximize productivity and minimize procrastination

To start, delegate the tasks to the right people. Don't do it tomorrow or the next day. Do it today. Having a lot to accomplish may be stressful, which is sometimes worse than the actual task. If you struggle with procrastination, it's possible that you haven't come up with a good task management strategy. You might express your lack of starting knowledge by procrastinating. It could not be laziness, but rather a matter of setting priorities.

3. Be motivated

Procrastination and a lack of motivation are closely correlated. When you lack motivation, you tend to get distracted. If you want to meet milestones and deadlines, be motivated.

4. Delegate and be involved

The reality of being overburdened can have a negative impact on productivity if it is not properly managed. At the end of the day, we're still just humans. When it comes to having patience, resilience, working under pressure, or finishing a task quickly, each one of us possesses a certain set of skills. So, delegate the right tasks to the right person in your team, and don't just stop there. Be involved. Leaving the stadium just because you're done delegating is a big no. Keep in touch with them and follow up on the progress of the tasks assigned.

Task Vs. Subtask 

Tasks and subtasks are quite similar. The only difference is that a subtask should be completed as an element of completing a larger and more complex task.

For example, the task is to increase your company's social media presence. So, what should you do to accomplish those tasks? That's when you have subtasks such as creating optimized posts and content on various social media platforms, scheduling them, interacting with your audience in the comment section, etc. 

The additional stages that make up a task are called subtasks. They are essential while working on large projects with a wide range of tasks. In some task management tools, You may create as many subtasks as you need in the task view, but you must first choose the parent task before you can create a subtask.

Why You Should Assign Tasks Effectively to Team Members

Enhance team productivity.

Efficient task assignment can work wonders for your team's productivity. When each team member knows their role and is well-suited for their tasks, they can focus on delivering high-quality results. Imagine a well-oiled machine, with each cog spinning smoothly and in harmony - that's your team at peak productivity!

Consider these points:

  • Match tasks to individual skills : Ensure tasks align with your team members' unique abilities and expertise.
  • Set clear expectations : Be transparent about deadlines, deliverables, and objectives.
  • Foster collaboration : Encourage communication and collaboration among team members.

Nurture a Sense of Ownership

Assigning tasks effectively helps to in still a sense of ownership and responsibility within your team. When individuals understand their role in a project, they are more likely to take pride in their work and strive for excellence. It's like planting a seed - with proper care and attention, it'll grow into a strong, thriving tree.

Key elements to foster ownership:

  • Encourage autonomy : Allow team members to make decisions and take charge of their tasks.
  • Provide feedback : Offer constructive feedback and celebrate successes.
  • Support development : Invest in your team members' growth through training and development opportunities.

Reduce Work Overload and Burnout

Nobody wants to be buried under an avalanche of tasks. By allocating work effectively, you can prevent team members from feeling overwhelmed and burned out. Just as we can't run on empty, neither can our team members - so, let's ensure they have a manageable workload.

Strategies to avoid overload:

  • Balance workloads : Distribute tasks evenly and consider individual capacities.
  • Encourage breaks : Promote a healthy work-life balance and remind your team to take breaks.
  • Monitor progress : Regularly check in with your team members to assess their workloads and stress levels.

Boost Employee Engagement

An engaged employee is a happy and productive one. When you assign tasks effectively, you're laying the groundwork for increased engagement. Think of it as a dance - with the right choreography, everyone knows their steps and performs in harmony.

Steps to enhance engagement:

  • Align tasks with goals : Ensure tasks contribute to the overall goals of your team and organization.
  • Offer variety : Mix up tasks to keep things interesting and provide opportunities for growth.
  • Recognize achievements : Acknowledge hard work and accomplishments.

Improve Overall Team Morale

Finally, effective task assignment can lead to a happier, more cohesive team. When everyone feels valued and supported, team morale soars. Imagine a choir, each voice blending harmoniously to create a beautiful symphony - that's a team with high morale.

Ways to uplift team morale:

  • Empower decision-making : Encourage team members to contribute their ideas and be part of the decision-making process.
  • Foster a positive atmosphere : Cultivate an environment of open communication, trust, and support.
  • Celebrate successes : Acknowledge both individual and team achievements, and celebrate them together.

Tools to Simplify Task Assignments in Teams

Microsoft outlook: not just for emails.

Yes, you heard that right. Beyond sending emails, Outlook has task features that allow managers to assign work to team members. You can set deadlines, prioritize, and even track progress. Think of it as your digital task manager. How cool is that?

Google Docs: Collaboration Made Easy

A favorite for many, Google Docs allows real-time collaboration. Need to distribute tasks ? Create a shared document, list down the tasks, and voila! Everyone can view, edit, or comment. Ever thought of using a simple shared document as a task distribution board?

Trello: Visual Task Management

For those of us who are visual creatures, Trello is a game-changer. Create boards, list assigned duties , and move them across columns as they progress. Remember playing with building blocks as a kid? It’s pretty much that, but digital and for grown-ups!

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Assigning tasks effectively is a skill that every leader must master to ensure team productivity and employee satisfaction. While the tips provided earlier can help you get there, being aware of common mistakes in task assignment is equally crucial. Avoiding these pitfalls can save you from derailing your projects and hampering your team's morale.

1. Overburdening Skilled Employees

It's tempting to give the bulk of the work to your most skilled team members, but this can lead to burnout and decreased productivity in the long term.

2. Lack of Clarity in Instructions

Vague or unclear instructions can result in misunderstandings, leading to poor quality of work or project delays. Always be specific and clear about what is expected.

3. Micromanaging

While it’s essential to oversee the progress of tasks, hovering over your team members can undermine their confidence and create a stressful work environment.

4. Failing to Prioritize Tasks

Not all tasks are created equal. Failing to prioritize can lead to poor allocation of resources, with less important tasks taking away time and energy from critical objectives.

5. Ignoring Team Input

Ignoring suggestions or feedback from your team can result in missed opportunities for more effective delegation and stronger team cohesion.

6. One-Size-Fits-All Approach

Remember that each team member has unique skills and limitations. Assigning tasks without considering these factors can lead to ineffective results and frustrated employees.

7. Neglecting Follow-Up

Assigning a task is not the end but part of an ongoing process. Failing to follow up can result in delays and could indicate to your team that the task wasn’t that important to begin with.

8. Fear of Delegating

Sometimes managers avoid delegating tasks because they feel that no one else can do the job as well as they can. This not only increases your workload but also deprives team members of growth opportunities.

A significant aspect of a leader's duties is delegating assignments to team members effectively. The secret to a manager's team functioning like an efficient machine is wise delegation.

Because of delegation, you won't have to spend hours on work that someone else can complete more quickly. Trying to handle everything on your own can quickly wear you out, regardless of your knowledge or expertise. Effectively delegating tasks enables you to keep on top of your own work while assisting team members in acquiring new abilities and developing a sense of comfort with taking ownership of tasks. 

Proper delegation of tasks also provides managers and team members with a learning opportunity since it enables everyone to build trust and become accustomed to exchanging comments and showing each other respect and appreciation.

Less is more when attempting to boost your team's output. Your team may become burned out if you try to increase their production too rapidly. In contrast, if you're too aggressive, your team can lose interest in their work and productivity might drop. Keep in mind that everyone will be more productive if they are part of the decision-making and execution process.

If you want to delegate tasks with ease and convenience, go for Edworking . This management tool lets you assign tasks and oversee your team's progress in a specific task. You can also conduct meetings to meet your team.`

Know that productivity greatly matters. With the right knowledge of assigning tasks to your team members, you can maximize productivity. Thus, achieving the goals and objectives of your organization.

What is the best way to assign tasks to team members?

Recognizing and understanding each member's unique strengths and expertise is paramount. Instead of assigning tasks randomly, it's always better to match each job with the individual’s skill set. Consider open dialogue, seek feedback, and ensure the assigned tasks align with both team and individual goals. It's a bit like giving everyone their favorite role in a play; wouldn't they shine brighter?

How do you assign tasks to a team in Teamwork?

In Teamwork, tasks can be assigned effortlessly. Start by creating a task list, then add individual tasks. Within each task, there's an option to 'Assign To.' Simply choose the team member you wish to assign the task to. Think of it as passing the baton in a relay race – each person knows when to run and when to pass it on!

Why is it important to assign tasks to your team members?

Assigning specific tasks helps in streamlining the workflow, ensuring accountability, and reducing overlaps or gaps in responsibilities. It also empowers team members by giving them ownership of their work. Have you ever seen a football team where everyone runs after the ball? Without clear roles, it's chaos!

How do you politely assign a task?

Start by acknowledging the individual's capabilities and expressing confidence in their ability to handle the task. Then, clearly explain the job's scope, expectations, and its importance in the overall project. Think of it as offering a piece of cake, not dumping a plate on their lap!

How do short term goals differ from long term goals?

Short-term goals act as stepping stones towards achieving long-term goals. While short-term goals focus on immediate challenges and tasks (think weeks or months), long-term goals look at the bigger picture and can span years. It's like comparing a sprint to a marathon. One's quick and intense, the other's about endurance and the long haul.

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14 Proven Tips For Completing Assignments

Tips for completing assignments

Completing assignments can be a daunting task, but there are a few things that you can do to make the process a whole lot easier. 

Are you finding it difficult to complete your assignments on time? If you’re looking for some tips to help you get organized and stay on track, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I’ll share some helpful strategies that will make completing your assignments a breeze.

But first, let’s analyze why it’s essential that you complete your assignments on time.

Why are assignments important?

Though often met with groans and complaints, academic assignments are actually beneficial in a number of ways. For one, they force students to engage with the material on a deeper level, encouraging them to really think about what they’re learning and stay on track with their studies.

In addition, academic assignments help students to develop important research, writing and study skills that will be useful in college and beyond.

Academic assignments also give students the opportunity to receive feedback from their instructors on their work.

Assignments are a great way to increase parent engagement in learning and for students to develop a sense of responsibility.

Notably, despite its benefits, too many assignments can do more harm than good.

Too much assignments can interfere with free time and involvement in extra-curricular activities. Assignment completion may be increasingly frustrating and stressful when there are challenges with the home environment. O’Rourke-Ferrara, 1998

Why is completing assignments on time important?

Completing assignments on time allows you to fully engage with the material and understand the concepts.

Subsequently, you’ll likely earn better grades and improve your chances of success in school. Additionally, completing assignments in a timely manner will also give you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

Completing assignments on time demonstrates to your instructor that you are capable of meeting deadlines. This is important in both academic and professional settings.

Plus we all know that once you start falling behind on assignments, it can be difficult to catch up.

Finally, completing assignments on time will likely improve your sleep and reduce stress levels.

According to research, completing assignments improves independence, self-discipline, and time management skills. In addition, it has been linked with better grades and academic success. planchard et al., 2015

14 Proven Tips For Completing Assignments

Tips for completing assignments

So how can you make sure that you complete your assignments on time? Here are a few tips that may help:

1. Read the assignment instructions carefully

Make sure you understand what is expected of you before you start working on the assignment. Read the instructions carefully, and if anything is unclear, be sure to ask for clarification.

2. Identify why the assignment is necessary

Identifying why the assignment is necessary is an important first step for success. Acknowledging the importance of a task or goal can help you stay motivated to do the best possible work and see meaningful results.

It gives purpose to your efforts, and this in turn can help provide focus and direction, leading to better results through hard work and dedication.

Research shows that the main motivating factors for homework completion were: (1) Reinforcement: desire to learn or master the material (2) Credit (3) Extra-credit planchard et al., 2015

3. Start early to complete assignments on time

Assignments can take longer than you think, so start working on them as soon as they’re assigned. This will help you avoid last-minute stress and ensure that you have enough time to complete the assignment to the best of your ability.

4. Set goals for assignment completion

One way to stay on track with an assignment is to break it down into smaller goals. For example, if you have a research paper to write, your goal for the first day might be to choose a topic and find five sources.

Once you’ve met that goal, you can set a new goal for the next day. Breaking the assignment down into smaller tasks can help to make it feel less overwhelming, and it can also help you to track your progress. 

5 . Create a schedule to finish assignments

Once you know when the assignment is due, create a schedule that breaks the work down into manageable tasks. This will help you stay on track and avoid feeling overwhelmed by the assignment.

Research shows that the most common demotivating factors for homework completion were: (1) Other commitments (2) Difficulty understanding (3) Too difficult or too long planchard et al., 2015

6. Identify the resources required for the assignment

Another important step in completing an assignment is to identify the resources that you’ll need. This might include books, articles, websites, or people you can interview. Having a list of resources will help you to focus your research and make the process easier.

7. Track your reference s when researching

As you’re doing research for your assignment, be sure to track the references that you’re using. This will save you time when you’re writing your paper and will ensure that you give credit to the sources that you’ve used.

8. Set aside uninterrupted time for assignments

Once you have a schedule, set aside time each day or each week to work on the assignment. During this time, turn off distractions like your phone and social media. This will help you stay focused and make the most of your time.

"Be open to opportunity and take risks. In fact, take the worst, the messiest, the most challenging assignment you can find, and then take control." - Angela Braly

9. Ask for help if you get stuck

If you’re struggling with the assignment, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Talk to your professor, a tutor, or a friend who is doing well in the class. They can offer guidance and support that can help you get back on track.

10. Take breaks when completing assignments

Working on an assignment for long periods of time can be overwhelming and lead to burnout. To avoid this, take breaks throughout the day or week. during your break, do something that you enjoy or that will help you relax.

11. Celebrate your progress

As you complete tasks on your schedule, take a moment to celebrate your progress. This will help you stay motivated and focused. It can be something as simple as taking a break after completing a section or giving yourself a small treat.

12. Proofread your assignments

Once you’ve completed the assignment, take the time to proofread it. This will help you catch any mistakes and make sure that your work is of the best quality.

13. Submit your assignments on time

Make sure to submit your assignment on time. If you’re having trouble with this, talk to your professor or a tutor. They may be able to offer extension or help you get back on track.

14. Relax after completing each assignment

After you’ve submitted the assignment, it’s important to relax. Take some time for yourself and do something that you enjoy. This will help you relax and prepare for the next assignment.

Final words on proven tips for completing assignments

If you follow these tips, you will be well on your way to acing any assignment. Do you have any other studying or coursework tips that have worked well for you?

Drop a comment below and let me know. Best of luck in all your future assignments.

Read also: 22 Key Tips To Easily Improve Writing Skills

O’Rourke-Ferrara, Catherine. “Did You Complete All Your Homework Tonight, Dear?” Information Analyses (070) Opinion Papers (120) — Reports Research (143) 1998

Planchard, Matthew S. et al. “Homework, Motivation, and Academic Achievement in a College Genetics Course.”  Bioscene: The Journal Of College Biology Teaching  41 (2015): 11-18. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1086528.pdf

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Rushana Greenidge-Horace

Rushana is a dynamic, knowledgeable professional with almost a decade of experience in the healthcare industry. She remains committed to promoting holistic health and wellness.

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Definition of assignment

task , duty , job , chore , stint , assignment mean a piece of work to be done.

task implies work imposed by a person in authority or an employer or by circumstance.

duty implies an obligation to perform or responsibility for performance.

job applies to a piece of work voluntarily performed; it may sometimes suggest difficulty or importance.

chore implies a minor routine activity necessary for maintaining a household or farm.

stint implies a carefully allotted or measured quantity of assigned work or service.

assignment implies a definite limited task assigned by one in authority.

Examples of assignment in a Sentence

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'assignment.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

see assign entry 1

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Phrases Containing assignment

  • self - assignment

Dictionary Entries Near assignment

Cite this entry.

“Assignment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/assignment. Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Legal Definition

Legal definition of assignment, more from merriam-webster on assignment.

Nglish: Translation of assignment for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of assignment for Arabic Speakers

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Make Sure Your Team’s Workload Is Divided Fairly

  • Rebecca Knight

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It’ll save your top performer from burnout.

An important part of your job as a manager is making sure everyone on your team has the right amount of work. It’s tempting to give the workhorse more projects than others (especially if she’ll get them done the fastest) or to ease up on someone who is struggling, but you also need to be fair. How do you make sure that work on your team is evenly distributed? What do you do about the person who’s great at saying no and the one who can’t say no?

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  • RK Rebecca Knight is a journalist who writes about all things related to the changing nature of careers and the workplace. Her essays and reported stories have been featured in The Boston Globe, Business Insider, The New York Times, BBC, and The Christian Science Monitor. She was shortlisted as a Reuters Institute Fellow at Oxford University in 2023. Earlier in her career, she spent a decade as an editor and reporter at the Financial Times in New York, London, and Boston.

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Home » Education » What is the Difference Between Homework and Assignment

What is the Difference Between Homework and Assignment

The main difference between homework and assignment is that homework is a task or a work assigned to a student generally by a teacher to be completed outside the classroom setting, most probably at home, while an assignment is a task assigned to a student to be completed within the course of a particular study.

Assignments and homework vary from one another due to a wide range of distinctive elements such as the objective or the purpose of the task, main functions, and the benefits received.

Key Areas Covered

1.  What is Homework     – Definition, Features 2.  What is Assignment      – Definition, Features 3.  Similarities Between Homework and Assignment      – Outline of Common Characteristics 4.  Difference Between Homework and Assignment     – Comparison of Key Differences

Difference Between Homework and Assignment - Comparison Summary

What is Homework

Homework refers to the tasks assigned to the students by the schoolteachers.  They expect students to carry out the task during non-school hours. Teachers often give homework to complete at home in order to make their students practice the learning material already taught. Their aim is to reinforce learning and facilitate the mastery of specific competencies and skills .

Sometimes, a student might get preparation assignments as homework. The purpose of such homework is to introduce the student to the study material that the teacher will present in future lessons. Furthermore, it would help students to obtain the maximum benefit once the new material is being taught in class.

What is Homework

On the other hand, homework sometimes facilitates the transfer of previously acquired skills to new situations. For example, the students might learn in class about factors that led to World war I. Then, as homework, the teacher would ask the students to find out the factors that led to World war II. Here, the teacher gives an integration homework, which requires the student to apply separately learned skills to create a single product, such as science projects, newspaper reports, or creative writing.

In addition, homework can be used to build up proper communication between parents and children, as a constructive method of punishment and also to make the parents aware of what is happening in school.

What is Assignment

If you are a student, you might think that it is not your responsibility to learn by yourself; rather, it is the job of the teacher to teach you. But, a teacher cannot teach every little thing in a particular unit or subject to the students.

Such a spoon-feeding method of imparting knowledge can negatively influence the learning capabilities and the academic career of a student. Especially in academic establishments such as colleges or universities, teachers expect the students do some research to grasp the untaught concepts and to explore the subject on their own instead of teaching everything to the students using a lecture method.

Homework vs Assignment

The actual purpose of giving assignments is to enhance the learning skills of the students.  This enables the students to occupy their brains more and more. Academic assignments improve the creativity of the students as they naturally acquire and learn a lot when they read or practice a subject or art on their own.  Therefore, the main reason for giving assignments is to provide the student with a platform to practice and explore knowledge about a subject on their own.

Similarities Between Homework and Assignment

  • Both aim at enhancing the learning skills of the students.
  • Teachers or professors assign them to the students.
  • It is possible to grade both homework and assignments.

Difference Between Homework and Assignment

Homework is a work or a task assigned to a student by a teacher to be completed during a non-school hour, whereas an assignment is a task assigned to a student in the course of study. In contrast to homework, an assignment usually provides the student with a clue about the objectives of the assigned task.

The main purpose of an assignment is to help a student understand the studying process well. In contrast,  homework basically helps the student to improve his/her skills.

Main Function

An assignment can be used to figure out what should be taught, while homework is basically used to identify the challenges encountered by students on a particular topic. 

Some advantages of assignments include supporting students to revise a particular topic and boosting the students’ confidence, whereas homework becomes helpful in understanding a specific topic and when preparing for an exam.

In brief, the main difference between homework and assignment is that homework is assigned to be completed outside the classroom while assignments are assigned to be completed within the course of a particular study. Nonetheless, no matter how beneficial they can be, for most students, homework and assignments are a massive source of unhappiness and irritation.

1. Levy, Sandra. “ Why Homework Is Bad: Stress and Consequences .” Healthline , Healthline Media.

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About the Author: Anuradha

Anuradha has a BA degree in English, French, and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Master's degree in Teaching English Literature in a Second Language Context. Her areas of interests include Arts and Literature, Language and Education, Nature and Animals, Cultures and Civilizations, Food, and Fashion.

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Why Should I Use Work Assignment in Project Management Software?

  • 1.  Project Management Basics
  • 2.  Project Management Methodologies
  • 3.  Project Management Life Cycle
  • 4.  Project Management Software
  • 5.  Team Collaboration Tips
  • 6.  Agile Methodology Basics
  • 7.  Agile Project Management Tools & Techniques
  • 8.  Project Management Frameworks
  • 9.  Resources
  • 10.  Glossary
  • Advanced Terminology
  • Methodologies
  • PM Software Features
  • Basic Terminology
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  • Agile Project Management

The work assignment feature in project management software allows work to be assigned to the appropriate person within the project team. Whether it’s creating a new project or adding in a new task, the work needs to be assigned to a resource for it to be executed.

After all, if the work isn’t assigned to someone, then no one knows who is responsible for ensuring it’s completed. Instead of relying on everyone knowing who’s responsible for what and passing it on to the right person at the right time, you can store all that information inside your project management software.

The work assignment feature can be used for new requests using dynamic request forms . It can also be used for workflows using the auto-assignment feature.

How work assignment request forms work

Dynamic request forms ensure that all vital task information is captured without asking the requester any unnecessary questions. The form questions change based on the information the requester provides as they’re filling it out.

These request forms are designed to automatically modify fields to match request types. One of the available modifications is the automatic assignment of resources based on specific form answers or selections. 

For example, if a request is created to ask for additional product testing, it can be automatically assigned to your lead project tester. This feature ensures that work is always assigned to the correct person, even when the requester doesn’t know who should be responsible.

To use automatic work assignments within request forms, one of your software admins simply needs to tie certain drop-down options or checkboxes to the appropriate work owners when creating the form template.

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How auto-assigned workflows work

Auto-assigned workflows automatically assign work to team members when it’s ready for them to begin. This functionality allows users to auto-assign workflow stages. As tasks enter each stage, new assignees are added and automatically alerted to start their work. For example, the work assignment feature will allow you to automatically assign work to your editor as soon as it’s moved to the “content review” stage.

This auto-assignment approach also helps teams deliver faster by preventing rework since tasks will not be assigned until requirements and prior stages are complete. Plus, it reduces the number of tasks visible to each employee, allowing them to better focus on current priorities.

Team members cannot access a task until it’s assigned to them. By reducing the volume of work assigned in the system, you can optimize speed and quality, reduce multitasking , and lower employee stress.

Plus, as the project manager, you don’t need to remember to give people the go-ahead when it’s time to begin the next piece of work. The system will automatically notify everyone for you so that you’re not wasting time trying to contact people, and you don’t need to micromanage their progress.

Auto-assigned workflows can also be useful for larger projects that have separate phases with phase gates . Using this approach, the next phase typically is not approved to start until the gate has been successfully approved. The auto-assign workflow feature allows you to tie work to these phases so that people do not accidentally begin tasks before approval is received. 

To use auto-assigned workflows, you simply need to define each stage of your overall workflow and assign each workflow stage to team members. The system will then automatically send “Start Next Task” alerts to assignees when prior dependencies have been completed, and they can start their work.

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Tips on setting up work assignments in project management software

Here are some additional tips on using auto-assigned workflows:

  • Use flexible timelines: Work assignments are triggered by stage or phase completion, not by start dates. Therefore, your tasks must have flexible dates. Otherwise, people could be assigned tasks that are ready to go and not start them because it’s not the start date yet.  With flexible timelines, you can time the assignment to occur just before the work needs to start and then empower your team to self-manage and begin assignments as they come in. This means work can start early, if all the predecessors are completed, allowing you to move ahead of schedule and eliminate idle time.
  • Use fixed statuses: With fixed statuses, when a user changes a task’s status, they can only choose from certain predesignated statuses. Admins determine which status should have predetermined follow-up statuses, and they choose what the follow-up statuses are. For example, if a task is “In Progress,” users will only be able to change the task to “In Review” or “Completed.” They will not see or be able to select any other status options. This is important, as work assignments are tied to specific statuses. Without fixed statuses, a user could potentially choose a status that does not have an assignee tied to it.
  • Monitor workflows and assignments: There are many advantages to work assignments in project management software, but one disadvantage is that work could be automatically assigned to someone who’s not available, such as if a team member is out sick, on vacation, or has left the company.

Thankfully, dashboards can allow you to easily visualize workflows and pinpoint any issues with assignments. If you know someone is absent, you can see all the work currently assigned to them and decide whether it can wait until their return, or you can reassign it to someone else.

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Benefits of work assignment

Without work assignments, requesters must know who the work belongs to and manually assign it to them. This results in more time filling out forms, and it increases the risk of work being assigned to the wrong person.

If you have a large company or new employees, they may not be aware of who’s responsible for each type of work . A task may not find its way to the right person, or it can get stuck in a certain step of the process if it's not appropriately handed off to the correct person at the correct time.

If tasks are not closely monitored and managed, sometimes a request can sit there for weeks with no movement due to it being unclear who’s responsible for it. When the work is then assigned to the incorrect person, time is lost rerouting it. These delays may even cause deadlines to be missed or work to go uncompleted.

Having the ability to auto-route requests to the appropriate person based on project details can solve all these issues. In addition, tying certain workflow statuses to certain team members ensures that tasks are automatically moved to the right person as soon as they’re ready for them.

Further reading

Auto-Assign Workflows to Increase Speed and Simplify Processes

Addicted to Multitasking: The Scientific Reasons You Can’t Stop Juggling Work

Accelerate Your Business With Wrike's New Custom Workflows

Basic Project Management

  • Project Charter
  • Project Management Stakeholders
  • What is a Project?
  • Work Breakdown Structure
  • Project Objectives
  • Project Baseline
  • Project Management Scheduling
  • Project Management Work Packages
  • Project Management Scope
  • Scope Creep

Advanced Project Management

  • What is PERT?
  • Network Diagram
  • Risk Management
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  • Cost Management
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Software Features

  • Critical Success Factors
  • Capacity Planning
  • User Role Access Permissions
  • Time Tracking
  • Budget Tracking
  • Request Forms
  • Work Assignments
  • Version Control
  • Dependency Managements
  • Project management Milestones
  • Project Management Software
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Feelings – Our Emotions

Dealing With an Employee Who Refuses to Perform Assigned Work

assignment assigned work

Does an Employee Have a Right to Refuse a Work Assignment?

What to do if an employee refuses an assignment, what is it called when an employee refuses to do something, the legal implications of disciplining an employee for refusing to do something, what happens if you refuse to do a task at work, the impact of refusing to do a task on the company culture and employee morale.

  • Increased stress among team members
  • Lowered morale among team members
  • Decreased productivity and efficiency
  • Possible misunderstandings and conflicts within the team
  • Disrespect for authority and company policies
  • Possible negative impact on company culture and reputation

Can You Refuse to Do Part of Your Job?

What to do if you feel you are being asked to perform tasks outside of your job description.

Sean Burn

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Cambridge Dictionary

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Meaning of assignment in English

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  • It was a plum assignment - more of a vacation really.
  • He took this award-winning photograph while on assignment in the Middle East .
  • His two-year assignment to the Mexico office starts in September .
  • She first visited Norway on assignment for the winter Olympics ten years ago.
  • He fell in love with the area after being there on assignment for National Geographic in the 1950s.
  • act as something
  • all work and no play (makes Jack a dull boy) idiom
  • be at work idiom
  • be in work idiom
  • housekeeping
  • in the line of duty idiom
  • short-staffed
  • undertaking

You can also find related words, phrases, and synonyms in the topics:

assignment | Intermediate English

Assignment | business english, examples of assignment, collocations with assignment.

These are words often used in combination with assignment .

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Translations of assignment

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Assigning Tasks: How to Delegate Effectively

There are certain projects that could never be completed if they weren’t broken down into individual tasks, especially those of a certain size and complexity. As soon as your team grows bigger than one or two people, you need to make use of the ability to assign tasks to achieve your goals. 

December 21, 2022

8 mins read

There are some customer service superheroes out there who seem to be able to complete all the tasks themselves. But the reality is that most of us need to learn the skill of assigning tasks to others, especially if we are in positions of responsibility in busy customer service teams. This is to ensure that no single person is burdened with the workload, or high-performers are being unfairly assigned a larger proportion of the work available. 

Assigning tasks is essential for high-performing customer service teams that must juggle multiple priorities. 

Anyone who has any experience working in a customer service team understands task assignments, which helps you to get projects completed, customer queries solved and objectives fulfilled. It’s naturally much quicker and more efficient to have multiple employees working on different tasks that make up a project, utilizing their unique skills and experiences to come up with creative solutions. 

Without assigned tasks, projects would never get completed because teams are not working to their full capacity. Some customer problems could never be resolved because they require the contributions of different customer service representatives . Assigning tasks needs to be deliberate since it requires the coordination of multiple members of a team. 

What is task assigning?

Task assigning means allocating and delegating tasks to members of your team for effective project management. The task assigner is aware of the various strengths and weaknesses, skills and experience of individuals and can assign them tasks in pursuit of greater productivity. 

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You need to be able to break down projects into component parts so that each individual may contribute to the greater whole. Usually, you will use task tracking or project management tools that can help your team manage their assigned task, and can even offer customer service automations that make assigning tasks easier. 

When assigning tasks is implemented effectively, each team member knows who is responsible for what and when tasks are due. This helps prevent conflicting priorities. Each task must come full circle, with each assignee receiving constructive feedback on how well they have completed the task. 

Even if you assign a task to another team member, they are still reporting into the task owner for approval. 

The importance of efficient task assignments

Efficient task assignment means that customer service teams can work to their full productivity, since each team member understands what they are responsible for. Your task description can break each task down so service reps fully understand the steps they need to take to complete the task, and have access to the resources they might need to be successful. Employees perform better when they are trusted with tasks that help them stretch and grow. 

The entire purpose of a team is to enable different employees to work together effectively and create outcomes that are greater than the individual contributions. Customer service teams that have a plurality of perspectives from multiple people are more creative. A diversity of perspectives contributes to more creative solutions as people with different backgrounds collaborate together. 

Projects are completed much more quickly when you have multiple team members handling all your employee tasks, instead of one person trying to do everything on their own. Task assignment means team members who have both the time and experience necessary to complete the task can all have a role to play. 

Effectively assigning tasks to individual team members gives them a chance to stretch themselves and engage in more professional development. New tasks give more junior customer service reps the opportunity to step outside of their comfort zone, and complete different types of work that may otherwise not come across their path. 

There are many benefits to task assignment, not least because it allows the entire team to share the workload. 

The difference between assignment and delegation

While they might at first glance seem to be similar, there is a big difference between task assignment and delegation. Assignment means you assign tasks to a team member and explain exactly how you want things to be done, with clear-cut instructions. Delegation means you are transferring responsibility for the task to your assignee and giving them more autonomy for how that task gets completed. 

Assigning tasks is often repetitive but it nevertheless contributes to the overall completion of the project. A delegated task is more free and gives your team members the opportunity to grow as they figure out how to produce the desired results. Task delegations are based more on outcomes than specific instructions, with the employee figuring out how to complete the task on their own. 

Although task delegation is more autonomous, it nevertheless still requires support from the manager to ensure that the employee has adequate direction. Delegating a task doesn’t mean the manager no longer has anything to do with it, but simply that they are trusting their assignee to take ownership. 

Choosing whether or not to assign or delegate a task means understanding the complexity of the task to be assigned. 

How to assign tasks to team members

Try to remove yourself from the approval process.

When a supervisor assigns tasks to employees, they themselves can become a bottleneck as service reps turn to them for approval during every stage of completing the task. When multiple team members are waiting for sign-off from the same customer service manager, you find that you haven’t actually reduced your workload and you end up micromanaging your assignees. 

When managers are too involved, projects lose momentum as the individual contributors end up waiting around for approval when they could be spending their time on more productive tasks. Customers are kept waiting as individual queries can’t progress without the authority of a manager. 

In order to avoid this problem, you can select a group of dependable people who are responsible for the approval process. Delegating responsibility means that you can be more hands-off in the task completion process, while being assured that the work is being completed to a high standard. Schedule regular team meetings to go over the progress of each task and keep your eye on the ball. 

Effective teamwork only happens when customer service supervisors feel secure enough to let the task go.  

Make your expectations explicit

Unfortunately, we can all fall into the trap of assuming that other people are mind-readers. In reality though, if you don’t give clear instructions to your team members then you’re unlikely to get the result you want. You need to look at your task titles and outlines from the perspective of an outsider in order to formulate clear instructions. 

If you want to better formulate tasks for your team members, break the task down into steps and give time estimates for each step. The more information the better, if you want to empower employees to complete tasks on their own. When employees are informed, they don’t have to waste time referring back to you for more clarity. 

There’s a fine line between clarity and micromanaging. Once you have assigned the task, don’t keep pestering your service rep to check whether they are doing it right. If you’ve given clear instructions, they should be able to complete the task to the best of their ability. 

At the same time, ensure that your employee knows they can always turn to you for help during the task, to guard against failure. 

Set an objective time frame for completion

When employees are assigned tasks, they need to be made aware of the deadline for completion or the task could run on forever. It’s not enough to vaguely say “As soon as you get to it” because some critical customer issue is bound to come along. 

It’s best to actively involve your customer service reps in their time frame for completion, since they are the ones who know best how long it will take them to finish certain tasks. When employees are involved in setting their own deadlines, they are more accountable and more likely to make an effort to meet it. 

If an employee is aware of a deadline, they can let you know if competing priorities have materialized and whether the deadline may need to be reevaluated. It’s best to flag these issues as soon as possible, before they affect the overall progress of the project. 

Without hard deadlines, projects will never get finished as every step gets continually put off until tomorrow. 

Hold your employees accountable

When assigning tasks to employees, make sure that they can account for their working hours somewhere that is publicly accessible to the team. You can use time tracking software that will help other team members understand exactly how someone is progressing with their task and hold that individual accountable. 

If employees are held responsible for their tasks, the project is much less likely to get derailed since you as the customer service manager can become aware if someone is falling behind. If your employee’s current progress looks like they might not meet their deadline, then you can ask them if they need extra help or support. 

Tracking your team’s performance can also help you identify the high-performers and who might be available for extra work. You might also see when team members are spending time on unnecessary tasks that don’t contribute to the progress of the project. Teams will be more efficient when they know exactly where time is being spent. 

If you don’t track your team’s hours, you won’t have visibility into your projects and their rate of completion. 

Assign tasks to the right person

There are several reasons why you might choose a particular person to assign a task to, starting with their relevant skills and experience. When assigning tasks to someone, you want to know that they have the right capabilities to complete the task without too much support from the manager. 

Secondly, you want to know that the person you assign the task to has enough time to complete the task. It’s no good assigning tasks to someone who is already overburdened with customer tickets and won’t be able to give your task the due care and attention. 

Thirdly, you might consider assigning tasks to someone who is in need of development opportunities. Perhaps there might be someone more skilled for the task out there, but you want to give this service rep a chance to learn new skills. In this case, you can assign the task while offering extra support for their professional development. 

Multiple factors come into play when it comes to deciding which person to assign a task to, so make sure you give each one enough consideration. 

Relate each task to a wider perspective

When an employee is assigned a task, it might seem insignificant and menial which will cause them to lose motivation. In order to keep employees excited about completing tasks, relate it to the wider perspective and explain how it helps to meet overall objectives. No task is too small or you wouldn’t be including it in your project in the first place. 

Showing employees how their work has an impact influences them to become more committed to the task. Employees are more engaged and happier at work when they understand how their contribution has a place, and that they are improving the lives of others in their team or of their customers. 

If you can’t see how each task fits into the bigger picture, then perhaps it shouldn’t be included at all. Every task should advance your goals and contribute to the progress of the project. 

If it’s not clear how a task fits into the broader picture, try to imagine what would happen if that task was left incomplete. 

Offer feedback on tasks

Every customer service rep needs to understand their performance, whether the feedback is positive or negative. If an employee has no feedback, they have no idea how their work has impacted the team or whether their task has been successful. Without feedback, employees can’t improve and become more productive members of the team. 

Providing your service reps with feedback means they can move onto progressively harder tasks that help them with their development. Even negative feedback can provide motivation to improve as the employee understands exactly what they did wrong with the task. 

While providing feedback does take some time on the part of the customer service manager, it’s the only way that your team members can become more effective, able to take on more complex tasks that would normally go to more senior members of the team. 

Be sure to phrase your feedback constructively to avoid demoralizing the team. 

Wrapping up

Customer service teams that master the art of effective task assignment are more productive, more creative, and have better solutions than their counterparts who can’t assign tasks. In an efficient customer service team, everyone should know what is expected of them and how their work contributes to the whole. 

Task assignments should be clear, detailed and accountable, with hard deadlines for completion. 

Effective teamwork means you can accomplish more than you could as individuals, and assigning tasks is a big part of working together. With transparency and accountability, managers can monitor how everyone is adding to the project. 

Catherine is a content writer and community builder for creative and ethical companies. She often writes case studies, help documentation and articles about customer support. Her writing has helped businesses to attract curious audiences and transform them into loyal advocates. You can find more of her work at https://awaywithwords.co.

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NTEU Chapter 293

NTEU Chapter 293

  • Why Join the Union?
  • London's Calling
  • Article 1: Recognition and Coverage
  • Article 2: Effect of Law and Regulation
  • Article 3: Employee Rights
  • Article 4: Union Rights
  • Article 5: Employer Rights
  • Article 6: Mid-Term Bargaining
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Article 9: Assignment of Work

  • Article 10: Overtime and Compensatory Time
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The Employer will assign work in accordance with applicable laws, rules, and regulations and the Employer's needs and operational goals.

Work assignments will be consistent with an employee's position description, and if the Employer assigns other work, it normally shall have a reasonable relationship to the employee's official position description.  If it becomes necessary to assign work that is not reasonably related to the employee's official position description and it is of a recurring nature, the employee's position description shall be amended to reflect such work assignments.  The phrase "other duties as assigned" in a position description will not be used regularly to assign work where the work is not reasonably related to the employee's position description.

In assigning work to an employee, the Employer will consider such factors as workload, manageability of workload, employee qualifications and experience, relationship of the assignment to existing work assignments, time limits, emergencies, or any unique factors related to the task to be accomplished.

The Employer will not assign or deny work assignments to reward or penalize an employee, but in accordance with the factors described above.

If an employee is directed or required to work beyond normal duty hours to complete assigned work or meet deadlines, the Employer and the employee will comply with Article 10 (Overtime and Compensatory Time).

An employee may request a meeting with their immediate supervisor to discuss the employee's request for a workload adjustment.  If the immediate supervisor agrees that a change is appropriate, they will make a reasonable effort to adjust work assignments, prioritize work assignments, and/or adjust time frames.  The Employer also may consider whether overtime should be ordered and approved to meet the employee's workload.

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Guest Essay

The Most Important Writing Exercise I’ve Ever Assigned

An illustration of several houses. One person walks away from a house with a second person isolated in a window.

By Rachel Kadish

Ms. Kadish is the author of the novel “The Weight of Ink.”

“Write down a phrase you find abhorrent — something you yourself would never say.”

My students looked startled, but they cooperated. They knew I wouldn’t collect this exercise; what they wrote would be private unless they chose to share it. All that was required of them was participation.

In silence they jotted down a few words. So far, so good. We hadn’t yet reached the hard request: Spend 10 minutes writing a monologue in the first person that’s spoken by a fictitious character who makes the upsetting statement. This portion typically elicits nervous glances. When that happens, I remind students that their statement doesn’t represent them and that speaking as if they’re someone else is a basic skill of fiction writers. The troubling statement, I explain, must appear in the monologue, and it shouldn’t be minimized, nor should students feel the need to forgive or account for it. What’s required is simply that somewhere in the monologue there be an instant — even a fleeting phrase — in which we can feel empathy for the speaker. Perhaps she’s sick with worry over an ill grandchild. Perhaps he’s haunted by a love he let slip away. Perhaps she’s sleepless over how to keep her business afloat and her employees paid. Done right, the exercise delivers a one-two punch: repugnance for a behavior or worldview coupled with recognition of shared humanity.

For more than two decades, I’ve taught versions of this fiction-writing exercise. I’ve used it in universities, middle schools and private workshops, with 7-year-olds and 70-year-olds. But in recent years openness to this exercise and to the imaginative leap it’s designed to teach has shrunk to a pinprick. As our country’s public conversation has gotten angrier, I’ve noticed that students’ approach to the exercise has become more brittle, regardless of whether students lean right or left.

Each semester, I wonder whether the aperture through which we allow empathy has so drastically narrowed as to foreclose a full view of our fellow human beings. Maybe there are times so contentious or so painful that people simply withdraw to their own silos. I’ve certainly felt that inward pull myself. There are times when a leap into someone else’s perspective feels impossible.

But leaping is the job of the writer, and there’s no point it doing it halfway. Good fiction pulls off a magic trick of absurd power: It makes us care. Responding to the travails of invented characters — Ahab or Amaranta, Sethe or Stevens, Zooey or Zorba — we might tear up or laugh, or our hearts might pound. As readers, we become invested in these people, which is very different from agreeing with or even liking them. In the best literature, characters are so vivid, complicated, contradictory and even maddening that we’ll follow them far from our preconceptions; sometimes we don’t return.

Unflinching empathy, which is the muscle the lesson is designed to exercise, is a prerequisite for literature strong enough to wrestle with the real world. On the page it allows us to spot signs of humanity; off the page it can teach us to start a conversation with the strangest of strangers, to thrive alongside difference. It can even affect those life-or-death choices we make instinctively in a crisis. This kind of empathy has nothing to do with being nice, and it’s not for the faint of heart.

Even within the safety of the page, it’s tempting to dodge empathy’s challenge, instead demonizing villains and idealizing heroes, but that’s when the needle on art’s moral compass goes inert. Then we’re navigating blind: confident that we know what the bad people look like and that they’re not us — and therefore we’re at no risk of error.

Our best writers, in contrast, portray humans in their full complexity. This is what Gish Jen is doing in the short story “Who’s Irish?” and Rohinton Mistry in the novel “A Fine Balance.” Line by line, these writers illuminate the inner worlds of characters who cause harm — which is not the same as forgiving them. No one would ever say that Toni Morrison forgives the character Cholly Breedlove, who rapes his daughter in “The Bluest Eye.” What Ms. Morrison accomplishes instead is the boldest act of moral and emotional understanding I’ve ever seen on the page.

In the classroom exercise, the upsetting phrases my students scribble might be personal (“You’ll never be a writer,” “You’re ugly”) or religious or political. Once a student wrote a phrase condemning abortion as another student across the table wrote a phrase defending it. Sometimes there are stereotypes, slurs — whatever the students choose to grapple with. Of course, it’s disturbing to step into the shoes of someone whose words or deeds repel us. Writing these monologues, my graduate students, who know what “first person” means, will dodge and write in third, with the distanced “he said” instead of “I said.”

But if they can withstand the challenges of first person, sometimes something happens. They emerge shaken and eager to expand on what they’ve written. I look up from tidying my notes to discover students lingering after dismissal with that alert expression that says the exercise made them feel something they needed to feel.

Over the years, as my students’ statements became more political and as jargon (“deplorables,” “snowflakes”) supplanted the language of personal experience, I adapted the exercise. Worrying that I’d been too sanguine about possible pitfalls, I made it entirely silent, so no student would have to hear another’s troubling statement or fear being judged for their own. Any students who wanted to share their monologues with me could stay after class rather than read to the group. Later, I added another caveat: If your troubling statement is so offensive, you can’t imagine the person who says it as a full human being, choose something less troubling. Next, I narrowed the parameters: No politics. The pandemic’s virtual classes made risk taking harder; I moved the exercise deeper into the semester so students would feel more at ease.

After one session, a student stayed behind in the virtual meeting room. She’d failed to include empathy in her monologue about a character whose politics she abhorred. Her omission bothered her. I was impressed by her honesty. She’d constructed a caricature and recognized it. Most of us don’t.

For years, I’ve quietly completed the exercise alongside my students. Some days nothing sparks. When it goes well, though, the experience is disquieting. The hard part, it turns out, isn’t the empathy itself but what follows: the annihilating notion that people whose fears or joys or humor I appreciate may themselves be indifferent to all my cherished conceptions of the world.

Then the 10-minute timer sounds, and I haul myself back to the business of the classroom — shaken by the vastness of the world but more curious about the people in it. I put my trust in that curiosity. What better choice does any of us have? And in the sanctuary of my classroom I keep trying, handing along what literature handed me: the small, sturdy magic trick any of us can work, as long as we’re willing to risk it.

Rachel Kadish is the author of the novel “The Weight of Ink.”

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

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Reminder: New PCP Auto-Assignment Policy for 2024

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As of Jan. 1, 2024 , members in all HMO products (except Medicaid) will no longer be automatically assigned to your practice, or remain attributed to you, unless they choose you as their primary care provider (PCP) or if a claim shows they have been cared for by a PCP in your practice. 

The previous policy, starting Jan. 1, 2023, allowed PCPs to keep commercial and Medicare auto-assigned members whether or not the provider saw these members. Medicaid members were auto-assigned to select provider groups. Beginning in 2024, Medicaid members will now be automatically assigned to provider groups based on demographic and location needs to be consistent with state policy.

Attribution for all HMO lines of business will now be as follows:

  • For all lines of business, members who choose a provider in your practice as their PCP will be attributed to your provider panel as of the date they chose that provider as their PCP. These members will remain paneled to your practice regardless of the utilization reporting process outlined below since they actively chose a provider in your practice as their PCP of record.
  • For all lines of business, for those members who have obtained services from your practice, EmblemHealth will run a monthly claims utilization report for members in all HMO lines of business with no assigned PCP to check for preventive visits, other evaluation and management (E&M) PCP visits, lab services referred by PCP, and prescriptions written by a PCP. If they have utilization with any of your PCPs, EmblemHealth will assign that member to your group as of the first of the month. 
  • If a member continues to use PCPs in your practice, then they will remain attributed to your practice.
  • If a member previously cared for by a PCP in your practice receives care from a different practice, they will be assigned to that practice starting on the date of the first PCP visit with that other practice.
  • If a member does not have utilization with any PCP in your practice, they will no longer be attributed to your practice at the end of the quarter.

Capitation payments will be impacted by these changes and recoupments may be initiated, as applicable.

By implementing this new PCP assignment process, we aim to support proactive patient engagement and foster good provider-patient relationships.

Assisting members with their PCP selection in this manner helps to facilitate any possible clinical care coordination, should it be necessary, and helps empower the member to achieve better overall wellness. We believe this change will help connect our members to the quality health care you provide and enable insights that accurately reflect the members whose care you manage.

JP 64661 02/2024

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Jen Pawol could become MLB's first female umpire, receives 2024 spring training assignment

Pawol will work a full-time mlb spring training schedule in 2024.

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Jen Pawol could potentially serve as Major League Baseball's first female umpire in the near future. The 47-year-old will serve as a full-time MLB umpire during spring training in 2024, according to an announcement from Major League Baseball.

24 minor league umpires have been selected to serve as MLB umpires during spring training. Several professional sports, including the NBA and NFL, have had full-time female officials for many years.

Pawol has served as a minor league umpire since the 2016 season and climbed the ladder in those ranks. She served as the home plate umpire in the Triple-A Championship game in 2023.

MLB has 76 full-time umpires, and also has umpires who can fill in if opportunities become available due to injuries and other circumstances. 

A total of 26 different umpires were assigned to a full slate of spring training games last season, and 21 of those umpires were called up at some point during the 2023 season. Of those that received a call-up, every one of them worked at least one regular season MLB game. One of those umpires actually filled in for 149 regular season games.

As of 2022, Pawol was one of only nine women to have umpired minor league baseball games, and her peers include the likes of Bernice Gera (1972), Christine Wren (1975-77), Pam Postema (1977-89) and Ria Cortesio (1999-2007). Cortesio was the last woman to umpire an MLB spring training game when he did so in 2007.

Nine women are expected to umpire minor league games in 2024.

Pawol umpired NCAA softball from 2010 until 2016 before she went to an MLB tryout camp in August 2015. She was eventually invited to the Umpire Training Academy, and was offered an umpire job in the Gulf Coast League in 2016. Pawol also umpired in the New York/Penn League, Midwest League, South Atlantic League, High-A Midwest League and Double-A Eastern League before working in the Triple-A International and Pacific Coast Leagues in 2023.

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Last minute gate change are a pain: Here's how they work | Cruising Altitude

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To the credit of airlines everywhere, my experiences in travel tell me that last-minute gate changes are fairly rare. I can’t remember the last time I sprinted from gate 1A to gate 237C because my plane decided to park somewhere else.

More often, my complaints have to do with how far the gate is from the terminal door in the first place, but a far away gate – whether you’re going there unexpectedly or just taking a sign from the universe to get your steps in – can be frustrating no matter what.

Gate assignments at most airports are a surprisingly complex ballet. And after a recent trip that had me passing many empty parking spots to my gate, I wanted to learn more about how it all works.

“It’s never as simple as you would like it to be or as straightforward as we would like it to be,” Matthew Cornelius, executive vice president of Airports Council International North America , an industry advocacy group, told me. “It’s a mix of physical and contractual issues.”

How are gates assigned?

Cornelius said one of the key determining factors in gate assignments is the size of the plane operating the flight.

“Gates are designed and built based on aircraft type, so not every gate can take every type of aircraft,” he said.  

Planes are generally classified into narrowbody and widebody. Widebody gates, as the name implies, require more room, and those tend to be further out or at the ends of the concourses because there’s more space for those larger aircraft, Cornelius explained. “There are some gates that swing both ways kind of, but those swing gates, when you put a large aircraft on a swing gate, that may take out the ability to use those gates around it,” he added

The aviation geeks among us have probably noticed markings on the ground that show exactly where different aircraft types have to park at each gate for the jet bridge to align correctly with the door. That’s a good indicator of how versatile your departure gate may be.

Cornelius said airline contracts also play a role in determining where planes can park.

He said airport contracts with airlines are on a spectrum from “exclusive use,” where one airline has more or less sole access to a particular gate, to “common use,” where the airport operator has complete control over the gate’s use and can assign it to any airline as needed.

“In circumstances where the airline has the whole concourse, then it’s really up to the airline what their plan is for the future,” Cornelius said. “Of course, it’s not as simple or easy as maybe it looks to somebody traveling.” 

Airlines typically start planning their gate usage about a year out, when they publish their schedules, and fine-tune it more about 30 days before a flight, with further massaging 72 hours out and then on the day of departure.

“Day of is probably the most important in terms of gating because that’s when they know what aircraft will be available, which flights are actually going, that sort of thing,” Cornelius said.

What leads to last-minute gate changes?

Many factors can lead an airline to swap gate assignments at the last minute, from a change in the aircraft type to mechanical issues on the ground.

“It’s usually a mechanical (issue) or something, or there’s a delay. You’re supposed to go into C39 or something and the aircraft that’s on C39 was supposed to be gone, but it’s not, so the gate planners and the operational controllers make a decision at that point,” Cornelius said. “Depending on how tight and how busy that airport is at that particular time, that may make 10 or 12 changes or just two or three.” 

Cruising Altitude: Tips for getting a drink on your flight

In the event of major disruptions, like a pile of delays and cancellations due to weather or some other emergency that leaves an airplane out of place, Cornelius said airports can sometimes move planes around, even to gates that may be assigned exclusively to a different airline.

“Most contracts with the airlines at an airport have what’s called forced accommodation, so the airport authority can step in and say ‘Hey, American, you’ve got exclusive use of this gate, but we need to offload this aircraft,’ ” he said. 

Cornelius added that airports are increasingly moving to a common-use model for gates, which provides terminal operators more flexibility.

So next time you’re not happy with your gate assignment, just remember there are a lot of moving parts, and it’s nothing personal if you have to walk really far to get to your plane.

Zach Wichter is a travel reporter for USA TODAY based in New York. You can reach him at [email protected]

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Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Additional reporting by Andrew Goudsward in Washington Editing by Rami Ayyub and Matthew Lewis

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Thomson Reuters

Kanishka Singh is a breaking news reporter for Reuters in Washington DC, who primarily covers US politics and national affairs in his current role. His past breaking news coverage has spanned across a range of topics like the Black Lives Matter movement; the US elections; the 2021 Capitol riots and their follow up probes; the Brexit deal; US-China trade tensions; the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan; the COVID-19 pandemic; and a 2019 Supreme Court verdict on a religious dispute site in his native India.

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  1. Understanding Assignments

    What this handout is about. The first step in any successful college writing venture is reading the assignment. While this sounds like a simple task, it can be a tough one. This handout will help you unravel your assignment and begin to craft an effective response. Much of the following advice will involve translating typical assignment terms ...

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    Work assignments are most common in creative and technical fields of work. For example, writers may need to complete a trial piece before being hired, and marketing professionals may have to create a campaign pitch and outline as part of their interview process. For more technical work, like information technology or computer science, the ...

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    Assigning work to a person or a team is a big challenge. This article covers all the aspects of work assignments. That is the automation of work assignment, scheduling of work assignment, importance, and four important information that contains. Work assignment is the process of assigning work to appropriate team or a person. Work can be assigned automatically with the help of automatic work flow.

  4. How to give assignments to team members

    Make a meeting with the team leads and go through the points above. Assign tasks according to each team's availability, interest, and skill required to successfully push the project forward. As team leads - assign tasks further down the pipeline. Track task completion and make necessary changes along the way.

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    3. Outline Main Points, Only Tease the Details. More often than not, the primary reason companies dole out homework is to get a better sense of your thought process, as well as how you structure and convey your thoughts and ideas. There's not necessarily a "right" answer, nor is there a need to get way down in the weeds.

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  10. 14 Proven Tips For Completing Assignments

    10. Take breaks when completing assignments. Working on an assignment for long periods of time can be overwhelming and lead to burnout. To avoid this, take breaks throughout the day or week. during your break, do something that you enjoy or that will help you relax. 11. Celebrate your progress.

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    assignment. workload. caseload. charge. commitment. duty. obligation. onus. responsibility. task. tasks at hand. amount of work "If the newly assigned work centers have a different standard value key, you cannot assign them graphically. ...

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    How to use assignment in a sentence. Synonym Discussion of Assignment. the act of assigning something; a position, post, or office to which one is assigned… See the full definition ... a specified task or amount of work assigned or undertaken as if assigned by authority. a homework assignment. 3. law: ...

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    1. Online Learning. In the age of online learning, the terms homework and assignment are used interchangeably. In this context, an assignment is often used to refer to any task that is given to students to complete outside of class time, whether it is online or offline. Homework, on the other hand, is often used to refer specifically to tasks ...

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    Task assigning involves defining responsibilities and allocating resources for team members to complete a project effectively. While workplace leaders can assign tasks to team members in different departments, managers typically assign tasks to their department's members. Discovering each team member's strengths, potential, and expertise can ...

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    The work assignment feature in project management software allows work to be assigned to the appropriate person within the project team. Whether it's creating a new project or adding in a new task, the work needs to be assigned to a resource for it to be executed.

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    Ultimately, both the employer and employee have a shared responsibility for ensuring that work assignments are safe and don't pose unreasonable risks of harm. As a manager or supervisor, dealing with employees who refuse an assignment isn't an uncommon occurrence, and it requires a delicate approach to avoid conflict or potential lawsuits.

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    Assignment means you assign tasks to a team member and explain exactly how you want things to be done, with clear-cut instructions. Delegation means you are transferring responsibility for the task to your assignee and giving them more autonomy for how that task gets completed. Assigning tasks is often repetitive but it nevertheless contributes ...

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    Assignment Work From Home jobs. Sort by: relevance - date. 28,033 jobs. Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) Flexible schedule. Care Options For Kids 3.9. Live Oak, TX. ... Responsible for accuracy of all work assigned using appropriate templates for all contacts and assignments,.

  23. Article 9: Assignment of Work

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