A report released in 2020 by the International Data Corporation forecasted the mobile workforce in the U.S. to grow by almost 20% to 93.5 million by 2024. With the country having a total workforce of 164.6 million, this means that in just a few years, over 50% of the workers will be mobile. With such a dramatic increase in mobile workers, managers and supervisors face a new and intimidating landscape. While the fields that make up America’s mobile workforce are varied, encompassing professions from healthcare to construction, the challenges they face are similar. Knowing how to manage mobile workforce challenges helps keep your business or organization running smoothly as the nature of work continues to evolve.
Don’t Manage Work Environments; Manage Your Employees
The health and safety of your employees should be one of your highest priorities. While it’s relatively easy to keep employees safe and healthy in a controlled environment like an office, if your employees are on the go, this can be difficult. Whether your employees are driving, at a job site, or at home, trying to manage mobile workforce environments can feel like herding cats. How do you ensure the environment your employees are in is safe when their office is ever-changing and unpredictable?
The answer is simple: you don’t.
The environment and its dangers will always change when your employees aren’t in an office. Instead, it’s essential to give your employees the tools they need to respond to any risks they may encounter. To do this, you must first evaluate their typical work environments to determine the most common risks they face. For example, if they spend a lot of time driving to different service locations, car accidents are a potential hazard they face everyday.
Once you understand the risks mobile employees are likely to face, create protocols that address the most common situations your employees may face and train them regularly on them.
Supervising a Mobile Workforce Requires the Right Technology
When your employees are steps away, supervision can happen anytime, but it can be more difficult when miles separate you and your employees. Are they being as productive as they should be? Are they being safe? Are they following company policy?
These questions are understandable. From expense fraud, which was estimated to have cost almost $2 billion in 2020, to time theft, which can cost $400 billion annually in lost productivity, being unable to manage mobile workforce behavior can be expensive.
To overcome the challenge that distance presents, many managers and supervisors use software to supervise their teams remotely. Management software, such as mileage tracking software, can ensure that employees are where they need to be, while mobile device management software can help keep them on task. Even as you find the right apps and software to implement, it’s important to find the sweet spot between micromanagement and neglect. Employees want to feel supported; they don’t want to feel like you don’t have confidence in them to do their jobs.
Clear Communication is Key
Every business faces a unique set of challenges regardless of whether or not its employees are in an office. When these challenges arise, being able to quickly and effectively communicate with your team is paramount to overcoming them. This can be a struggle if your team is spread out across various zip codes or timezones.
To overcome this, look at the systems you currently use to communicate and search for weaknesses. Are there bottlenecks where communication can fail? If so, why? What redundancies are in place? Do employees know where to go to find information? Do they have the tools needed to communicate? What can be improved? Answering these questions and fixing the issues you identify will allow your team to communicate effectively when they encounter problems.
Knowing how to manage mobile workforce communication isn’t only necessary when there are fires to put out. Failing to communicate canceled appointments, making unexpected changes to policies and procedures, or having confusing communication processes can cost businesses millions in time and resources. Keeping employees informed of changes will give them the knowledge necessary to succeed.
Simplify Processes When Possible
One of the biggest obstacles that workers face, both in and out of the office, are overly complicated or confusing policies and procedures. This leads to employees not doing what they should, not because of malicious intent but because of misunderstanding. These misunderstandings can be costly.
To help prevent misunderstandings, look at your company’s policies and procedures for ways to make them more straightforward and more efficient, especially for your mobile workforce employees. Streamlining your policies reduces the opportunity for confusion, giving employees confidence in their knowledge to operate even in remote settings. Utilizing software to automate certain processes such as expense management and mileage reimbursement can help take the onus off of employees and ensure more accuracy, as well.
Manage Mobile Workforce Expenses With CompanyMileage
Managing your mobile workforce alone is both incredibly difficult and time-consuming. New software is popping up every day designed to make managing mobile employees easier, allowing them to be more productive. Having the right travel expense tracking tool can do wonders for your business. We’ve watched hundreds of satisfied customers save up to 30% on their travel expense reimbursement expenses through our practical approach to tracking and managing employee mileage.
CompanyMileage’s suite of solutions — SureMileage, SureMobile, and SureExpense — are known for providing our customers with the ability to efficiently manage mobile workforce expenses. For each trip, your employees simply input their starting and ending locations, and our software calculates the most expedient route for them. No more manual mileage recording or unreliable GPS calculations.
At the end of each workday, expense reports can be created and sent directly from the app in a matter of minutes. A flexible approval structure fits your needs and keeps the process rolling forward, and since we integrate with major accounting and payroll systems, there’s no breakdown in the workflow.
We also help you support your mobile employees wherever they go. By offering an integrated Address Book, accurate directions to each service location, and easy check-in procedures upon arrival via Quick Capture, we give employees the tools to ensure they arrive at each appointment safely and securely. For supervisors, SureMileage is an effective tool for monitoring employee schedules and assessing time management, as well.
Managing mobile workforce expenses requires a keen eye for detail and tools to facilitate active engagement. Learn how CompanyMileage meets your needs by requesting a demo today.