Changing workforce demographics and technology enhancements are converging to transform the way people work. The proliferation of mobile technology and the need to meet customers where they are is creating an entirely new workforce category: mobile work.
This development spells significant growth for the mobile workforce management (WFM) market, which is expected to grow 9% in 2019 and then 10% per year through 2022.
Here are four key trends that will have a significant impact on mobile workforces in 2019.
1. Flexible Work Arrangements
More employees are enjoying flexible work environments than ever before. However, the meaning of “flexible work” may vary based on the organization and its goals. Some workers want more flexibility in where or when they work, while others want flexibility in the type of employment.
Flexible location arrangements
One of the biggest workforce trends to watch is how organizations embrace mobility. It is estimated that 70% of the global workforce works remotely at least once a week, presenting a huge opportunity for employees—and potentially a huge challenge for leaders, who must adapt to lead and engage remote employees.
Telecommuting, remote work, and mobile work are unique arrangements that come with different considerations for the business and employees involved. In 2019, companies will need to determine:
- Can our type of work support mobile work arrangements?
- If we already offer mobile work arrangements, do we need to explore any other flexible work options?
- What type of technology is needed to make these arrangements work?
- How do we keep employees engaged from outside the office?
Flexible employment arrangements
The gig economy is alive and well, and it’s changing the employer-employee relationship we’ve come to expect. In the U.S. workforce, 1 in 5 workers are contract workers, and freelancers and contractors are expected to make up half of the workforce in the next decade.
Employees and employers alike can benefit from freelance or contract-based work arrangements. However, it also presents challenges for employers in managing these workers alongside full-time employees. For example, freelance workers may work different hours or have access to different levels of data than full-time employees.
In 2019, expect companies to address freelance and contract workers in a significant way. Companies that want to thrive in the gig economy should invest in a platform that makes it simple to manage full-time and freelance workers side-by-side, choosing the right person for the job every time.
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2. Scheduling Automation
When it comes to a mobile workforce, scheduling can either be a huge headache or a competitive advantage. In 2019, companies will look to scheduling automation to save time and costs across the business.
Creating and communicating the daily schedule for a mobile workforce can be extremely time-intensive—especially when done manually. The back office spends significant time recreating schedules, accommodating last-minute requests, communicating the updated schedule, and so on.
With scheduling automation, that time could be devoted instead to more skilled, higher-value tasks. Automation also reduces the chance of human error, such as scheduling the wrong worker for a certain task or double-booking a certain employee for the same time slot.
In the coming year, more companies will be looking to automate their scheduling processes. Consolidating workforce data to support scheduling automation has a variety of benefits:
- Managers know at a glance who is working, where they are, and where they are headed next.
- Schedulers and dispatchers can focus on higher-level job responsibilities.
- Employees know where they are supposed to be and what the job will require.
- Customers receive faster, more consistent, and more reliable service.
- Leaders can review high-level trends, including peak times, workload, employee performance, and more, to optimize the mobile workforce.
The key is purposeful automation. Rather than automation for automation’s sake, companies should look to optimize their schedules for the greatest benefit to the workforce and customer base.
3. Employee Experience
Today’s job market is highly competitive, and employees may readily switch jobs for intangible benefits, including greater flexibility and work-life balance. In 2019, expect the employee experience to be more crucial than ever before.
Employers that help workers feel more connected, valued, and engaged will see increased productivity and decreased turnover. More satisfied employees deliver higher-quality service, which drives higher customer satisfaction (and eventually, higher profits).
Companies will need to invest in their people—and technology—to make the most of the mobile workforce in 2019. Millennials, who are expected to make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, are accustomed to using tools like instant messaging, text messages, chat, and social media to manage both their personal and work lives. Employees in today’s job market expect to have modern tools and technology at their disposal, and they expect a certain degree of work-life balance as well.
For a company to stay competitive in 2019, its mobile workforce must be well-supported, engaged, and well-supplied with mobile-friendly tools.
4. Platform Upgrades
Many workforce management solutions are moving to the cloud, making them easier to acquire and implement for businesses of any size. As the cost to acquire this technology goes down, the potential for new, innovative solutions increases.
Companies are using new cloud-based tools to enhance their own suite of technology. Real-time adaptive capabilities, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI)—often built into cloud-based solutions—give companies new ways to make forecasts, adapt to changing market conditions, and spot trends. In 2019, expect companies to use these technologies to peek into the future and solve problems before they disrupt the business.
Resolve to Optimize Your Workforce
The way we work is changing right before our eyes. To stay ahead of the curve in 2019, businesses should be prepared to embrace flexible work arrangements, scheduling automation, cloud-based tools, and a new view of the “employee experience.”
Skedulo is preparing businesses for the future of work. Skedulo’s intelligent Mobile Workforce Management platform gives you the tools you need for scheduling, management, and dispatching according to top business priorities.
Ready to learn more? Check out Skedulo’s mobile workforce management platform to see how you can better manage your remote teams as the mobile workforce evolves.