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Work Smarter, Not Harder: How Can the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) Increase Productivity in Field Service?

Illustration with elements of pareto principle and time management such as calendars, time clock along with other elements on an employee's desk
4 min read

Illustration with elements of pareto principle and time management such as calendars, time clock along with other elements on an employee's desk

Among the many ways to boost productivity, the 80/20 rule or the Pareto principle stands out.  The economic concept suggests that 80% of results come from 20% of the effort. It advocates focused efforts on the vital few tasks that give the most significant impact.

Though the figures may vary, the principle highlights that the relationship between input and output is not always equal. Hence, the concept is about working smart, no longer.

In the realm of field service, adopting the pareto principle can be one of the many ways your business enhances productivity. 

This phenomenon is known by various names:

  • Pareto principle
  • 80/20 rule 
  • Law of the vital few
  • Principle of factor sparsity

The 80/20 rule isn’t a precise mathematical formula but rather a general observation seen in economics, business, time management, and even sports.

What is The 80 20 Rule (Pareto Principle) & How Does it Work?

The Pareto principle is applicable across various domains to enhance productivity and amplify outputs. By leveraging performance metrics, one can analyze which 20% of effort, time, or financial investment yields a remarkable 80% of results. The key is to focus and magnify efforts on this critical 20%. 

It might be challenging to fully embrace the 80/20 rule. However, its applicability becomes evident in numerous scenarios. A couple of 80/20 rule examples are- 

  • 20% of your sales leads contribute to 80% of your revenue. 
  • 20% of occupational safety hazards lead to ~80% of the injuries.
  • 20% of the products may generate 80% of the profits

Benefits of the Pareto Principle

Enhanced Productivity

The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of outcomes result from just 20% of inputs. Integrating this concept with an employee scheduling app can effectively enhance productivity among field employees. By employing the functionalities of such an app, businesses can streamline operations and emphasize the key tasks and activities that drive the most significant results.

Here is one of the many 80 20 rule examples-

Imagine you’re managing a team of field service technicians responsible for repairing and maintaining equipment. Without a systematic scheduling approach, your employees might spend too much time on administrative tasks or traveling between locations, leaving less time for actual service delivery.

By adopting an employee scheduling app, you can easily identify the top-performing technicians (the 20% that brings in 80% of the results). This app can provide data on their work patterns, efficiency, and customer satisfaction rates. With this insight, you can then schedule the highest-priority tasks and appointments for these top performers.

Moreover, the employee scheduling app can factor in travel times and optimal routes for field employees, reducing downtime and increasing efficiency. By focusing on the most critical tasks and optimizing schedules, you can enhance productivity, boost customer satisfaction, and reduce costs simultaneously.


Better Decision making

The application of the Pareto Principle not only enhances productivity but also facilitates better decision-making. This can range from assigning the number of employees required for task completion or the number of productive hours you decide to contribute to a project.

With the assistance of scheduling reports and analytics, you can identify the specific areas where a small effort percentage yields a significant impact. This enables field businesses to make informed decisions regarding resource allocation and strategic planning.

This data-driven approach enables businesses to prioritize key clients, services, or products that generate the most substantial returns. Consequently, companies can optimize their business strategies, allocate resources more effectively, and make informed decisions that lead to long-term growth and success.

Suppose you manage a team of field service employees responsible for maintenance and repairs of industrial equipment. By applying the Pareto Principle with the employee scheduling app, you can train your team to swiftly resolve issues concerning the vital 20% of equipment. Furthermore, prioritizing proactive maintenance schedules for these machines can reduce service calls and boost customer satisfaction.


Quality Check

The Pareto Principle guides the Six Sigma methodology. It helps identify how a smaller number of causes are behind most problems in a process.

In field service operations, we often notice that poor scheduling or manual methods can lead to significant operational issues in the field. Creating a visual representation with a Pareto Chart offers several benefits. This includes- directing the team’s attention to causes with the most significant impact, providing a quick overview of the problem’s importance, and motivating efforts for further improvement.


Is the Pareto Principle Relevant for Your Business?

Identifying fresh strategies to enhance productivity is vital for team leaders. For field service businesses, the Pareto technique in isolation may not give you tangible results in terms of productivity. However, the 80/20 rule time management coupled with modern-day technology solutions, your business can grow exponentially.

Time-tracking tools are crucial in comprehending how each team member divides their time among tasks and traveling to job sites.

You can monitor time spent on tasks and projects, track attendance patterns, and access real-time productivity metrics. This information will educate you on the distinction between time utilized effectively (the 20%) and time spent inefficiently (the 80%).

Once you’ve identified the tasks that yield the highest returns, create a weighted to-do list placing the most important ones at the top. Avoid the temptation to prioritize small, easy tasks to tick them off quickly– from the Pareto perspective, this is a misuse of time and effort.

After making your list, you can approach tasks by breaking them down into components to highlight those with the most significant impact.

Lastly, automate as much of the 80% as possible. Many administrative tasks, such as payroll processing, task progress updates, scheduling, and time tracking, can be streamlined through automation. 



The key takeaway is to monitor where your effort goes. Working for extended periods is one thing, but true productivity requires ensuring your time is invested in the right place. Automation along with the Pareto technique should be the next change your business adopts. If you are managing a mobile workforce, 80/20 rule time management becomes even more important.

Moreover, automating routine administrative processes streamlines workflows, allowing teams to redirect their energy towards more value-driven tasks. 

This dual approach not only improves overall productivity but also contributes to a more strategic and streamlined operation in the dynamic field services industry, ultimately leading to increased success and satisfaction for both teams and clients alike.

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