If driving is a key part of your employees’ workdays, then you have a vested interest in ensuring that they are traveling for work safely and easily. Not only do you have an obligation to protect employees, but if they run into difficulties during their trip, it could affect their ability to complete the business transaction or provide services.
For anyone who has ever been in a vehicle before, you understand that the driving environment can be very dynamic. Bad weather, road work, heavy traffic or car accidents mean road conditions are constantly fluctuating, and it’s difficult to write a policy that covers every conceivable situation. You must rely on mobile employees’ training, driving skills, good judgement and the procedures you laid out in your road safety plan.
Help Mobile Employees be Successful
When you consider how to best support your mobile employees when they’re traveling for work, there are three areas you should invest in.
Promoting safety for your employees behind the wheel should begin before they even get into a car. It’s important to do all you can to make sure that they are ready and able to drive. That means being well-rested, alert and armed with a trip itinerary. Avoid asking employees to work shifts back-to-back or drive for excessive amounts of time. Up to 20% of car accidents are caused by fatigue.
While your employees are out on the road, you still have the ability to influence safe driving behaviors. Beyond mandating their vehicles be road ready and the wearing of seat belts at all times they’re traveling for work, you should also make it company policy that they don’t drive for more than two hours at a time, reward them for safe driving habits and penalize them for receiving traffic tickets.
Since road conditions change throughout the day, it may be a smart idea to work with your employees out in the field to communicate road conditions across your service area. As they encounter construction, accidents or other disruptions, they can share this information with others and improve route planning.
You also can’t ignore the danger of using a mobile device while driving. Nearly a quarter of all crashes can be attributed to texting while driving. Ensuring employees’ safety on the road should go beyond simply discouraging drivers from using their cellphones. You also need to equip them with the right hands-free technology.
Promoting Job Satisfaction
If employees are traveling for work everyday, it can quickly lead to burnout and increase your rate of turnover. For many companies with a mobile workforce, driving is an unavoidable part of the job, though, which is why you need to invest in promoting job satisfaction for these workers even while they’re on the road.
One of the most important things you can do for your mobile employees is create some kind of expense management program to deal with the costs related to traveling for work. For instance, if they are driving their own vehicles, creating a process for reimbursing mileage expenses will be incredibly valuable for employees and can even be used as a recruiting tool.They’ll feel less overwhelmed by the hours of driving they do every week if they know that they will be reimbursed for the miles they rack up.
The key to making a mileage reimbursement program an employee perk is making it easy, though. If it’s too confusing or time-consuming, employees will be less likely to take advantage of it and figure out how to go about submitting their mileage. In addition to creating a streamlined process, it will benefit your business if employees record and submit mileage appropriately. By aligning your procedures with the rules of an IRS accountable plan, these reimbursements won’t be counted as wages and won’t be taxed.
Providing the Right Technology
When employees are no longer working under one roof, the need for tools such as a centralized document management system that allows everyone to share and store important information in one place is much greater. The type of apps and equipment varies from business to business, but generally, you need some kind of communication platform – something more secure than a text message but more seamless than an email – a reporting system, a tracking app and a way to share and store documents.
For mobile employees, there are many different employee tracking apps you can implement to help track time, scheduling, projects, payroll and location. One area often neglected with a mobile workforce, though, is your employees’ travel. In many cases, workers are asked to record odometer readings in a physical mileage log when traveling for work, and then using these to fill out a reimbursement form. This is a huge time-suck on top of everything else they need to do, so many employees will opt not to do it or will estimate mileage to save time.
SureMileage, by CompanyMileage, streamlines this often tedious process for employees, 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, you can also gain insights into your employees’ activities and time management.
SureMileage also offers other features designed to make traveling for work as simple and straightforward as possible, including an integrated Address Book, one-touch check-ins via Quick Capture, a configurable approval workflow for expense reports, the ability to flag certain behaviors in the system and integration with accounting and payroll platforms.
Using a system like SureMileage also generates a host of data valuable in planning routes, improving service delivery and reducing the amount of time workers need to spend on the road. Track routes, arrival and departure times, time spent at each location and other data to optimize your mobile workforce.
Traveling for Work Can Be Safe and Simple
When you take the time to invest in the safety, satisfaction and resources of your employees, you’ll not only make their workdays easier, you’ll improve your company’s overall productivity and profitability. One way this happens is by saving you money. In fact, CompanyMileage users reduce mileage reimbursement expenses by up to 30%, and that’s just one area where you’ll be positioning yourself to save. To learn more about SureMileage and how we solved the ever-present issues surrounding traveling for work, request a demo today.