There’s no ifs or buts about it – mobile working is no longer a trend. It’s the norm. This is why we’re outlining 5 tips on managing a mobile workforce. In fact, in research recently commissioned by BT, 67% of respondents said that being able to work on the move, at home and flexibly through good technology, was more important to them than being offered a company car. And it’s not surprising really. The benefits that a mobile workforce generate are second to none. Greater productivity and efficiencies, a boost in morale and recruitment, plus a higher quality of service delivery. What’s not to love?! However, the thought of managing a mobile workforce may be daunting for some. This is why we put together a blog discussing tips on how you’re best managing a mobile workforce.
Managing a mobile workforce
#1 Hire the right people and motivate them
Firstly, it is important to hire the right people for a mobile working role. Research shows when recruiting mobile workers or selecting candidates for a mobile working team, adaptability, resilience and openness to experience should be assessed. It should also be considered whether or not they are an independent decision maker. With them rarely being in the office, and spending most of their time out on the road, you must be able to trust them to work independently and make the right decisions. Equally as important – you must motivate them. Self-motivation is usually one of the biggest challenges mobile workers face, and by recognising their achievements, or upping their responsibility, you can help motivate them to strive higher.
#2 Think about their health and wellbeing
The wellbeing of mobile workers is just as important as the wellbeing of office space staff, however it can easily slip under the net. Since mobile workers are rarely in the office, managers don’t have the chance to observe them or spontaneously chat to them to check if everything is alright. What often happens with mobile workers, is they lack the ability to “shut off” – separate work and life. They sometimes skip breaks, which can lead to burnout and stress. Of course, you may have workers who abuse this flexibility, but this comes down to reciprocated trust. Which relates back to step #1 – hiring the right people.
#3 Communicate regularly
When we say regularly, we don’t mean every half hour. However, it is important to have continual communication with your mobile workforce. Not to check up on them, but to check in with them. Mobile working can be quite an isolating role. Let your mobile workforce know they are appreciated and not forgotten about, even though they aren’t regulars in the office. Encourage collaboration with yourself and office staff, and encourage team building. This leads back to motivating your mobile workforce – ensuring they feel appreciated, valued, and not isolated.
#4 Measure productivity and recognise achievements
It can be difficult to measure a mobile workforce, however, where possible, set them quantifiable goals. A really basic method is to ask for a weekly report highlighting the past week’s activity, and a draft plan for the following week. These don’t have to be lengthy, but they allow you to see what the planned work is, and whether or not it has been completed. Luckily for you, nowadays there are many experienced mobile workforce management solutions that can be implemented. These solutions can give your mobile staff everything they need to complete their work, and give you insights via smart analytics into what exactly is going on within your organisation.
#5 Trust is paramount
As mentioned briefly before, there needs to be a reciprocal trust between managers and employees. Trust that they are doing what they have been hired to do – and encourage them to trust you – that they can come to you with any issues and that you will give direction if needed. Trust is earned, and it is earned over time. As Ernest Hemingway once said “The best way to find out if you trust somebody is to trust them”.
Consider these five steps and you will be managing a mobile workforce successfully.