Social housing has become the focus of media attention in recent months with questions over quality and safety being the main areas of concern. The fundamental processes behind the housing sector are in the spotlight, now is the ideal opportunity to review and implement solutions, like field workforce management, that will change how housing teams work.
The reality is that housing is facing growing demand, aging social housing and cost pressures, resulting in a need to privatise certain areas of the sector. The time of the personal in-house housing teams are slowly retreating. Those teams would have known all their tenants, all the issues and would have communicated information verbally between their small teams, but as a result of these growing demands they are now unable to cope alone. Privatisation introduces larger teams, greater workloads and increased administration.
But for residents and staff this can mean a loss of continuity of knowledge and information. Maintaining job notes and details across large developments is made difficult with paper based processes. Information isn’t available to staff when and where it is needed. Residents aren’t able to challenge decisions or raise concerns because they no longer have a static team with a clear process or point of contact.
The Housing Crisis
Cuts and the housing crisis have increased pressure on housing workers, both private and in-house teams, to do more with less, resulting in overworked staff who struggle to provide a high standard of service, capture all information and maintain compliance. For management, the difficulty has been seen in balancing reducing budgets and ensuring that compliance is maintained at all stages and that health and safety is a major priority for all.
Investing in The Right Technology
Only through investment in a platform solution that provides staff with effective mobile workforce management and dynamic scheduling, will field service teams have access to the tools that will improve how they work. By implementing a mobile workforce management solution, housing repairs teams would have access to all previous site visit information, exactly when they need it – at the point of service. Instead of having to search through case files, field staff can simply check their device and see if the tenant or colleague had any specific requirements or concerns on previous visits.
Housing teams are able to log further information, as well as capture relevant images of the repairs or issues, and signatures from the tenants. All this highly valuable information is backed up securely to the back office system in head office.
For residents and tenants, they can rest assured that each person that they have contact with has all the information at hand that is relevant to them. Residents don’t have to answer the same questions over again and instead can feel confident that the work is being done properly and to a high standard.
Best Practice Made Easy
Field Workforce Management also addresses compliance with best practice forms. Before leaving the site and marking the job as complete staff have to ensure that they have completed all compliance forms on the device. This step alone would enable management and field staff to feel confident that health and safety is being complied with at all times.
Dynamic scheduling further equips and supports field staff with optimised schedules, mobile staff are able to see the next location on their job list without having to return to the office, reducing their travel time.
It is only through investment in suitable and transformative mobile technology that the housing industry can truly face and safeguard the working practices of its field staff and the tenants they are responsible for providing a high level of care and service to. Field workforce management plays a fundamental role in answering this call.
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