Logistics companies and organisations that rely on field workers are one of the most under siege industries during the COVID-19 crisis.
There’s a tendency to think of working remotely as sitting in a home office somewhere communicating via a laptop. But for the much-needed field workers like lorry drivers, postal officers and couriers, taxi staff, and other remote teams, that’s a luxury they don’t enjoy.
Co-ordinating the movements of a digital workforce that is constantly ‘out and about’ always brings its own special challenges. As the UK depends even more heavily on field workers right now, the technology that supports them needs to be ahead of its game.
If ever there was a time to assess the capabilities and reach of this technology, such as your corporate intranet, this is it! Here are some of the reasons why:
Scheduling and productivity
Businesses in this sector will primarily be focused on using technology to plan and action often time-sensitive movement amongst mobile teams. During the current pandemic, the safety of field workers is top priority. But given the increase in customer demand, maximising productivity is essential too.
For example, supermarkets responding to panic buying and food shortages have had normal delivery patterns shredded. They need additional logistics resources to tackle empty shelves, which has a ripple effect through all levels of food production and manufacturing.
Optimising the permitted working hours of every driver and other mobile staff in the supply chain is therefore crucial, and intuitive technology has made it possible to schedule and reschedule in an agile way, keeping everyone informed and keeping mobile remote teams productive.
Communications on the road
This is possibly the area in which the cracks could begin to show most noticeably if your company relies on piecemeal or antiquated technology. Or worse still, manual systems and ‘in-person’ briefings!
A digital workplace makes communication and collaboration streamlined, instant, and transparent. Field workers can keep in contact with management and each other 24/7 at the touch of a button.
Field workers can stay in touch 24/7 using communication tools
Equipping mobile remote workers with the right tools means you can provide them with new data swiftly. You can add new assignments or amend tasks, which field workers can pick up on-the-go, so that there is no room for ambiguity or miscommunication. They can also post important information to keep head office and customers constantly in the loop, should they encounter the unexpected.
Digital communications like this support the sustainability agenda too, reducing reliance on packaging materials, paper, printing, and other admin costs.
The human factor
During this unprecedented time of crisis and fear, managing the wellbeing and mental health of your staff is paramount, and using the right technology in the right way can help you do this.
Field service management is not simply a matter of moving goods or delivering services, using a fleet of company vehicles or onsite equipment at various locations. It’s about supporting your staff within the digital workplace too.
Much has been written about how remote working can make people feel isolated and can fragment team spirit and cohesion. Providing mobile teams with the right technology and using it effectively is therefore incredibly important.
For one thing, they can feel confident that your systems leave little – or no – room for gaps, overlaps or misdirection. The tools they use keep them well informed and enable them to quickly ask for help and clarification. Line managers should also check in with staff regularly, providing tailored resources and support to solve issues or concerns.
Moreover, intranet software for mobile remote teams makes it possible for you to recognise and reward staff for their achievements. Providing regular and genuine feedback goes a long way in helping staff feel appreciated and valued.