If you have mobile workers, you’re far from alone. In fact, in a few years, mobile workers are expected to make up the majority of the workforce, according to a new forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC). By 2024, the mobile workforce will grow to 93.5 million mobile workers – nearly 60% of the total US workforce. These workers are part of a large trend of deskless employees, providing services in the field either on different job sites or with customers. With all the growth this unique sector of the workforce is experiencing, it’s no surprise that mobile workforce management has become a much more popular topic for employers.
Mobile workforce management entails all of the software, processes, apps and related services that aid in scheduling, tracking and analyzing the performance of mobile teams. While each company is different and therefore requires a different approach to managing mobile workers, the goal should always be promoting productivity, efficiency and employee satisfaction. When done correctly, a dedicated approach to mobile workforce management will ultimately yield you a positive return on your investment by better supporting mobile employees and improving customer satisfaction.
The Tenants of Mobile Workforce Management
1. Mobile-Friendly Management
In the past, the channels of communication between mobile workers and the central office were limited. Once employees were out in the field, if they ran into problems along the way, they either had to find a time to call in their issue or wait until the end of the day to report it. It was difficult for supervisors and managers to know exactly what was going on when employees were out and about.
Improvements in mobile technology have significantly improved these issues, though. As a company with mobile workers, you should emphasize the importance of implementing mobile-accessible software and apps. If you haven’t already, it’s time to say farewell to outdated scheduling and time-management programs that don’t adequately support your mobile workforce.
By investing in mobile-friendly tools, employees will have the freedom to be more agile and collaborative throughout the day, sharing updates, providing and receiving accurate information and arriving to appointments much better prepared.
2. Real-Time Employee Management
As any mobile worker can tell, their day-to-day jobs are prone to unpredictability. Mobile workforce management tools are able to help you manage this aspect of your workforce by facilitating real-time monitoring of employees. When you know where employees are and what they’re up to, you can make management decisions on the fly. When you have an urgent call, you can quickly determine who is able to fit that into their schedule. If an employee is deviating from their schedule or route, you can catch that, too.
3. Data-Based Decision Making
Team performance is a major consideration in mobile workforce management. Fortunately, data collection is faster and more thorough than ever before. Collecting data on customer history, employee behavior, schedules, expenses and so much more brings valuable insight for your business if you know what you’re doing.
By analyzing data around your two variables, customers and employees – including activities such as travel times and the length of appointments – supervisors and managers can make important decisions about the mobile workforce as a whole. If an employee consistently spends too long at each of their appointments, you can follow-up; if employees are spending too much time driving, you can review schedules and routes.
4. Automated Employee Processes
What do you need your mobile workforce management tools and processes to do? Help you conduct capacity planning for high-volume or low-volume periods? Track employees en route to different locations? Log appointment start and completion times? Whatever your specific needs are, these tools and processes are meant to make them easier to accomplish, and the best way for them to do it is through automation.
Whether you need to create processes that make it easier for employees to access information while they’re away from the office, adopting an app that facilitates more seamless communication, or onboarding a software that integrates with other key systems, automation should be a priority. Without it, managing a mobile workforce will take up too much time and resources to be sustainable in the long run.
The Last Piece of the Puzzle
One important consideration for employers with a significant mobile workforce is expense management. Most of the processes associated with expenses and employee reimbursements are well-managed by technology with one notable exception: mileage reimbursement. If you have a large mobile workforce, then you’re well aware of the inefficiencies around tracking and reporting mileage; it can easily become one of your largest sources of leakage.
SureMileage, by CompanyMileage, streamlines mileage reimbursement for mobile workers, their managers and accounting administrators. Rather than verifying mileage after the fact, our system calculates the mileage from the best route between the starting and ending points of each trip. At the end of the day, employees simply submit their trips, and our system automatically moves them through your approval workflow. SureMileage is not only faster and more reliable than other methods, but you can also gain insights into your employees’ activities and time management.
Mobile workforce management may at first seem daunting, but once you master the tenants, research technologies and implement the right solutions, you will be pleasantly surprised with how receptive employees are. To start planning for this future, you can request a demo with CompanyMileage today.