With the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic and the huge disruption it has caused around the world, many more businesses are finding that they have to adapt to more of their staff working from home. Some businesses had been doing this before the pandemic arrived, but the arrival of COVID-19 has forced many more businesses to do so.
Embracing change can be challenging, so here we look at the best ways to create and manage your mobile workforce, whether it’s something you have been planning to do, or whether you have been forced into the situation due to recent events.
A mobile workforce essentially refers to a workforce that is not tied to the office. Your business may be in the situation where everyone is working remotely, or you may have a mix of some employees in the office and some working from home. You might have salespeople working on the road, or maintenance technicians who spend most of their days out of the office. These are all different versions of a mobile workforce.
Whether you’ve been forced into making your team remote due to COVID-19 or you’ve been planning on going remote for a while, there are lots of benefits to consider.
There are lots of things you can do right now to start getting your mobile workforce in place. Here are some of the most important.
Remote employees won’t need a desk and computer, but they may need smartphones, laptops and tablets, depending on their roles. Most people working from home will need access to equipment, so make sure they have what they need.
Cloud adoption will be essential for managing a mobile workforce effectively. There are plenty of online tools to help remote teams, and it’s important to choose the ones that work best for your organisation.
Project management software is very useful to manage this whole process, with tools like Trello, Monday.com and Asana being just a few of those out there. Other tools like Slack are a great way to communicate in teams. Video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Google Hangouts and Skype are useful for holding meetings wherever your employees are based. And tools like SharePoint provide an easy way for your employees to share files and collaborate on projects.
If you start using more tools to help your remote teams stay productive and communicate more effectively, you might also need to consider providing basic training so your employees know how to use them properly.
There are various security issues to consider when people are working remotely. For example, you will want to ensure that everyone uses a password for their phones and devices. You might also want to train your staff about phishing scams and have a secure password policy in place.
If an employee gets injured at home while carrying out their job, are you responsible? Find out about your responsibilities and check your insurance policies to make sure you are doing everything within the rules.
You may need to put some new procedures in place to make sure everyone is getting the most out of working remotely. For example, how will you make sure people are doing enough work when you can’t check up on them in the office? You may introduce weekly or monthly reports, or you may need to schedule in regular video chats to discuss progress.
This is especially important when it comes to avoiding mistakes. When working from home, there is sometimes less opportunity to go through the standard checks that you might carry out in the office, which can increase the chance of errors occurring or issues being missed.
It’s important to hold regular meetings. Some meetings might have a specific purpose, while others might be to simply keep in touch for team-building purposes. Try to schedule in regular meetings to keep everyone in contact.
One of the big risks is that communication can become a problem, so find a way to improve this when your employees are working remotely. Make sure you communicate your expectations and ensure they know what you expect of them.
For example, should they be available to answer calls during working hours? Is it okay for them to be away from their desks? Make sure you set clear rules early on to avoid confusion.
There are many benefits to going remote, but it’s not for all organisations. However, even if you do not want to manage a mobile workforce, the current situation means that you may not have much of a choice. So it makes sense to start planning how to make the most of it.
At Dial A Geek, we provide a wide range of IT support plans and cloud computing services that can help you to better manage a mobile workforce and ensure everyone in the team thrives. So contact us today and find out what we can do for you.