5 Ways The Right Technology Can Increase Workforce Productivity
Ensuring your workforce is as productive as possible can be an uphill battle, especially in the ever-evolving digital era. It’s even more complex for businesses balancing the needs of deskless, fixed-location, and contracted workers in one blended workforce.
Too often, mobile and deskless workers rely on myriad tools across disparate systems to serve customers. When dispersed workforces rely on multiple tools for collaboration, communication, customer information, and more, bottlenecks in the workflow hinder productivity across the board.
5 Ways Technology Improves Productivity of a Blended Workforce
Organizations that take a fragmented approach to technology and everyday tools will find it difficult to measure and ensure worker productivity, but the right technology can make a significant difference. Disconnected toolsets of the past have made way for modern technologies that can support and empower a mobile, fixed-location, or blended workforce in a few key ways:
1. Accurately Track Employee Time
Properly tracking time spent on a job can be a cumbersome task for deskless workers, especially those who travel to different job sites on a regular basis or don’t work on a standard, 9-to-5 schedule. In the past, they’d have to complete their work, travel back to the office, and input their hours worked into a time-tracking system or timesheet at the end of the day. But this process is riddled with delays and errors, and impedes productivity for both mobile employees and back-office workers, who must then manually audit and correct logged hours.
Robust mobile workforce management apps empower deskless workers to check in and out of jobs with a single click. Some can even be integrated with payroll or HR systems, so employees can automatically submit accurate timesheet data, and managers can see time off requests or estimated labor costs in real-time.
The result is freed up time for HR employees (who no longer need to manually track mobile workers’ hours and align them with payroll) and for deskless workers (who no longer need to duplicate their time-tracking efforts with manual processes). More free time means more time to serve customers, increasing overall productivity, and the insights you gain from accurate time-tracking technology will enable you to make more operational improvements going forward.
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2. Intelligently Schedule The Mobile Workforce
When you use manual scheduling tools, scheduling your mobile workforce effectively requires a lot of precious time from staff schedulers, who are more likely to be overburdened. Traditional spreadsheets just don’t offer the kind of flexibility, automation, or workforce visibility needed to create schedules that boost employee satisfaction, productivity, and your bottom line. Because scheduling mobile workers is a time-consuming process—and one that’s complicated by frequent schedule changes, verifying employee qualifications, adapting to customer preferences, accommodating job locations, and more—failing to optimize will inhibit productivity across your entire operation.
Modern, intelligent scheduling platforms that offer complete transparency, scheduling based on employees’ certifications and locations, and real-time updates and communication simplify the process. And because they offer user-friendly access for both desktop and mobile, employees in the field never miss a beat.
Implementing this kind of technology streamlines workflows, eliminates the bottlenecks often caused by manual scheduling, and allows mobile workers to capture, update, and access crucial information in the field. By leveraging a tool that acts as a one-stop shop for scheduling your mobile workforce, your employees—both in the field and in the office—can focus on their work and stay as productive as possible.
See how the right scheduling technology can eliminate manual processes to make your entire operation more productive.
3. Streamline Communication
For organizations with a mobile, fixed-location, or blended workforce, ‘conventional’ methods of communication just won’t cut it. In any given day, a mobile worker must keep track of important customer updates, new or cancelled appointments, key resources, or broader company news—often using several disjointed tools. But when employees need to check phone calls, emails, text messages, and other communication platforms—while also completing their daily tasks—they’re likely to miss crucial details that can cost valuable time.
If, for example, a mobile worker misses an email notifying them of a cancellation, they risk wasting time traveling to a job for which they’re no longer needed. These miscommunications negatively impact efficiency, productivity, and your business’s overall appearance to customers.
Technology that centralizes communication in one place ensures your deskless, field, and back-office employees always have real-time access to information, even from the mobile devices. Robust tools offer streamlined communication between both employees and customers, so your workers are always operating at the highest level of productivity and are fully prepared to delight your customers.
4. Provide a Single Source of Truth
Having a single source of truth is crucial, not only for supporting mobile workers in the field, but also for empowering your IT teams. When your employees don’t have a centralized source for capturing, tracking, accessing, and managing information, they’re forced to do so using disparate, duplicative, and even unsecured systems and processes. Your workforce data, including all of the details and information mobile workers need to do their jobs, is the backbone of a successful operation,but that data can’t be easily or fully utilized if it first needs to be reconciled from various systems and records.
With technology that helps your teams maintain and manage a single source of information, workers spend more time on more important initiatives. Mobile workers can capture job details (like customer preferences, contactless signatures, time-to-completion, and more) on their mobile devices, which is automatically synced to other key systems so managers can easily create actionable insights and reports. Everyone—the worker in the field, the IT support team, and company leaders—can be more productive when information is easier to find, share, and analyze.
5. Optimize Routes in Real Time
Unlike knowledge-based and desk-based workers, mobile workers are faced with the added complexity of logistics and travel: they must arrive on time to each job, but are bound by influencing factors that don’t affect their office-based counterparts in the same way. Even if your mobile workers have reliable transportation, their productivity is likely restricted by those influencing factors (e.g. unexpected traffic, weather, newly added appointments).
With disparate tools, mobile workers’ productivity hinges on their ability to quickly find the best route while switching back and forth between their work app (where they receive assignments) and their navigation app (where they see the route). They’re at risk for arriving late for appointments, accepting jobs that they didn’t realize were not within a realistic location range, and being unable to serve customers at an efficient rate.
Technology that automatically finds, shares, and updates the best route to a job location in real time can resolve this costly headache. In fact, some of these technologies are even included as essential, built-in features within more robust mobile workforce management software. And because it’s available directly on a mobile device, employees don’t have to toggle between apps to easily travel to job sites. That means less time spent ironing out logistics, safer employees on the road, and more time spent being productive and serving customers.
Must-Have Features of Productivity Technology
Technology advancements have transformed productivity for mobile, fixed-location, and deskless workers. But not all tools offer the capabilities needed to actively drive workforce productivity. When considering your options, look for technologies that include the following crucial features:
Easy-to-use, mobile-friendly interfaces
Your employees are used to technologies that are seamless, easy to use, and offer mobile-friendly interfaces. Because mobile workers are on the go, it’s essential that the tools they use to work don’t cause unnecessary frustrations, as those feelings can bleed into customer interactions and negatively impact overall productivity.
When mobile workers are supported by tools that offer real-time, streamlined communication, they’re less likely to be distracted by the information and alerts coming from other applications. Look for technologies that enable them to share updates, messages, assignment details, photos, and documents with coworkers and customers while on the go—and all in one centralized place.
Data collection and reporting
Capturing data on the services your mobile workers complete is essential for optimizing workflows, uncovering key business insights, and, of course, determining how your teams can be more productive. When considering technologies for your employees, make sure the one you choose is capable of collecting, syncing, and connecting data from multiple systems to create actionable reports.
Automated scheduling can help your staff schedulers to avoid the common errors and functional delays associated with manual processes. This feature eliminates the burden of completing time-consuming, repetitive tasks (i.e. entering data into a spreadsheet) and frees up more time for employees.
And as technology advances, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will continue to provide new opportunities to schedule workers more efficiently. AI scheduling tools can take in a wide range of inputs, including employee availability, qualifications, and job locations, and produce the most effective schedule for your mobile workforce in a single click. Look for foundational features like intelligent job matching, which helps ensure your AI-based scheduling platform gets the right employee to the right job every time.
Collecting and maintaining key data is only valuable if you use it to gain powerful insights into your workforce operations. As you evaluate technologies, look for a solution that can leverage your data (from a variety of sources) and help you analyze what it means for your business and the productivity of your mobile employees.
Integration with existing systems
If you’re able to easily integrate the tools your mobile workers utilize to serve your customers, you can create a better customer and employee experience, increase visibility, and boost productivity. If all of your systems (i.e. your EHR, CRM, HR platform, and more) can talk to one another, your teams will save the time it would otherwise take to track and manage them separately.
Drive Mobile Workforce Productivity with Skedulo
Boosting the productivity of your mobile, fixed-location, or blended workforce doesn’t have to be a never-ending struggle. By implementing tools that are built with a mobile workforce in mind, you can optimize workflows, increase output, and ensure productivity.
Skedulo’s mobile workforce management software increases efficiency through automated scheduling, real-time communication, route optimization, and more—all on one centralized, mobile-first app.